The Frontier Below: The Past, Present and Future of Our Quest to Go Deeper Underwater

By Jeff Maynard

Triumphs and disasters in the deep sea

This is a journey through time and water, to the bottom of the ocean and the future of our planet.

We do not see the ocean when we look at the water that blankets more than two thirds of our planet. We only see the entrance to it. Beyond that entrance is a world hostile to humans, yet critical to our survival. The first divers to enter that world held their breath and splashed beneath the surface, often clutching rocks to pull them down. Over centuries, they invented wooden diving bells, clumsy diving suits, and unwieldy contraptions in attempts to go deeper and stay longer. But each advance was fraught with danger, as the intruders had to survive the crushing weight of water, or the deadly physiological effects of breathing compressed air. The vertical odyssey continued when explorers squeezed into heavy steel balls dangling on cables, or slung beneath floats filled with flammable gasoline. Plunging into the narrow trenches between the tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust, they eventually reached the bottom of the ocean in the same decade that men first walked on the moon.

Today, as nations scramble to exploit the resources of the ocean floor, The Frontier Below recalls a story of human endeavour that took 2,000 years to travel seven miles, then investigates how we will explore the ocean in the future.

Meticulously researched and drawing extensively on unpublished sources and personal interviews, The Frontier Below is the untold story of the pioneers who had the right stuff, but were forgotten because they went in the wrong direction.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 13 Apr 2023
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-0-00-853272-7
Jeff Maynard is an Australia nonfiction author specialising in polar history and underwater exploration. He researches previously untold historical subjects, then presents readers with engaging, character-driven stories.Maynard is a world authority on diving history. He was a founding member of the International Historical Diving Society and was President of the Australian chapter of the society for more than a decade. He is the editor of the quarterly magazine, Classic Diver. He presents papers at international diving events, and is a sought-after speaker for radio interviews. In 2002, he won the Historical Diving Society-UK award for his book Divers in Time. He is a member of the Explorers Club. He is also a book reviewer, radio commentator and editor.

”'Superb” - Engineering & Technology

”'Enthralling” - InDEPTH

”'A brisk tour through the history of diving and submersibles. The cast of characters is wide and wild” - International Journal of Science

”'On every page of this book there is an 'I-didn’t-know-that' moment” - Sydney Daily Telegraph

”'Keeps you turning each page, diving deeper into history” - Melbourne Herald Sun

”'Maynard has given us a tour of the horizon on the history and practice of mankind’s quest to go ever deeper in the sea” - Don Walsh, the first person to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Praise for Antarctica’s Lost Aviator -

”'Filled with a sumptuous cast of real-life adventurers, this is an engrossing and stirring tale” - Kirkus Reviews

”'A simply fascinating and inherently riveting read from beginning to end. Exceptionally well researched, written, organized, and presented” - Midwest Book Review

”'Maynard teases out the skeletons in Ellsworth’s closet while layering obstacle upon obstacle” - Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Unseen Anzac -

”'A wonderfully researched book. Every Australian should read it. Almost every page leaves you astonished” - The Age

Praise for Wings of Ice -

”'This polar adventure classic is begging to be read. A ripping yarn” - Sydney Morning Herald