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A pioneer in the field of deep-sea diving, George F. Bond helped develop the theory of saturation diving and the techniques and dive tables used by divers around the world. In this edited journal Bond offers a lively account of his work with the U.S. Navy’s first manned undersea habitats, the Sealab experiments of the 1960s. Dubbed “Papa Topside” by the media that followed his work with Navy aquanauts, Bond gives a colorful eyewitness account of what today are considered benchmarks in the history of diving.
This is a candid, personal record of Sealabs I, II, and III, and the FISSH experiment, the finale of Bond’s career. The picture that emerges is one of a brilliant, larger-than-life figure who, though often difficult to get along with, earned the respect and affection of his peers.
The book draws on the editor’s interviews with Bond’s fellow researchers and divers, editor Helen Siiteri as well as Bond’s daily logs and correspondence. Always frank and to the point, he describes his frustrations with the Navy brass, his friendly competition with Jacques Cousteau, and his spirited relationship with aquanaut/astronaut Scott Carpenter. As the only full-length book written about U.S. aquanauts and their undersea exploits, it is an important historical document. It is also an entertaining read.
About the author (from the hardcover edition): After receiving a bachelor of education degree from Rhode Island College, Helen Siiteri alternated teaching in an elementary grade school and acting in New England summer stock companies. She also served as a storyteller in the New York Public Library, and following marriage to a research biochemist, she adapted her favorite children’s story to read to their five children. The Adventures of Nicholas was published by Scholastic Press and for many years was featured in their paperback book club. When the family moved to Northern California, Siiteri was hired by an ocean engineering firm to research and prepare ship salvage reports and a history of ship salvage in the U.S. Navy. Papa Topside grew out of that research.
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