Into the Deep: A Memoir From the Man Who Found Titanic (Hardcover)

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The legendary explorer of the Titanic shares inside stories of danger, suspense, and discovery--plus previously untold stories about his own dyslexia and how it has shaped his life.
Best known for finding the doomed ship Titanic, celebrated adventurer Robert Ballard has a lifetime of stories about exploring the ocean depths. Now he gets personal, telling the stories behind his most exciting discoveries�including how a top-secret naval mission provided the opportunity for his Titanic discovery�and opens up about his private tragedies.
He frankly recounts the struggles he has worked through, rising to prominence as a scientist whose celebrity drew academic scorn. And he reveals the triumph and agony in the years after his Titanic find: While media around the world clamored for interviews, he grappled with the death of his 20-year-old son and the collapse of his marriage amid academic and military career demands. Finally, he addresses his late-in-life discovery of his own dyslexia, which he now sees as a gift that has shaped his life and accomplishments.
Twice a New York Times best-selling author, here Ballard partners with investigative reporter and bestselling author Christopher Drew to tell the dramatic and often surprising stories behind his newsworthy discoveries. Timed to appear as the National Geographic Channel airs a special documentary about Ballard's explorations, Into the Deep will intrigue adventure lovers young and old.
Brilliant, insightful, and surprising, Into the Deep is the definitive story of the dangers and discoveries, conflicts and triumphs that have shaped the remarkable life of an American hero.

About the Author


ROBERT D. BALLARD has conducted more than 150 expeditions and is a world-renowned pioneer in deep-sea exploration. He is best known for finding the wreck of Titanic, but he also discovered hydrothermal vents, ancient ships and artifacts in the Black Sea, and many other historic shipwrecks including Bismarck,Lusitania, and PT-109. Since 2008 he has managed Nautilus, his flagship for exploration, operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust and funded in part by NOAA. Among his many honors he holds the Explorers Club Medal, the National Geographic Hubbard Medal, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal. He lives in Lyme, Connecticut. nautiluslive.org Twitter: @EVNautilus Facebook: Nautilus Live
An investigative reporter and editor at the New York Times for 22 years, Christopher Drew wrote the best-selling book Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. He has also worked for the Chicago Tribune and the Wall Street Journal. He now holds the Fred Jones Greer Jr. Endowed Chair at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Praise For…


"Embarking on a world cruise you might pack a suitcase with books by or about Shackleton, Fulton, Hornblower, Twain, Cronkite, and the most inspiring teacher you ever had. Bob Ballard saves you all that weight with his new memoir Into the Deep. Here is an explorer who discovered Titanic, Bismarck,PT-109, and many others in the abyss, a scientist who proved theories on hydrothermal vents that remade geological research, an engineer who imagined then built revolutionary marine robots, a naval officer who led secret missions into the most hostile regions, a natural storyteller whose wry wit enlivens every tale, and a trusted confidant of some of the most influential figures of his time. As an educator and philanthropist he has done more than any other person to re-energize the teaching and inspire the growth of students in math science and engineering. The book is certain to be an adventure classic."
John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy and author of

“Of course I loved the section about the search for Titanic and his exploration of the wreck, but was enthralled at the first hand accounts of the decades of exploration that preceded and followed that signature event in Dr. Ballard’s life. He was, and still is, a true exploration pioneer, and has inspired generations of ocean explorers, myself included."—James Cameron

"No living explorer can claim a career as varied or fascinating as that of Robert Ballard, who has explored the world’s oceans, including a deep dive to the Titanic. His life is a testament to the power of imagination, scientific rigor, and dogged hard work. Now, as never before, Robert Ballard illuminates the world''s oceans in a spellbinding memoir of courage and discovery."
Henry A. Kissinger

