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Big Miracle Paperback – December 20, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Media Tie-In edition (December 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780312625191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312625191
  • ASIN: 0312625197
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,140,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...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 the media coverage of it. Today, Rose, the former publisher and CEO of The Jerusalem Post, cohosts the Bauer & Rose show on Sirius/XM satellite radio. He writes and comments regularly on  American and Middle East politics. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.


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Customer Reviews

I haven't seen the movie yet and couldn't find a release date for the DVD.
Rachel McElhany
My biggest gripe with the book, however, is the author's extreme bias against environmentalists, and his very right-wing point of view.
Eric B. Norris
It's also quite clear that this author doesn't think much of the reader, as he has a seriously condescending and know-it-all attitude.
orange book chick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rachel McElhany VINE VOICE on March 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
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 By aggie07 on February 17, 2012
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 By RaDadIndy VINE VOICE on December 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Quinn on February 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
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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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Marisa on February 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
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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