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GIFT BOOKS IN BRIEF : THE BOOK OF WAVES: Form and Beauty on the Ocean by Drew Kampion with pictures by various photographers (Roberts Rinehart: $29.95 ).

December 01, 1991|John Dreyfuss

"How the water sports and sings!" wrote Walt Whitman, "Surely it is alive!" Right you are, Walt, and for proof positive without getting soaked, a journey through this book of wave photos should suffice. Waves abound, in flashing color and large format: sharp and threatening as stilettos, soft and inviting as pillows, gargantuan and solid and endless; juggernauts that Jack London described as "the white battalions of the infinite army of the sea." Through the pages of this book waves roll and thunder like avalanches, and they glide silent as shooting stars. A relatively few pages of well-illustrated text explain how waves work, look at waves from surfers' points of view, and provide a "meditation" on waves. At the back of the book, each photo is reproduced in black and white, postage-stamp size, with a short comment by the photographer. Primarily, though, this is a picture book that honors its readers by staying short on text.

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