"Bob Ballard is larger than life: scientist, engineer, naval intelligence officer, charmer in chief. His is a story of determination in the face of insurmountable barriers. Yet, with relentless, infinite curiosity, and a hero''s courage, he went around all those barriers, to become what he wanted to be: a modern-day Captain Nemo. Into the Deep is a page-turner, every chapter a cliffhanger that delivers yet another surprise, until the final surprise is delivered. At that sudden moment of realization, the armor is shed, and the hero shows a deep, soulful humanity that only confirms why he is such a towering figure. Into the Deep is a book for every kid who dreams of growing into something, for every person who''s been told ''you cannot do this,'' for every scientist (fledgling as well veteran) who wonders why we do what we do. Ballard''s story is a modern Odyssey, where the hero has a destination in mind but often has to tack and take shelter until, eventually, he reaches his personal Ithaca."
Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and author of

No living explorer can claim a career as varied or fascinating as that of Robert Ballard, who has explored the world?s oceans, including a deep dive to the Titanic. His life is a testament to the power of imagination, scientific rigor, and dogged hard work. Now, as never before, Robert Ballard illuminates the world's oceans in a spellbinding memoir of courage and discovery.—Henry A. Kissinger

"Bob Ballard is larger than life: scientist, engineer, naval intelligence officer, charmer in chief. His is a story of determination in the face of insurmountable barriers. Yet, with relentless, infinite curiosity, and a hero's courage, he went around all those barriers, to become what he wanted to be: a modern-day Captain Nemo. Into the Deep is a page-turner, every chapter a cliffhanger that delivers yet another surprise, until the final surprise is delivered. At that sudden moment of realization, the armor is shed, and the hero shows a deep, soulful humanity that only confirms why he is such a towering figure. Into the Deep is a book for every kid who dreams of growing into something, for every person who's been told 'you cannot do this,' for every scientist (fledgling as well veteran) who wonders why we do what we do. Ballard's story is a modern Odyssey, where the hero has a destination in mind but often has to tack and take shelter until, eventually, he reaches his personal Ithaca."
Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and author of

An explorer's memoir of discovering the wreck of the Titanic--and so much more.


As a young boy, Ballard was perpetually in motion. Feeling confined in school and suffering from dyslexia, he found that he learned better by seeing and doing. From an early age, his mother had given him "license to roam," so he spent much of his time fishing, swimming, and exploring the tidal pools of Southern California. After seeing Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea at age 12, he was hooked on the ocean: "It blew my mind." Although Ballard is best known for the Titanic, he has made numerous remarkable discoveries in the face of significant obstacles. Among his other adventures and accomplishments: witnessing the ocean floor expanding at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; investigating alleged Loch Ness monster sightings; finding the Bismarck and the Yorktown; exploring the wreckage of the Lusitania; tracking ancient trade routes of the Romans and the Phoenicians; stumbling upon a site that pointed the way for Israel to find "a significant offshore oil and gas field"; making findings that confirmed a theory that a catastrophic event occurred in the Black Sea (which some believe was the biblical Noah's flood); locating John F. Kennedy's PT-109; discovering a German U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico; and his current quest to find the wreckage of Amelia Earhart's plane. All of this would be enough to fill multiple lifetimes, but Ballard has also developed and improved technologies to aid in the exploration of the ocean floor, made speaking appearances and written numerous articles and books about his work, and created video documentaries and live broadcasts of his adventures, bringing science to life for schoolchildren. Throughout the book, the author discusses the many challenges and setbacks he faced along the way, noting that failure should be embraced, since "every failure is a learning lesson."


Ballard's incredible achievements and gift for storytelling will captivate readers from all walks of life.

(starred review)

It seems as if Robert Ballard has lived three lives--or maybe ten--and these pages are filled with a riveting account of his adventures, each one seemingly better than the last. I envy his grandchildren and the tales he must tell them.—Ken Burns

Embarking on a world cruise you might pack a suitcase with books by or about Shackleton, Fulton, Hornblower, Twain, Cronkite, and the most inspiring teacher you ever had. Bob Ballard saves you all that weight with his new memoir Into the Deep. Here is an explorer who discovered Titanic, Bismarck, PT-109, and many others in the abyss, a scientist who proved theories on hydrothermal vents that remade geological research, an engineer who imagined then built revolutionary marine robots, a naval officer who led secret missions into the most hostile regions, a natural storyteller whose wry wit enlivens every tale, and a trusted confidant of some of the most influential figures of his time. As an educator and philanthropist he has done more than any other person to re-energize the teaching and inspire the growth of students in math science and engineering. The book is certain to be an adventure classic.—John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy and author of <i>Oceans Ventured</i>

