Books: The Compleat Goggler by Guy Gilpatric

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Many books on scuba diving have been published over the course of time, almost since the beginning of the scuba era. The Scuba News Canada will post these “nostalgia” books considered a “blast from the past” on a regular basis, and we want you, our readers, to make suggestions of “older nostalgia diving books” you have enjoyed, or believe our readers will. We will publish it and add your social media/website link to the article if you send us the proposal. Contact us.

Dodd, Mead and Company first published The COMPLEAT GOGGLER in 1938. A 1938 edition was also published by John Lane, The Bodley Head Press, London. Both editions are in 8vo format (149 x 222mm). contains 182 pages, black and white photo plates, and black and white vignettes The upper board has a green octopus vignette, while the spine has a green fish pattern with titles. They now sell for more than a $1,000.00. It was a collection of short stories that had first published in the Saturday Evening Post, a popular magazine at the time.

The second edition, published in 1957, was co-published with Skin Diver Magazine. This version alone now sells for more over $400. In the early 1950s, Chuck Blakeslee, the founder and then-owner of Skin Diver Magazine and a noted avid diving bibliophile, formed a partnership with the original publisher, Dodd Mead & Company, which was still in business at the time, to reprint the book in 1957 under the “Skin Diver Magazine” banner using the original plates.

It’s thought that just 1200 copies of the 1957 version were printed at the time, with half of them being thrown away. The figure of 1200 is unconfirmed.

As the first modern “skin diving” book, this is a landmark. It has a lot of sarcasm, a lot of humour, and a lot of innocence. It’s an excellent read for newcomers to the sport who have a love of reading and the sea!



About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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