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Into the Deep: An Explorer's Life

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Best known for finding the doomed ship Titanic, celebrated adventurer Robert Ballard has a lifetime of stories about exploring the ocean depths. Now he gets personal, telling the stories behind his most exciting discoveries-including how a top-secret naval mission provided the opportunity for his Titanic discovery-and opens up about his private tragedies. He frankly recoun Best known for finding the doomed ship Titanic, celebrated adventurer Robert Ballard has a lifetime of stories about exploring the ocean depths. Now he gets personal, telling the stories behind his most exciting discoveries-including how a top-secret naval mission provided the opportunity for his Titanic discovery-and opens up about his private tragedies. He frankly recounts the struggles he has worked through, rising to prominence as a scientist whose celebrity drew academic scorn. And he reveals the triumph and agony in the years after his Titanic find: While media around the world clamored for interviews, he confronted the death of his 20-year-old son as well as the collapse of his marriage amid academic and military career demands. Finally, he addresses his late-in-life discovery of his own dyslexia, which he now sees as a gift that has shaped his life and accomplishments. Brilliant, insightful, and surprising, Into the Deep is the definitive story of the dangers and discoveries, conflicts and triumphs that have shaped the remarkable life of an American hero.


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Best known for finding the doomed ship Titanic, celebrated adventurer Robert Ballard has a lifetime of stories about exploring the ocean depths. Now he gets personal, telling the stories behind his most exciting discoveries-including how a top-secret naval mission provided the opportunity for his Titanic discovery-and opens up about his private tragedies. He frankly recoun Best known for finding the doomed ship Titanic, celebrated adventurer Robert Ballard has a lifetime of stories about exploring the ocean depths. Now he gets personal, telling the stories behind his most exciting discoveries-including how a top-secret naval mission provided the opportunity for his Titanic discovery-and opens up about his private tragedies. He frankly recounts the struggles he has worked through, rising to prominence as a scientist whose celebrity drew academic scorn. And he reveals the triumph and agony in the years after his Titanic find: While media around the world clamored for interviews, he confronted the death of his 20-year-old son as well as the collapse of his marriage amid academic and military career demands. Finally, he addresses his late-in-life discovery of his own dyslexia, which he now sees as a gift that has shaped his life and accomplishments. Brilliant, insightful, and surprising, Into the Deep is the definitive story of the dangers and discoveries, conflicts and triumphs that have shaped the remarkable life of an American hero.

30 review for Into the Deep: An Explorer's Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Anyone else fascinated with stories about the Titanic? Bob Ballard is the actual explorer known for discovery on both the Titanic and Lusitania shipwrecks. Ballard found the wreck of the Titanic. He’s also known for finding new life forms at the bottom of the sea. Today he captains a ship where he continues research and trains other young scientists. Into the Deep is his story where he shares personal details about his life. From a child with a learning disability to a legendary explorer and scien Anyone else fascinated with stories about the Titanic? Bob Ballard is the actual explorer known for discovery on both the Titanic and Lusitania shipwrecks. Ballard found the wreck of the Titanic. He’s also known for finding new life forms at the bottom of the sea. Today he captains a ship where he continues research and trains other young scientists. Into the Deep is his story where he shares personal details about his life. From a child with a learning disability to a legendary explorer and scientist, all the exciting and often dangerous stories are shared. What a life! I’m so grateful to have been able to read Bob Ballard’s story. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    Into the Deep: An Explorer's Life is the memoir of Bob Ballard, a well known and celebrated oceanographer and scientist who discovered the wrecks of the RMS Titanic in 1985. Ballard was also well known for his countless significant scientific discoveries, and underwater expeditions. I loved the way this book was written and how this memoir recounts Ballard’s life with heartbreaking details and stories about his own struggles and challenges growing up. Ballard’s life is so moving and heartfelt as Into the Deep: An Explorer's Life is the memoir of Bob Ballard, a well known and celebrated oceanographer and scientist who discovered the wrecks of the RMS Titanic in 1985. Ballard was also well known for his countless significant scientific discoveries, and underwater expeditions. I loved the way this book was written and how this memoir recounts Ballard’s life with heartbreaking details and stories about his own struggles and challenges growing up. Ballard’s life is so moving and heartfelt as he tells his story of how he rose to prominence. He also opens up about his life, specifically about his learning disability - having had dyslexia, to his harrowing experience losing his 20 year old son, and then the collapse of his marriage. This book was such an amazing read I highly recommend, about the remarkable life of a former US Navy commander, oceanographer, and adventurer that is both inspirational and insightful.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    I loved watching Jacques Cousteau as a child although I am not particularly fond of the water. I remember when Ballard found the Titanic and that launched my love affair with the ship. Into the Deep provides a fascinating account of Ballards life. I was most interested in the Titanic parts, but was also interested in the other treasures he has found in the deep. I think anyone reading this memoir will want to dive into the water and see what lost ships and artifacts they can find. Thanks to Nati I loved watching Jacques Cousteau as a child although I am not particularly fond of the water. I remember when Ballard found the Titanic and that launched my love affair with the ship. Into the Deep provides a fascinating account of Ballards life. I was most interested in the Titanic parts, but was also interested in the other treasures he has found in the deep. I think anyone reading this memoir will want to dive into the water and see what lost ships and artifacts they can find. Thanks to National Geographic and Edelweiss for the the early read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelsea

    Last night, I finished up this memoir by Bob Ballard, the oceanographer who found Titanic’s shipwreck site, as well as exploring many other underwater wrecks and making other oceanic discoveries. I really enjoyed this book, as it offered a peek into a world very few have access to. The book includes interesting photographs that illustrate what Ballard describes. I learned a lot about deep sea exploration (using submersibles & underwater cameras), his specialty. It was great reading about all the Last night, I finished up this memoir by Bob Ballard, the oceanographer who found Titanic’s shipwreck site, as well as exploring many other underwater wrecks and making other oceanic discoveries. I really enjoyed this book, as it offered a peek into a world very few have access to. The book includes interesting photographs that illustrate what Ballard describes. I learned a lot about deep sea exploration (using submersibles & underwater cameras), his specialty. It was great reading about all the work he’s done to encourage kids interested in pursuing ocean exploration. Ballard also goes into a heart wrenching personal loss he experienced. Near the end of the book, Ballard talks about learning late in life that he has dyslexia, and how that impacted the way he saw himself and his experiences. I love how he ends on climate change and how important it is for us humans to find sustainable ways to live. Thank you National Geographic & TLC BooTours for a free copy of the book in exchange for an Instagram feature + review. It’s out today!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Overall this is a pretty good read. I thought the writing was very good. Descriptive, engaging, and many times I felt as the reader like I was there. I would say at times I just got this perception of arrogance from Mr. Ballard. It may just be how I read the book but there was too much "I did this" "I came up with that" "I directed this" type stuff. And the name dropping also wore on me a bit. I get the excitement of being engaged with someone like James Cameron ... that had to be cool. But defe Overall this is a pretty good read. I thought the writing was very good. Descriptive, engaging, and many times I felt as the reader like I was there. I would say at times I just got this perception of arrogance from Mr. Ballard. It may just be how I read the book but there was too much "I did this" "I came up with that" "I directed this" type stuff. And the name dropping also wore on me a bit. I get the excitement of being engaged with someone like James Cameron ... that had to be cool. But deferring to calling him "Jimmy" or just talking through the limo ride ... I don't know. It just felt a little off to me. That was really the only downside of this book for me and again, it could have been just me. What the author has done and accomplished and when and how he accomplished it was amazing. And how he ends the book also really provides some good perspectives IMO. It's a good book and worth the read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

    Even I have trouble believing this, but at one time in my life, I moved in the same circles as Bob Ballard, so I knew a lot of the people referenced in this book. What for any other reader would be a heck of an adventurous memoir (of a privileged white man with a very healthy ego), was for me a walk down memory lane. So many old friends were mentioned that I smiled all the way through. But even without the very personal connection, I'm pretty sure I would have loved this. Yes, Ballard is a littl Even I have trouble believing this, but at one time in my life, I moved in the same circles as Bob Ballard, so I knew a lot of the people referenced in this book. What for any other reader would be a heck of an adventurous memoir (of a privileged white man with a very healthy ego), was for me a walk down memory lane. So many old friends were mentioned that I smiled all the way through. But even without the very personal connection, I'm pretty sure I would have loved this. Yes, Ballard is a little full of himself, but there's no denying his accomplishments. More importantly, this book reminded me why my childhood dream was to become a marine biologist and why I've never lived far from the ocean. I literally can't imagine living a land-locked life, but for those that do, perhaps this book will give them a little taste of salt on their lips.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Nice biography of Robert D. Ballad in his 80s, now looking back on his life. An overview of his life and successes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pam Foster