"It seems as if Robert Ballard has lived three lives--or maybe ten--and these pages are filled with a riveting account of his adventures, each one seemingly better than the last. I envy his grandchildren and the tales he must tell them."—Ken Burns

No living explorer can claim a career as varied or fascinating as that of Robert Ballard, who has explored the world’s oceans, including a deep dive to the Titanic. His life is a testament to the power of imagination, scientific rigor, and dogged hard work. Now, as never before, Robert Ballard illuminates the world's oceans in a spellbinding memoir of courage and discovery.—Henry A. Kissinger

"Embarking on a world cruise you might pack a suitcase with books by or about Shackleton, Fulton, Hornblower, Twain, Cronkite, and the most inspiring teacher you ever had. Bob Ballard saves you all that weight with his new memoir Into the Deep. Here is an explorer who discovered Titanic, Bismarck,PT-109, and many others in the abyss, a scientist who proved theories on hydrothermal vents that remade geological research, an engineer who imagined then built revolutionary marine robots, a naval officer who led secret missions into the most hostile regions, a natural storyteller whose wry wit enlivens every tale, and a trusted confidant of some of the most influential figures of his time. As an educator and philanthropist he has done more than any other person to re-energize the teaching and inspire the growth of students in math science and engineering. The book is certain to be an adventure classic."
John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy and author of

"Of course I loved the section about the search for Titanic and his exploration of the wreck, but was enthralled at the first hand accounts of the decades of exploration that preceded and followed that signature event in Dr. Ballard's life. He was, and still is, a true exploration pioneer, and has inspired generations of ocean explorers, myself included."—James Cameron

Of course I loved the section about the search for Titanic and his exploration of the wreck, but was enthralled at the first hand accounts of the decades of exploration that preceded and followed that signature event in Dr. Ballard's life. He was, and still is, a true exploration pioneer, and has inspired generations of ocean explorers, myself included.—James Cameron

"No living explorer can claim a career as varied or fascinating as that of Robert Ballard, who has explored the world’s oceans, including a deep dive to the Titanic. His life is a testament to the power of imagination, scientific rigor, and dogged hard work. Now, as never before, Robert Ballard illuminates the world's oceans in a spellbinding memoir of courage and discovery."
Henry A. Kissinger

Bob Ballard is larger than life: scientist, engineer, naval intelligence officer, charmer in chief. His is a story of determination in the face of insurmountable barriers. Yet, with relentless, infinite curiosity, and a hero's courage, he went around all those barriers, to become what he wanted to be: a modern-day Captain Nemo. Into the Deep is a page-turner, every chapter a cliffhanger that delivers yet another surprise, until the final surprise is delivered. At that sudden moment of realization, the armor is shed, and the hero shows a deep, soulful humanity that only confirms why he is such a towering figure. Into the Deep is a book for every kid who dreams of growing into something, for every person who's been told 'you cannot do this,' for every scientist (fledgling as well veteran) who wonders why we do what we do. Ballard's story is a modern Odyssey, where the hero has a destination in mind but often has to tack and take shelter until, eventually, he reaches his personal Ithaca.—Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and author of <i>The Nature of Nature</i>

An explorer's memoir of discovering the wreck of the Titanic--and so much more.

As a young boy, Ballard was perpetually in motion. Feeling confined in school and suffering from dyslexia, he found that he learned better by seeing and doing. From an early age, his mother had given him "license to roam," so he spent much of his time fishing, swimming, and exploring the tidal pools of Southern California. After seeing Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea at age 12, he was hooked on the ocean: "It blew my mind." Although Ballard is best known for the Titanic, he has made numerous remarkable discoveries in the face of significant obstacles. Among his other adventures and accomplishments: witnessing the ocean floor expanding at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; investigating alleged Loch Ness monster sightings; finding the Bismarck and the Yorktown; exploring the wreckage of the Lusitania; tracking ancient trade routes of the Romans and the Phoenicians; stumbling upon a site that pointed the way for Israel to find "a significant offshore oil and gas field"; making findings that confirmed a theory that a catastrophic event occurred in the Black Sea (which some believe was the biblical Noah's flood); locating John F. Kennedy's PT-109; discovering a German U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico; and his current quest to find the wreckage of Amelia Earhart's plane. All of this would be enough to fill multiple lifetimes, but Ballard has also developed and improved technologies to aid in the exploration of the ocean floor, made speaking appearances and written numerous articles and books about his work, and created video documentaries and live broadcasts of his adventures, bringing science to life for schoolchildren. Throughout the book, the author discusses the many challenges and setbacks he faced along the way, noting that failure should be embraced, since "every failure is a learning lesson.

