National Geographic publishes Jack’s latest book

By Jack Williams ©2015

The National Geographic published Jack’s  latest book, the Field Guide to the Water’s Edge, on  May 1, 2012. Jack is co-author with Stephen Leatherman, who is widely known as Dr. Beach for his annual 10 Best Beaches lists.

Stephen’s day job is is the director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University in Miami. He’s been issuing his America’s Best Beaches list each Memorial Day weekend since 1991. He and Jack started work on the Field Guide in the spring of 2011.

The book’s 288 pages have 450 color photographs as well as  numerous maps and explanatory diagrams. It’s a guide to  exploring water’s edges throughout North America including Canada and Alaska. The main sections cover the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific coastlines; estuaries and wetlands; lakes, including the Great Lakes; and rivers, from the Mississippi and Columbia rivers to backyard streams.

In addition to guides to animals and plants found in the water and on land, it includes a beachcombing guide that helps readers identify objects they find on beaches including, shells, beach glass, and “sea beans.”

An introductory section provides a thorough overview of the basic science of shorelines: how water interacts with land to form beaches; how various kinds of shorelines formed; why large waves are needed to form beaches; how floods and fast-moving water alter river shorelines; how the gravitational pull of the moon and sun cause the tides; why the oceans have tides but the Great Lakes don’t;  how tides affect rivers far inland; the effects of latitude and climate on the formation of shorelines, including variations in plants and animals. This opening sets up all the science necessary to understand and use the rest of the book.


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