    A strong 3.5 rating, primarily for the interesting life this man has led. Enjoyed reading about his finding of the Titanic, Bismarck. But the writing was choppy and got a bit egocentric toward the end.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    From start to finish you will not get bored reading Into The Deep! A great play-by-play of some of Robert Ballard's greatest discoveries beginning with the titanic of all of them...The Titantic. Excellent book to read whether you're a fan of the ocean or just history. A can't put it down type of book. From start to finish you will not get bored reading Into The Deep! A great play-by-play of some of Robert Ballard's greatest discoveries beginning with the titanic of all of them...The Titantic. Excellent book to read whether you're a fan of the ocean or just history. A can't put it down type of book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Moore

    This book is great. Part of that has to be due to the fact that Dr. Ballard has an incredible resume. But it's well written, from a perspective that feels very honest. Highly recommend to anyone remotely interested in science, exploration, or the ocean. This book is great. Part of that has to be due to the fact that Dr. Ballard has an incredible resume. But it's well written, from a perspective that feels very honest. Highly recommend to anyone remotely interested in science, exploration, or the ocean.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Gray

    Great read in one day

  12. 4 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    His achievements are 5 star, his personality 2 stars, he lost me when criticized his ex wife, he's too old to throw her under the bus... His achievements are 5 star, his personality 2 stars, he lost me when criticized his ex wife, he's too old to throw her under the bus...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I hate having to write a negative review for this book. I loved learning about the science and history scattered throughout and his accomplishments. I disliked the fact that money and name dropping took up most of this book. It does not portray Ballard in such a good light which is very disappointing. He deserves to be recognized for his works just not with this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    An riveting tale of the life and adventures of the "guy who found that rusty old boat." Namely Dr. Robert Ballard who made a name for himself before the general public when he and his team - with generous assistance from the French - found the resting spot of the HMS Titanic. A young man who found his fascination in finding beneath the ocean waves upon seeing Disney's film version of Verne's Twenty Leagues Under the Sea. From the Bismarck to the Yorktown, the final resting spot of Kennedy's PT-1 An riveting tale of the life and adventures of the "guy who found that rusty old boat." Namely Dr. Robert Ballard who made a name for himself before the general public when he and his team - with generous assistance from the French - found the resting spot of the HMS Titanic. A young man who found his fascination in finding beneath the ocean waves upon seeing Disney's film version of Verne's Twenty Leagues Under the Sea. From the Bismarck to the Yorktown, the final resting spot of Kennedy's PT-109, ancient shipwrecks in the Mediterranean as well as the Black Sea. The bodies of two Turkish pilots shot down too close to the Syrian coast when that government was far too trigger-happy due to the insurgence within it's borders. Exploring seamounts, providing the scientific evidence of geothermal vents and the creatures that survive in the extreme depths and temperatures. Taking detailed pictures of sunken ships - even providing precise photos that proved an attempted case of insurance fraud. And done with manned submersibles and eventually remotely operated vehicles that managed to explore, record and even remove specific artifacts from beneath the waves. Even aiding in the search for the Loch Ness Monster. Then there is the numerous 'live' broadcasts that brought the expeditions and explorations into the proverbial classrooms - in the beginning, museums and auditoriums - and answering thousands of questions while making marine science and history fun and approachable. Difficulties not only with his fellow scientists but due to his own learning problems - it was in his 70's that he discovered his problem was actually due to dyslexia which then led to making a point in his presentations to children and young adults that dyslexia was not a handicap, just a different way of looking at the world. Ballard definitely is a gifted storyteller and his best tales are not only all the discoveries he has made over the decades but how he has changed the field of underwater exploration and even archaeology. 2021-147