Ballard's incredible achievements and gift for storytelling will captivate readers from all walks of life.

<b><i>Kirkus Reviews </i></b>(starred review)

"An amazing story, brilliantly told."—Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, authors of

An amazing story, brilliantly told.—Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, authors of <i>The Dyslexic Advantage</i>


An explorer's memoir of discovering the wreck of the Titanic--and so much more.
As a young boy, Ballard was perpetually in motion. Feeling confined in school and suffering from dyslexia, he found that he learned better by seeing and doing. From an early age, his mother had given him "license to roam," so he spent much of his time fishing, swimming, and exploring the tidal pools of Southern California. After seeing Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea at age 12, he was hooked on the ocean: "It blew my mind." Although Ballard is best known for the Titanic, he has made numerous remarkable discoveries in the face of significant obstacles. Among his other adventures and accomplishments: witnessing the ocean floor expanding at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; investigating alleged Loch Ness monster sightings; finding the Bismarck and the Yorktown; exploring the wreckage of the Lusitania; tracking ancient trade routes of the Romans and the Phoenicians; stumbling upon a site that pointed the way for Israel to find "a significant offshore oil and gas field"; making findings that confirmed a theory that a catastrophic event occurred in the Black Sea (which some believe was the biblical Noah's flood); locating John F. Kennedy's PT-109; discovering a German U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico; and his current quest to find the wreckage of Amelia Earhart's plane. All of this would be enough to fill multiple lifetimes, but Ballard has also developed and improved technologies to aid in the exploration of the ocean floor, made speaking appearances and written numerous articles and books about his work, and created video documentaries and live broadcasts of his adventures, bringing science to life for schoolchildren. Throughout the book, the author discusses the many challenges and setbacks he faced along the way, noting that failure should be embraced, since "every failure is a learning lesson.
Ballard's incredible achievements and gift for storytelling will captivate readers from all walks of life.—<b><i>Kirkus Reviews </i></b>(starred review)

"It seems as if Robert Ballard has lived three lives--or maybe ten--and these pages are filled with a riveting account of his adventures, each one seemingly better than the last. I envy his grandchildren and the tales he must tell them."—Ken Burns

?Fascinating, page-turning . . . This exciting memoir, recounted by a wonderful storyteller, will be relished by by readers who enjoy adventure, oceanography, underwater archaeology, and scientific discovery.?—<b><i>Library Journal</i></b>

It seems as if Robert Ballard has lived three lives--or maybe ten--and these pages are filled with a riveting account of his adventures, each one seemingly better than the last. I envy his grandchildren and the tales he must tell them.—Ken Burns

Embarking on a world cruise you might pack a suitcase with books by or about Shackleton, Fulton, Hornblower, Twain, Cronkite, and the most inspiring teacher you ever had. Bob Ballard saves you all that weight with his new memoir Into the Deep. Here is an explorer who discovered Titanic, Bismarck, PT-109, and many others in the abyss, a scientist who proved theories on hydrothermal vents that remade geological research, an engineer who imagined then built revolutionary marine robots, a naval officer who led secret missions into the most hostile regions, a natural storyteller whose wry wit enlivens every tale, and a trusted confidant of some of the most influential figures of his time. As an educator and philanthropist he has done more than any other person to re-energize the teaching and inspire the growth of students in math science and engineering. The book is certain to be an adventure classic.—John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy and author of <i>Oceans Ventured</i>

