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Big Miracle [Kindle Edition]

Tom Rose
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $21.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
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Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

Now a major motion picture starring Drew Barrymore, Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, Tim Blake Nelson, John Krasinski, and Vinessa Shaw--an account of the dramatic rescue of three gray whales trapped under the ice in Alaska in 1988.

Set in Cold War-era 1988, Big Miracle tells the real story behind the remarkable, bizarre, and oftentimes uproarious event that mesmerized the world for weeks. On October 7, an Inuit hunter near Barrow, Alaska, found three California Gray whales imprisoned in the Arctic ice. In the past, as was nature's way, trapped whales always died. Not this time. Tom Rose, who was covering the event for a Japanese TV station, compellingly describes how oil company executives, environmental activists, Inupiat people, small business people, and the U.S. military boldly worked together to rescue the whales. He also tells the stories of some of the more than 150 international journalists who brought the story to the world's attention. The rescue was followed by millions of people around the world as Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev joined the forces of their two nations to help free the whales.

Editorial Reviews


"...compelling...the surprising tale of how three creatures sparked a global effort that united warring factions in sheer awe at the bulky yet graceful denizens of this stark and little-understood world." - Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Tom Rose covered the 1988 whale rescue as a reporter and producer for Japanese TV. He spent the next several months in Alaska interviewing every major player involved in both the rescue and media coverage of it. Today, Rose, the former Publisher and CEO of the Jerusalem Post, is a conservative talk show host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. He writes regularly on the Middle East and lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

A veteran of stage and screen, Peter Berkrot's career spans four decades. Highlights include feature roles in Caddyshack and Showtime's Brotherhood, and appearances on America's Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries. His voice can be heard on television, radio, video games, documentaries and industrials. Peter has recorded a number of audiobooks, including three by Peter Hessler. Other favorite titles include The Wood; English, August; The Fifth Vial; American Brutus; Better; and Some Sort of Epic Grandeur.

Product Details

  • File Size: 534 KB
  • Print Length: 335 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312625197
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Media tie-in edition (December 20, 2011)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0056DTRW8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,130 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big Disapointment March 30, 2012
Big MiracleBig Miracle by Tom Rose

My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

Big Miracle is the book that inspired the movie of the same name. I haven't seen the movie yet and couldn't find a release date for the DVD. However, from what I could gather from reading about the movie online, it differs markedly from the book. It would have to - there is no way that Drew Barrymore would star in a movie that was as cynical about environmentalism and animal welfare as author Tom Rose's book is.

This book is a non-fiction account of the 1988 rescue attempt of three California Gray whales who were trapped in the ice near Barrow, Alaska. The author was one of several reporters in Barrow covering the rescue process. What could have been a very nice story about people of all different backgrounds coming together to save the whales was ruined by the author's cynicism and the opinions he inserted as facts that didn't have much to do with the actual story.

When this book was originally published in 1989, the title was Freeing the Whales: How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-Event. Had I known that when this book was pitched to me, I would not have reviewed it. The cover of the new, movie tie-in edition reads, "Inspired by the Incredible True Story That United the World." The author did not feel that this story was incredible - at least not in a good way. He repeats often that the whales didn't need to be saved and that the amount of media coverage they received was ridiculous.

He also uses every opportunity to assert that we should be drilling for oil in Alaska and that the environmentalists have it all wrong. He offers up his opinions as facts with no footnotes or citations to back them up. In a non-fiction book, I expect to see research if opinions are inserted.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not enough focus on the whales to carry this book February 13, 2012
I find it difficult to understand why a feel-good story about a global effort to save three whales trapped in the ice would open with an extremely graphic and quite disturbing account of a whale hunt. Honestly, every time I got even the slightest bit captured by the narrative, it would abruptly break off into dry and confusing discussions of the economic plight of the Inuit, or mind-numbing details about elements of history that seemed to have no bearing on the central story that made me pick this book in the first place.

