Book Report: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Book Title and Author: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Main idea of story: One of the first science fiction adventure novels! This classic, first published in 1870, takes place in the deep watery depths and the famous Nautilus, a submarine lead by Captain Nemo! This book tells the tale of three accidental visitors to the vessel who are amazed by the wonders available to them to explore, but torn to escape back home. On their journey they fight sharks, hunt underwater, encounter Atlantis and fight giant squid!

Main characters in the book:

  • Dr. Pierre Aronnax – The narrator of the book. He is a former medical doctor turned scientist and lecturer. While lecturing in the USA he is asked by the government to join the expedition in search of the mysterious monster which is attacking other ships.
  • Conseil – He is Aronnax’s servant. Following him on all his voyages he is knowledgeable and never complains.
  • Ned Land – A Canadian traveler and excellent harpooner.
  • Captain Nemo – The commander of the Nautilus. A mysterious man with no known nationality, brilliant engineer and full of emotions!

Something unique and interesting about the story/book for readers to know: Considering this book was published more than 100 years ago this book is an amazing piece of science fiction! Author, Jules Verne, is often regarded as the father of science fiction and even to this day is still an exciting read!

Favorite part of the story/book and why: Captain Nemo travels through all the world’s oceans experiencing many adventures! At one point he and his prisoners go out for a dive witnessing amazing ocean life including oyster pearls the size of coconuts. This wild experience becomes a bit dangerous when sharks attack! Do they all make it, you will have to read to find out;)

Was this book entertaining, educational, amusing, etc?: This book is a classic in regards to adventure and exploration! Be entertained by this inventive tale imagined more than 100 years ago!

Would you recommend this book?: Would definitely recommend – if you weren’t required to read it in high school already;)


“I loved the underwater world, and would have been a marine biologist if I’d had any scientific encouragement at school. The flying fish and sharks and giant squid of Verne’s novel entranced me.”

Margaret Drabble, Independent

Noting this book was published in 1800s and this review was written in 1961 –
“There is not a single bit of valid speculation” in this novel and “none of its predictions has come true”. “Pretty bad, behind the times even for 1869… In none of these technical situation did Verne take advantage of knowledge readily available to him at the time”.

Theodore L. Thomas