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rose and Mike Mccarthy

    I was SO excited to win ‘Into the Deep,’ by Robert Ballard and Christopher Drew, as a giveaway from GoodReads. I have been a fan of Robert Ballard since I was about 10 years old (thirty-mumble-mumble-years ago). While I always knew he was more than the explorer who discovered the Titanic, Lusitania and Bismarck, this book allowed me to learn even more about him, his history, and his explorations and discoveries. Starting with tales of his childhood adventures, and following him through his caree I was SO excited to win ‘Into the Deep,’ by Robert Ballard and Christopher Drew, as a giveaway from GoodReads. I have been a fan of Robert Ballard since I was about 10 years old (thirty-mumble-mumble-years ago). While I always knew he was more than the explorer who discovered the Titanic, Lusitania and Bismarck, this book allowed me to learn even more about him, his history, and his explorations and discoveries. Starting with tales of his childhood adventures, and following him through his career, the narration paints such vivid images that as a reader, I felt like I was right there in the thick of it, or at the very least, like I was watching it all play out from a hidden, shadowed corner of the room. I highly recommend this book not only for those interested in maritime discoveries, but for anyone who longs for the adventure of exploration and the drama behind all the work that helps create the journey! Five stars, two thumbs up, a popping champagne cork and all the other accolades and recommendations!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Albright

    What a life! So many fascinating adventures, incredible discoveries, and numerous scientific contributions. Robert Ballard's achievements are extraordinary and yet, while reading his book I got the sense that none of that has changed him all that much. His natural curiosity, determination, skill with people, and an innate desire to find answers also seem to keep him grounded as the quest to know more is never over. I'm a scuba diver and I can't even begin to describe the chills and thrills I got What a life! So many fascinating adventures, incredible discoveries, and numerous scientific contributions. Robert Ballard's achievements are extraordinary and yet, while reading his book I got the sense that none of that has changed him all that much. His natural curiosity, determination, skill with people, and an innate desire to find answers also seem to keep him grounded as the quest to know more is never over. I'm a scuba diver and I can't even begin to describe the chills and thrills I got while reading about his underwater excursions. The photos of the Titanic are so beautiful and haunting. The descriptions of artifacts found using his submersibles detailed and illuminating. This book is an inspiration to inquiring minds and an encouragement to follow your dreams. I received a gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Born in Kansas, then relocating to California with his family when he was two years old, Robert Ballard fell in love with the ocean upon his first trip to the beach. Inspired by the adventures of Jacques Cousteau, he overcame his difficulties with reading by working twice as hard to achieve his goal of being an oceanographer. From professional highs to personal lows, he persisted and continues to work hard even as he approaches his eighties. Although he's often thought of for finding the Titanic Born in Kansas, then relocating to California with his family when he was two years old, Robert Ballard fell in love with the ocean upon his first trip to the beach. Inspired by the adventures of Jacques Cousteau, he overcame his difficulties with reading by working twice as hard to achieve his goal of being an oceanographer. From professional highs to personal lows, he persisted and continues to work hard even as he approaches his eighties. Although he's often thought of for finding the Titanic, Robert Ballard has lived an amazing life exploring, teaching and developing new equipment to discover more about our oceans. His informal writing style became the voice of a captivating storyteller in my mind as he described his adventures as they happened from initial planning to their ultimate discoveries. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves the ocean and its mysteries!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Russell

    Nicely told story of the famous undersea explorer's life, from boyhood to his near-retirement today. You get a sense of the relentless drive pushing him to new areas of exploration, new targets to locate, and revolutionary technologies to invent and refine. His discover of the Titanic's wreckage in the North Atlantic shifted his career a bit from the academic to the marine archeological realm, and that slight course change resulted in the development and deployment of underwater exploration tech Nicely told story of the famous undersea explorer's life, from boyhood to his near-retirement today. You get a sense of the relentless drive pushing him to new areas of exploration, new targets to locate, and revolutionary technologies to invent and refine. His discover of the Titanic's wreckage in the North Atlantic shifted his career a bit from the academic to the marine archeological realm, and that slight course change resulted in the development and deployment of underwater exploration techniques that found the Bismarck, the USS Yorktown, PT 109, well-preserved wrecks from 200 BC in the Black Sea, and 4000-year old evidence of trade routes in the Mediterranean. Throughout his career, Ballard emphasized teamwork, mentoring younger scientists and technologists to mature into the people who now lead the field.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Kelley

