Smithsonian Ocean

Our Water Our World

In ways most of us have never imagined, almost all life, including ours, depends on the ocean. In the poetic and breathtakingly beautiful Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water Our World, gifted science writer Deborah Cramer reveals how.

Nobel Prize winner Al Gore wrote of Deborah Cramer’s previous book Great Waters, “I urge everyone to read this book, pass on its teachings, and act on its message.” Now, Cramer offers a groundbreaking book for an even more urgent time.

Praise and Reviews

New York Times

Critics Pick
“Photos and text make a passionate case for why mankind will be at sea if we don’t save our oceans.”
USA Today

“It has often been proposed that the ultimate human future lies in space. It has become clear instead that the strange world really holding our future, now and forever, is the ocean. In Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water Our World, Deborah Cramer explains why this is so. Authoritatively researched, clearly written, and beautifully illustrated, this book is best in its class.”
Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University and author of The Future of Life

“Deborah Cramer’s achievement in creating this classic study of the world’s sea is destined for lasting importance. Her book is a hymn to something that is both beautiful and fragile, a fervent prayer that we recognize it as such, and an eloquent plea for all humankind to cherish it- to embrace the sea as it embraces us.”
Simon Winchester, author of Krakatoa and The Professor and the Madman

“Rachel Carson wrote the ocean’s biography for the 20th century, and Deborah Cramer, with the same passion and meticulous research, has written it for the 21st.”
Linda Lear, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature

“This irresistible invitation to explore the ocean that gave birth to life itself, together with the imperative to know the living ocean and treat it with respect, should be in every home.”
Thomas E. Lovejoy, President, The Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment

“With poetic grace and deep scientific savvy, Deborah Cramer eloquently conveys the sweeping history of the Earth from fiery origin through the explosion of life in the sea to the present era of profound human impact. Whether you seek information or inspiration, this volume is a must.”
Sylvia Earle, oceanographer, deep sea explorer, and co-author of Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas

This elegant, lovingly written book immerses readers in the symbiosis between humanity and the sea. Deborah Cramer’s sweeping work introduces us to the ancestral ocean, on which human influence has now grown profound, and charges us to rejuvenate our essential partnership with its wondrous rhythms and life-giving waters.”
Paul Epstein, Center for Global Health and the Environment, Harvard Medical School

“Deborah Cramer has given us an eloquent life history of the ocean, natural and human, and rightly challenges us to exercise better stewardship of the sea and leave a legacy of healthy oceans for our children.”
Michael Sutton, Vice President and Director, Center for the Future of the Oceans, Monterey Bay Aquarium


“Soul of Water,” Cramer on American Public Media’s The Story, with Dick Gordon