"No living explorer can claim a career as varied or fascinating as that of Robert Ballard, who has explored the world?s oceans, including a deep dive to the Titanic. His life is a testament to the power of imagination, scientific rigor, and dogged hard work. Now, as never before, Robert Ballard illuminates the world's oceans in a spellbinding memoir of courage and discovery."—Henry A. Kissinger

"Embarking on a world cruise you might pack a suitcase with books by or about Shackleton, Fulton, Hornblower, Twain, Cronkite, and the most inspiring teacher you ever had. Bob Ballard saves you all that weight with his new memoir Into the Deep. Here is an explorer who discovered Titanic, Bismarck, PT-109, and many others in the abyss, a scientist who proved theories on hydrothermal vents that remade geological research, an engineer who imagined then built revolutionary marine robots, a naval officer who led secret missions into the most hostile regions, a natural storyteller whose wry wit enlivens every tale, and a trusted confidant of some of the most influential figures of his time. . . . The book is certain to be an adventure classic.—John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy and author of <i>Oceans Ventured</i>

Of course I loved the section about the search for Titanic and his exploration of the wreck, but was enthralled at the first hand accounts of the decades of exploration that preceded and followed that signature event in Dr. Ballard's life. He was, and still is, a true exploration pioneer, and has inspired generations of ocean explorers, myself included.—James Cameron

No living explorer can claim a career as varied or fascinating as that of Robert Ballard, who has explored the world’s oceans, including a deep dive to the Titanic. His life is a testament to the power of imagination, scientific rigor, and dogged hard work. Now, as never before, Robert Ballard illuminates the world's oceans in a spellbinding memoir of courage and discovery.—Henry A. Kissinger

"Of course I loved the section about the search for Titanic and his exploration of the wreck, but was enthralled at the first hand accounts of the decades of exploration that preceded and followed that signature event in Dr. Ballard's life. He was, and still is, a true exploration pioneer, and has inspired generations of ocean explorers, myself included."—James Cameron

An explorer's memoir of discovering the wreck of the Titanic--and so much more. Although Ballard is best known for the Titanic, he has made numerous remarkable discoveries . . . Throughout the book, the author discusses the many challenges and setbacks he faced along the way, noting that failure should be embraced, since "every failure is a learning lesson." Ballard's incredible achievements and gift for storytelling will captivate readers from all walks of life.—<b><i>Kirkus Reviews </i></b>(starred review)

Bob Ballard is larger than life: scientist, engineer, naval intelligence officer, charmer in chief. His is a story of determination in the face of insurmountable barriers. Yet, with relentless, infinite curiosity, and a hero's courage, he went around all those barriers, to become what he wanted to be: a modern-day Captain Nemo. Into the Deep is a page-turner, every chapter a cliffhanger that delivers yet another surprise, until the final surprise is delivered. At that sudden moment of realization, the armor is shed, and the hero shows a deep, soulful humanity that only confirms why he is such a towering figure. Into the Deep is a book for every kid who dreams of growing into something, for every person who's been told 'you cannot do this,' for every scientist (fledgling as well veteran) who wonders why we do what we do. Ballard's story is a modern Odyssey, where the hero has a destination in mind but often has to tack and take shelter until, eventually, he reaches his personal Ithaca.—Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and author of <i>The Nature of Nature</i>

"Bob Ballard is larger than life: scientist, engineer, naval intelligence officer, charmer in chief. His is a story of determination in the face of insurmountable barriers. Yet, with relentless, infinite curiosity, and a hero's courage, he went around all those barriers, to become what he wanted to be: a modern-day Captain Nemo. Into the Deep is a page-turner, every chapter a cliffhanger that delivers yet another surprise, until the final surprise is delivered. At that sudden moment of realization, the armor is shed, and the hero shows a deep, soulful humanity that only confirms why he is such a towering figure."—Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and author of <i>The Nature of Nature</i>

"An amazing story, brilliantly told."—Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, authors of <i>The Dyslexic Advantage</i>
Product Details
ISBN: 9781426220999
ISBN-10: 1426220995
Publisher: National Geographic
Publication Date: May 11th, 2021
Pages: 336
Language: English