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Whale (Reaktion Books - Animal)

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1861892461
ISBN-10: 1861892462
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A lively and lovely series. . . . This delightful series gives us animals as both alien and familiar. . . . An exhilarating, often astonishing and sometimes moving series of monographs."
(Martin Levin Globe and Mail 20060504)

"There's more to whales than watching them, and anyone who wants to should definitely get a copy of Whale by Joseph Roman. . . . A superb chronicle of the relationship between man and beast over the centuries. A must-buy."
(Magazine of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society 20060301)

"Well-written, fascinating. . . . This reader was much satisfied by this tasty book. . . . It certainly belongs in museum bookshops from New Bedford, through Sandefjord, to Grytviken. It could be a more substantive alternative to the cetological trinkets and tee shirts purveyed to modern day whale-watchers as they disembark from their brief encounters with his subjects. If such punters then read it, they might gain a respect and understanding of the variety of attitudes that different nationalities and generations have had towards large whales since they and we first interacted."

(Aquatic Mammals Journal 20061016)

"Whale is a lyrical portrait of the animals that have a special place in the hearts and minds of every sailor."
(Twain Braden Ocean Navigator 20070101)

About the Author

Joe Roman is a marine biologist who has written widely in the field of biology and cetacean studies. He lives in Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Series: Reaktion Books - Animal
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861892462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861892461
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #885,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joe Roman, a writer and conservation biologist, was born and raised in New York. (He counts King Kong as an early conservation influence.) His most recent book is "Listed: Dispatches from America's Endangered Species Act," winner of the 2012 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award. He does research and teaches at the University of Vermont. His studies have appeared in "Science," "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science," "Trends in Ecology and Evolution," and other journals. More information can be found at www.joeroman.com.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a fine book, one of the best in the "Animal" series. It's short and given the complex history of whaling and the complexities of the animals' natural history, it necessarily cannot be a deep analysis of everything. It does cover whale natural history and the sad history of whaling (perhaps best on the modern near wipeout of blue whales).

As in the other volumes in this series, much of the book looks at the interface between the animal and human culture. This includes whales in literature (yes, Jonah and Melville's Ishmael). It includes depictions of whales in paintings, and film. It looks at the whale as symbol--leviathan, for example.

The book is full of engaging information. I had no idea that one candlepower is defined as the light from a sperm whale candle one sixth of a pound burning at two grains per hour. I of course knew that whale baleen was used in ladies' garments but had no idea it went as far back as Mary Tudor's time. And this is almost to good to be true: schoolmasters used whips made from whale baleen to discipline their young scholars, hence "whaling" as an expression. Sad for the kids, but interesting for the language.

If you are interested in whales but not in literature, skip the book. If you are interested in whales both as animals and as ideas, buy it and buy it now.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This well-written and obviously meticulously researched book must be the finest work on the subject since MOBY DICK.

Scholarly, yet very readable!
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I bought this book because I heard Joe Roman speak at a conference about the Endangered Species Act recently. He was an excellent, informative speaker, so I wanted to get a sense of his writing style. I had just finished reading Moby Dick, so I decided to buy Whale. Frankly, I preferred Moby Dick, but maybe it is just me.
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