- File Size: 4290 KB
- Print Length: 282 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press (March 24, 2015)
- Publication Date: March 24, 2015
- Sold by: Macmillan
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00NKB9U9I
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,486 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$18.99|
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Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish Kindle Edition
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"You might have watched the documentary Blackfish. This is more powerful...." ―Psychology Today
“A heart-tugging look at the lives of orca whales in captivity.” ―People
“I highly recommend Beneath the Surface to readers of all ages, including those youngsters about whom Hargrove writes, who want to be just like him when he trained orcas to perform stupid and unnatural tricks. Hargrove is a very courageous man, and his book is open and honest and we should all thank him for taking the time to write it.” ―Marc Bekoff, The Huffington Post
“A story of both dread and wonderment... books such as this have the ability to shine a light into the inner workings of corporate greed and redirect efforts from selling tickets to preserving, nurturing and enhancing the orcas' lives.” ―The Huffington Post
“Elaborates on...[Blackfish's] claims but also testifies to the thrill of standing athwart four tons of muscle rushing through the water at 30 miles an hour. And, equally, the nearly mystical experience of bonding with an intelligence eerily similar to our own, yet ultimately unfathomable-and uncontrollable.” ―Smithsonian Magazine
“As Hargrove's love for and knowledge of [orcas] increased, he gradually concluded that the work he was part of at SeaWorld was harming them... Hargrove covers both the joy of his own experiences with orcas as well as the case for why such interactions in captivity should end.” ―Scientific American
“How would you cope if you felt that your life work contributed to a cause in which you no longer
believed?...Blends natural history and corporate indictment into an emotional story about a man changing sides in the argument over human domination of the animal world.” ―Booklist
“It is with this same unique amalgam of "dread and wonderment" that Hargrove characterizes both his longtime, high-ranking professional relationship with orca whales and his astonishment at how broken the performance animal arena has become--particularly at SeaWorld… A shocking, aggressively written marine park exposé.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Beneath the Surface instantly grabs the reader's attention with a vivid description of an aggressive incident between a captive orca and former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove. Clearly there is still much to reveal about the grim reality behind the 'glamorous' orca show. This firsthand account may be the final push that ends the inhumane practice of keeping the world's largest marine predator and one of the most intelligent and social mammals on the planet in concrete tanks.” ―Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D., Animal Welfare Institute
“This deeply personal look at the lives of whales in captivity will open your eyes and tug your heart. John Hargrove's work as a senior trainer at SeaWorld made him understand how we need to rethink our relationships with the animal world.” ―Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Einstein: His Life and Universe
“In Beneath the Surface, John Hargrove flawlessly unravels the trainer's dilemma of loving an animal with all your heart while working at a place that doesn't. It is as much a razor sharp indictment as it is a story of a broken heart.” ―Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director, Blackfish
“A deeply honest personal account of a man's awakening from orca trainer to orca advocate as he learned the painful truth about what lies beneath the surface of SeaWorld” ―Lori Marino, Ph.D., Researcher and Founder, The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy
“The thin veneer of SeaWorld's fantasy that the orca are happy in their tanks is peeled back in this mesmerizing and compelling book about Hargrove's work as a trainer and his journey to become one of the few speaking out against the cruelty being conducted even to this day.” ―Ingrid N. Visser, researcher and founder of the Orca Research Trust
“Hargrove takes us inside his life as a former SeaWorld devotee, his 14 years as an orca trainer, and especially his deep respect and affection for the orcas he has worked with. No short phrases can adequately summarize the personalities and idiosyncrasies of the 20 orcas he performed with and cared for, but this book gives us great insight into their piercing intelligence and keen awareness. Perhaps most interestingly, Hargrove reveals the complex emotional lives of the orcas he came to know, and how they brought out his own feelings toward them.” ―Howard Garrett, Director, The Orca Network
“Details the disturbing practices SeaWorld has become known for...Hargrove is careful to emphasize that his bond with the captive whales he spent years interacting with was real and powerful, even 'some of the deepest and most magnificent relationships I've had in my life.'” ―The Dodo
“[Hargrove has] delved deeper into the ethical issues surrounding orca captivity, convincingly making the case that these intelligent, sentient animals can only be free in the wild.” ―Nature World News
"Eye opening... a story of personal discovery, ambition, broken dreams, and hope for a better future for animals that are complex beyond our understanding, YET like humans in many ways" ―Helen Bailey, A Wild Life
About the Author
HOWARD CHUA-EOAN was News Director of TIME magazine from 2000 to 2013. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
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Sea world obviously changed their policy eventually and had many wonderful female trainers but the dark heart of the company and it's values seems to have never really changed. This book was excellent and I learned much even though I have been an interested observer over the years. The things that Sea World kept secret were worse and more toxic to the animals and the people who really cared for them than I knew or even imagined. I can only hope that sustained public opinion will make them change and create an environment that the surviving animals can thrive in.
