The Reef: A Passionate History
Viking, $45 hb, 398 pp, 9780670075775
I know we should never judge a book by its cover, but Iain McCalman’s ‘passionate history’ of the Great Barrier Reef is a book that truly delivers on the promise of its gloriously sumptuous jacket. Brilliantly coloured in the hues of the reef itself, it is a montage of historical photographs of Indigenous children engrossed in spearfishing above brightly painted fish, while in the distance a fully rigged ship sails past. Closer inspection reveals the outlandishly accurate colours of William Saville-Kent’s reef species under the dust cover: further intimation of the treasures that lie within and the compelling stories and images that will emerge.