    Robert Bullard was a hyperactive child that was drawn to the oceans thanks to Jules Verne's Twenty thousand leagues under sea and Captain Nemo. He of course is famously known for finding the Titanic. You will find from reading this book that he was involved in so many more things. His start being in Ocean geology and in my opinion the blending of ocean exploration and archeology. It was interesting to read how his crew and himself being involved with many military missions and one in particular Robert Bullard was a hyperactive child that was drawn to the oceans thanks to Jules Verne's Twenty thousand leagues under sea and Captain Nemo. He of course is famously known for finding the Titanic. You will find from reading this book that he was involved in so many more things. His start being in Ocean geology and in my opinion the blending of ocean exploration and archeology. It was interesting to read how his crew and himself being involved with many military missions and one in particular that may have helped prevent a war all this may have to do with his prior military service. It was great to read about his long ties with the national geographic society and how he worked to give back in education to encourage more kids to become involved in the sciences. This was a great read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Scilipoti

    I was so sad the holiday weekend weather was a bust, and then I got lost in Bob’s adventures . The highs and lows of his life are fascinating and exciting . Why yes , Bob found the Titanic ( spoiler alert! 😀) , but this is a man is so much more than the Titanic and her beauty. I don’t want to say much more . Other than his life is and the way this book was written is absolutely inspirational.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Seivard

    Robert Ballard has quite the resume. I loved this book- his writing style made the book easy to read and hard to put down. The book went through so many of the projects he has participated in, which has now given me a list of items to look up and learn more about. I really loved how he explained the science of various topics in a very user friendly sort of way. Thrilled to add to my bookshelf! Would highly recommend to anyone!

  22. 5 out of 5

    John

    A very interesting look at the significant accomplishments of a dynamic personality. With the discovery of the “Titanic” he became a public figure who advanced the fields of oceanography via robotic devices and cameras and garnered considerable support to enhance and extend his work! Thank you, Dr Ballard for your many significant discoveries over your career and your excellent book describing them.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Konet

    Exceptional and fascinating read into all of Robert Ballard's nautical discoveries and the motherload of all, Titanic and how he got approval from the US Navy for approval to search. I also like learning more about Ballard's personal life and struggles with a learning disability and how he made into a strength with his scientific work. From start to finish I was entranced and fascinated. Highly recommended and glad my library had this! Exceptional and fascinating read into all of Robert Ballard's nautical discoveries and the motherload of all, Titanic and how he got approval from the US Navy for approval to search. I also like learning more about Ballard's personal life and struggles with a learning disability and how he made into a strength with his scientific work. From start to finish I was entranced and fascinated. Highly recommended and glad my library had this!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I liked this book a lot. His story of getting into the field, finding different ships or objects, helping move technology along, working with other disciplines. All of it fascinating to me. Hope others will enjoy it also.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Ule

    I enjoyed Ballard's memoir--but then, I've met him a couple of times. We were particularly interested in his Navy-related stories and the incidents surrounding the discovery of the Titanic. An interesting man and an easy read. I enjoyed Ballard's memoir--but then, I've met him a couple of times. We were particularly interested in his Navy-related stories and the incidents surrounding the discovery of the Titanic. An interesting man and an easy read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura Bray

    I don't read many biographies, but this one got a great review in Kirkus and a terrific excerpt in National Geographic (which I also read). Did you know, in addition to Titanic, he also discovered tube worms and black smokers? I didn't. Fascinating read. I don't read many biographies, but this one got a great review in Kirkus and a terrific excerpt in National Geographic (which I also read). Did you know, in addition to Titanic, he also discovered tube worms and black smokers? I didn't. Fascinating read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robert D

    Truly excellent story about a life well lived exploration well done!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shauna Baldi

    I couldn’t take my ear buds out! I loved every part of this and must say I’m sad he didn’t narrarate it himself. I’m sure he has his reasons. Excellent book from a true adventurer.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Celine

    Written so that you feel the adventure, and the desire to find an explore more mysteries beneath the sea.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    It's interesting to read about how random events and people influenced the trajectory of his life. The informal, story-telling style of the book made it enjoyable to read. It's interesting to read about how random events and people influenced the trajectory of his life. The informal, story-telling style of the book made it enjoyable to read.

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