This is a very comprehensive book about that exposes the truth about the Sea World parks from an orca trainer's POV. Said trainer John Hargrove describes how, for the longest time, he wished to become a Sea World orca trainer and the lengths to which he went to become one. Hargrove tells about the atrocious conditions the orcas are kept in at Sea World's parks and how orcas' lives differ in captivity as compared to in the wild. Hargrove also you certain facts about killer whales, such as the etymology of the words "killer whale" and "orca" as well as what the parts of an orca are called. Hargrove touches on the controversial documentary "Blackfish" and his contributions to and opinion of said documentary. Overall, Hargrove's "Beneath the Surface" is an excellent choice for anyone who wishes to know more about orcas as well as the TRUTH about Sea World's killer whales.
When we see how interested he was in the whales from a young age, and how he begged his parents to take him to the Texas Seaworld frequently as a teenager, how many questions he asked the trainers from a young age, one sees how deep his passion goes: he really does love these animals.
And he does not "trash" Seaworld at all -- it is clear how integral their presence was to his developing interests as a teen and then to his long apprenticeship as a trainer. He learned a lot and was dedicated to the whales and for years, to Seaworld too. It was the combination of the standards Seaworld had for its trainers as well as Hargrove's own passion, intelligence, and feeling for the whales that ultimately led him to conclude what he did about whales in captivity, at Seaworld and anywhere else. The point is not that Seaworld in particular is "bad," as they are probably among the most rigorous and conscientious in their treatment of the orcas, compared to other less-well funded for profit "entertainment" outfits, but that captivity is bad for the orcas, period. Not kind of bad, but very harmful to the quality of their lives. How captivity stunts them and hurts them.
Hargrove includes interviews and research by many biologists and others who've studied orcas as well. The book is genuinely well-rounded, and has much more depth than I expected. Some of this is clearly just Hargrove, who is intuitive and smart, but whose standards are high for most things, it seems, but he also had a co-writer who very likely helped make this such a good book -- it has both depth and heart -- Hargrove's love and respect for these animals is clear throughout. At first I wasn't sure I was going to like him (he seemed a little arrogant) and I thought the book might just be a capitalization on the firm, an exercise in vanity, so to speak. But it isn't -- its the real deal: a very good book, well-designed (and I mean in the choice of content and the organization of chapters) and written, presenting a very good mix of research in the field with Hargrove's extensive experience to back it up. I really enjoyed reading it and learned a lot. Highly recommended.
Top international reviews
John Hargrove's writing is honest, humble, passionate and never preachy. He tells his story unashamedly from his side, but expects the reader to make up their minds for themselves.
One of the first things we are made to realise is that there were highs as well as lows in his experiences. The way he talks about his relationship with the whales, his approach and understanding to their training needs, and the close, supportive bonds he formed with some of his colleagues might at first be surprising, but also shows that there is no zealot, extremist narrative here as might be expected.
For me, his descriptions of his relationship with a female orca named Takara are some the strongest segments of the book. When a stunt goes horribly wrong and Hargrove found himself in a 40 foot deep pool with busted ribs and soft tissue injuries, it is her, one of Sea World's strongest, smartest and toughest whales that gently gets him to safety. It is this and many other stories like it that show that there is much more to this book than just exposure and whistle blowing. The chapter dedicated to Takara, titled 'Treasure' had me anxious, on the verge of tears and cheering all at the same time.
I charged my way through this book, and couldn't put it down. Each chapter left me wanting to know more. The tragic deaths of Dawn Branchaeu and Alexis Martinez are given the respect they are due, and offer a much more fitting tribute than the implied 'human error' statements of the corporation whose whales they both worked with. They are also not lingered on nor extorted in any way.
I cannot fault this book. It was a revelation to read, just as watching Blackfish and reading Death at Sea World was too. But Beneath the Surface does something else, as it not only lends a voice to the whales of Sea World, but also gives us insight from the trainer's perspective who watched all these events unfold from the poolside. Heartily recommended.
I fervently wish that it becomes illegal for Sea World to continue and that they are forced to put the animals into sea pen retirement.
Unfortunately with the recent death of Tilikum, we know that he spent the last 7 years of his life in solitary confinement, but was still forced to perform both as a stud and as a clown. He gave years of his life to Sea World and received nothing in return.
Stop supporting this horrific place. We should not keep animals captive for our entertainment and money making greed. They have feelings and do not deserve to live in the horror that is SeaWorld.
Definitely worth a read by anyone interested in this subject or a must read for anyone in that matter. The stories are truly fascinating and the truth is hard to read knowing what these animal's have gone through.
This book follows on from the Blackfish effect of 2013 and although it doesn't offer us any new information on how badly SeaWorld treat the orcas in their care it does offer us the insight on how an orca trainer becomes broken down by SeaWorld's policies and practices concerning killer whales and as a trainer, can no longer stand by and witness the cruelty of captivity.
This book is definatley worth buying and reading.