> Skip to content
Read an extract
Play sample
  • Published: 3 April 2024
  • ISBN: 9780143776956
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $36.99

Deep Water

The world in the ocean




Through history, science, nature writing, and environmentalism, Deep Water invites you to explore the deepest recesses of our natural world.

'Teeming with mysteries, wonders and heartbreaking facts, this beautiful, lucid hymn to the sea is a reminder of what we still have, what we stand to lose, and why we must never stop fighting to save our home.'
Tim Winton

The ocean has shaped and sustained life on Earth from the beginning of time. Its vast waters are alive with meaning, and connect every living thing on Earth.

Deep Water is a hymn to the beauty, mystery and wonder of the ocean. Weaving together science, history and personal experience, it offers vital new ways of understanding not just humanity's relationship with the planet, but our past – and perhaps most importantly, our future.

  • Published: 3 April 2024
  • ISBN: 9780143776956
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $36.99

About the author

James Bradley

James Bradley is a writer and critic. His books include the novels Wrack, The Deep Field, The Resurrectionist, Clade and Ghost Species, a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus, and The Penguin Book of the Ocean. His essays and articles have appeared in The Monthly, The Guardian, Sydney Review of Books, Griffith Review, Meanjin, the Weekend Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2012 he won the Pascall Prize for Australia’s Critic of the Year, and he has been shortlisted twice for the Bragg Prize for Science Writing and nominated for a Walkley Award. He lives in Sydney.

Also by James Bradley

See all

Praise for Deep Water

Teeming with mysteries, wonders and heartbreaking facts, this beautiful, lucid hymn to the sea is a reminder of what we still have, what we stand to lose, and why we must never stop fighting to save our home.

Tim Winton

This mesmerising work of non-fiction that will inspire awe and make you weep.

Bianca Nogrady, The Sydney Morning Herald

What a wondrous book. In vivid, urgent prose, James Bradley takes us on a journey through oceanic worlds. Epic in scope and charged with a compulsive capitalist critique, Deep Water balances the grief of environmental catastrophe with a profound sense of awe and possibility. There is no false hope here. But there is hope.

Billy Griffiths, author of Deep Time Dreaming

Bradley Vividly conveys the awe-inspiring scale of the deep seas, both in space and time.

Philip Ball, author of How Life Works: A User’s Guide to the New Biology, Book of the Day, the Guardian

Deep Water is a major achievement; a vast fathoming of the pasts, presents and futures of the world's oceans and seas. Bradley's skills both as novelist and essayist converge here to create this wise, compassionate and urgent book, characterised throughout by a clarity of prose and a bracing moral gaze that searches water, self and reader.

Robert Macfarlane

Astonishing in both its depth and breadth, Deep Water is an incisive, thoughtful exploration of the complicated and crucial relationships we have with our oceans. James Bradley has written a tour de force at a moment when we need it most.

Juli Berwald, author of Life on the Rocks and Spineless

In vivid detail, James Bradley unravels the science of life below the surface as he interrogates our relationship with the ocean. It is not only home to marine life, but to meaning; to a different way of understanding time, the world and our place within it. Deep Water is an ambitious, far reaching work. Against the spectre of climate breakdown there is a sense of urgency in Deep Water, but beauty and pause too

Celina Ribeiro, Guardian

This gloriously ambitious book about the wonder and plight of our oceans brings together James Bradley's skills as a poet, novelist and journalist. His history of the world from an oceanic perspective is elegant and urgent. It is also deeply human.

Delia Falconer

A sublime work, quite literally: vast, beautiful, sometimes frightening. Bradley is a talented scholar, surveying widely in various disciplines. But he keeps his novelist’s eyes for poignant intimacy: moments of love and grief, curiosity and rage. If you care about our oceans, submerge yourself in Deep Water.

Damon Young, author of The Art of Reading

Bradley has poured his whole soul into this book, a work of creative nonfiction immense in scope and implication. Tim Winton calls it a “beautiful, lucid hymn” to our oceanic world – praise that I cannot top, though I concur.

Geordie Williamson, The Australian

A sublime exploration of one of Earth’s most immense, powerful, and obscure entities, awash with humanity and wisdom. Deep Water will transform how you think about the ocean.

Richard Fisher, author of The Long View

No part of the Earth system is more vital to the human past and future than the world ocean, and few indeed are better qualified to tell its stories than James Bradley. A love letter and a warning, Deep Water is a work of rare scholarship, wide range and fierce urgency.

Caspar Henderson

Brilliant, thought-provoking and painstakingly researched, James Bradley’s “Deep Water” invites readers to reconsider our place in the grand tapestry of existence. Acknowledging that we are not necessarily the dominant species, the book reveals the interconnectedness and kinship we share with all life forms. It challenges the anthropocentric focus that clouds our perspective and urges us to embrace alternative ways of being and heightened consciousness. It is a call to reflect on the profound implications of our actions, offering a journey that navigates the depths of our connection to water and the vast, interconnected world we call home.

Jill Heinerth, Author, INTO THE PLANET - My Life as a Cave Diver

What does it mean to live on an ocean planet? It’s an important question, one that has shaped human history and will define our future. James Bradley provides fresh and sometimes surprising perspectives as he guides his readers toward ‘seeing the world through the lens of the ocean.’ Covering a highly varied range of topics including the relationships between ecosystem degradation and slavery, the cultural history of swimming, the hidden impacts of overfishing and deep-sea mining and the staggering reach and effect of maritime trade, Bradley offers a unique view of our world and our place in it. A must read for conservationists and ocean enthusiasts.

Edith Widder, Ph.D., Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea

As someone who loves and lives on the Ocean, I am inspired by James Bradley's new book. Deep Water dives deep into the ocean's heart—James has a magical mix of personal tales, science, and a powerful message to care for our seas. It’s a blend of wonder at the ocean’s splendor and a push to protect it. This book is an incredible journey that showcases the sea's greatness and why we need to collectively act and preserve it.

Laird Hamilton

Bradley's prose is a delight to read. The book's enduring message is about the effect of climate change and how we must reverse it. If readers need convincing, this book may do it.

Becca Whitehead, Bookseller + Publisher

Beautiful to read, illuminates the subject matter.

Michaela Kalowski, ABC TV News Breakfast

This is a book that offers much, and should find a space in every library, on every home bookshelf... eloquent and beautiful, Deep Water acts as a beacon of warning while shining a bright light of hope on our underwater world.

Liz Robinson, Love Reading