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Orca: The Whale Called Killer Paperback – May 1, 1990

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

An intensely personal account....Scientific, political, and historical details are woven into a highly readable narrative...thorough appendixes, lengthy bibliography. Recommended. (Library Journal)

Superb ... A fine story of adventure ... One of the best nature books of the year. (Publishers Weekly)

There is nothing wildlife needs more urgently than truth, for once people understand, people will act with preserved habitat, protective legislation, the tools of conservation. Erich Hoyt tells the truth about the orca in his fascinating book Orca: The Whale Called Killer. It is in itself a conservation tool. Required reading. (Roger Caras ABC-TV News)

A fine record of observations accumulated by patience and cautious persistence...presented somewhat in diary form of the summers with the whales, and interwoven with facts....The result is a well-compounded blend of close-up nature observation, scientific knowledge, and history. Bonuses are interesting asides on the scenery and wildlife, the lumbering, salmon fishing, and the local flavor of northern Vancouver Island. Hoyt's theme is preserve killer whales in their natural environment. He makes a good argument for it. (Elizabeth N. Shor, Scripps Institute of Oceanograp San Diego Union Tribune)

An enchanting story of adventure and discovery, one told with style, insight, charm and thoroughness. (Akron Beacon Journal)

I have never read a better book on whales, partly because Hoyt writes so well ... The developing relationship between the whale-watchers and these magnificent mammals makes absorbing reading ... The book contains valuable scientific and historical appendixes and an excellent index ... Don't miss it! (Philadelphia Inquirer)

An engaging picture of the life of killer whales ... Hoyt's style is easygoing and comfortable, and as well organized as it is informative. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

A well-written, balanced account ... interspersed in the story are excellent summaries of our current knowledge about orca attacks, feeding behavior and hearing acuity. Aside from maps and photos, 8 well-referenced appendixes and a 14-page bibliography make it an important reference source for scientists. (Edward Mitchell, Arctic Biological Station [Canada Canadian Geographic)

Monumental achievement...the best whale book in years. (Ronn Patterson Oceans)

About the Author

Erich Hoyt has spent much of his life on, beneath or near the sea, working with whales and dolphins and marine conservation. The acclaimed author of Creatures of the Deep, Meeting the Whales, Riding With the Dolphins, The Earth Dwellers and Insect Lives, Hoyt lives in Scotland.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Camden House; Revised edition (May 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0920656250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0920656259
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is by far the best book on orca that is out there so far. Informative, enthralling and captivating. If you are not already an orca lover you will be after this...and you will want more...for Erich and friends to report the latest. I have read it three times...and continue to go back and re-read and highlight sections. This book also has appendix containing interesting info on captive whales all over the world. I just wish Hoyt would update soon!
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Format: Paperback
This is my absolute favorite book on orcas. I have read it three times. I bought it years ago at the Vancouver Aquarium while visiting the whales in the area and never tire of re-reading it. One of the the things I like are the appendices which list data on the whales. I wish Erich Hoyt would write a second volume or update it again! If you love orcas you will love this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being that this book was updated I wish Erich Hoyt had used the official pod numbers and/or names of the orca he spent a few summers with. Although the book was initially written when Michael Bigg was working on identification via dorsal fins and saddle patches by now it would be nice to know if the twins he is so fond of are Nimpkish and Blackney or someone else. He names a few like Stubbs, Nicola, Sturdy, and Top Notch. Otherwise it's an enjoyable read about summers spent trying to film wild orca, mostly members of the Northern Resident A pod, earn their trust, and trying to understand who they are. It was still early in our understanding of orca, trying to protect their habitats, and making discoveries out uniquely Northern Resident things such as the rubbing beach.

Fans of Orky and Corky from Marineland of the Pacific will find touching tidbits about his role in caring for their calves. I don't agree with the observation that captivity makes an orca crazy or that after awhile they don't like to be touched or ridden. Until the 2010 ban most of SeaWorld's orca did water works and some like the first Baby Shamu Kalina enjoyed human touch.

The tables at the end are helpful, especially with tracing the captures of wild orca and where they went and the captive born up until publication but there again some names seem to be missing. There are several Baby Shamus listed by number so you need to reference birth dates and places to figure who is Orkid, Katerina*, Kayla and so on.
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Format: Paperback
I am an avid orca lover and this book was amazing. I was astonished by some of the stories I read. If you like orcas, you will love this book. It is very informational and quite entertaining. I highly reccommend this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been obsessed with killer whales for some time now and I thought reading this book would expand my knowledge on these majestic animals and it definitely did. A must read if you love and adore these animals !
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A nice read about the early days of orca science and observation.
There are more recent books on orcas but this one was afine place to start.
Definitely recommended for wildlife enthusiasts.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In his study. Orca, the Whale Called Killer, Erich Hoyt provides a first class introduction to this charming but, until recently, little known, beautiful mammal. Through the entries of the journal of his expedition on the coast of Vancouver Island in the 1970s, he offers a detailed account of his first meeting with orcas, his experiments in recording their language, his checking their complex system of echolocation,and his being appalled by the socially developed behavior and the familiar habits of these stunning animals. It is a rare document whose flavor does not fade with the years. I have read many contemporary books on the subject, and find Hoyt's still charming, scientifically sound and intriguing as a work of fiction. For those who are interested in the life of animals and the beauty of nature this book is a must.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. Thorough, in-depth, fascinating. Erich Hoyt explores the world of the Orca in tremendous detail, but the book is never dull. Hoyt covers his subject like a scientist, but has a gift for storytelling as well. There's plenty of action. "Orca" is about people, too-- how human perception re: these creatures has dramatically changed. 40-50 years ago Orcas were considered dangerous, indiscriminate killers. A menace. Hoyt explains how careful, painstaking research gradually helped paint a different picture; of a playful and extraordinarily intelligent mammal. Highly recommend.
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