Beyond The Outer Shores
Author: Eric Enno Tamm
In the 1930s, while the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression sent most of America into the doldrums, a lively intellectual and artistic community formed in the West, revolving around three legendary friends: Ed Ricketts, John Steinbeck, and Joseph Campbell. Steinbeck immortalized Monterey’s bohemian spirit in Cannery Row, but the area’s true lifeblood was his best friend and mentor, Ed Ricketts. Today Ed Ricketts is usually remembered as “Doc”—the beer-drinking philosopher-scientist who presided over Monterey’s population of “whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches” in Cannery Row—but Ricketts was actually a trailblazing ecologist who did seminal work in the emerging field on the Pacific Coast. His ideas were decades before their time, and his two books, Between Pacific Tides and Sea of Cortez (coauthored with Steinbeck), are still considered classics. Now, some sixty years after his untimely death, Ricketts’ ecological approach and ethic seem more relevant than ever.