This is one book where I bet the movie is much better because it will focus on saving the whales! After spending years interviewing and researching, the author was apparently unwilling to prune out all the extraneous details to focus on the heart-warming story I assume is buried somewhere in this book. All in all, a disappointing and frustrating read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and Factual February 17, 2012
By aggie07
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was not a novel, this was a boring history paper. Instead of capturing the magic of this story, the author fills in with way too much factual data. He also introduced way too many characters that didn't have any importance in the story. He also jumped around on his time line so it was hard to keep track.

The thing I least enjoyed was he kept saying things like, "Little did Barrow, Alaska know that the biggest event in history was about to happen to them." He said that so many times, I couldn't help but think, "hurry up and get to it!"

I hope the movie is better.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal! December 30, 2011
I tremendously enjoyed the original 1989 version of this book ("Freeing the Whales") and was a bit afraid of the changes that might come with the new edition, which has a new title ("Big Miracle") and is being released with the movie of the same name. It was great to come back to this book and see that the new edition keeps all the merits of the original, with updates about the real-life characters and events.

The book has a rich depth, texture, and eye for the telling detail. It is a whale of a story (sorry, couldn't resist), really four stories that are each wonderful in their own way. One story is about three plucky and lucky whales, another about their varied rescuers, a third about the feckless and reckless media, and a fourth story about the desolate land of far north Alaska and the native Eskimos. All four stories are told with genuine affection, combined with just the right amount of bemusement, self-deprecation, and occasional cynicism. The author nicely mixes first-hand experience with historical research. The result is both charming and intellectually engaging. It is a Disney tale for grown-ups. It is Evelyn Waugh's "Scoop," only better and more real. The best non-fiction I've read in several years.

I'm looking forward to the movie, which promises to be (as it should) a much condensed Hollywood dramatization. The book should interest anyone looking for the real story, delightfully told.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Right wing propaganda, not about whales February 18, 2012
By Marisa
As an Alaskan, I thought this book would be fun story with some fascinating history of the complex interactions between whales and humans. The movie may be, I haven't seen it yet. But the author can't resist inserting his own political opinions, related or not. In the first few chapters, I learned how government has ruined the lives of Alaskan natives by trying to help them, how Alaska's population grew only because of its low tax rate, why caring about the environment is useless but makes you feel noble, and various arguments about why it's better to do as oil companies say and put up pipelines everywhere. If you are interested in whales, not Fox news garbage, skip this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars It's too bad a tree had to die so that this book could be printed.
Having watched the movie of the same name and enjoyed it, I decided that I would read this book to get the facts concerning this event. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kevin
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written
I have to agree with the majority of the critical reviews. This book is not only biased in a brutish way against environmentalism, but it is also poorly written. Read more
Published 3 months ago by jds
2.0 out of 5 stars Save the whales
Three whales are discovered trapped in the ice at the Top of the World. Video is shot and their plight appears in the newspaper. Read more
Published 3 months ago by ellison
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Movie actually better than the book
Published 4 months ago by A. Hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great product!
Published 8 months ago by Cheryl L. Prince
1.0 out of 5 stars Trigger Warning: Racism. Also, propaganda.
I got about halfway through this book but lost interest. The author's racism is really off-putting - he repeatedly refers to non-native (ie: white) people as the "cultural... Read more
Published 10 months ago by carrieliney
1.0 out of 5 stars So irritating, I couldn't even finish it.
Bought this book because I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. I am so disgusted with the book, that I lost interest in seeing the movie altogether. Read more
Published 19 months ago by renae c
1.0 out of 5 stars should be a short story
This was one of the worst books I ever read. I stuck with it only because I cared about the whales. It could have used significant editing to take out all of the useless political... Read more
Published 19 months ago by kerrosario
1.0 out of 5 stars Very sorry I bought this
After seeing the movie, I was really looking forward to reading this book. Big mistake. The author spends significant amounts of time simply bashing environmentalists and the... Read more
Published on March 2, 2013 by Susan in Iowa
5.0 out of 5 stars Miracle
Amazing! Wonderful service! Wonderful book! Got here in 2 days! Such an amazing amount of history in the book two! Love that!
Published on February 11, 2013 by Ruth Elizabeth Bisby
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