Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Factual yet poetic story of whaling and whales
on April 11, 2010
I bought this book because it covered the whaling industry from a broad perspective. Some reviewers have complained that it is not a biology textbook about whales. This is true. What it is a very literary, easy to read, yet fact filled musing about the whole subject of whales and whaling. There is not any overly emotional, hand wringing or politicization of the subject, yet the author does not shrink from problematic areas such as the of using intelligent living beings as a source of renewable energy, margarine or lipstick and corsets. Yet humans can find good use for any thing that is present in large quantities. Unfortunately for whales, they got caught in human's leviathan industrialization.
The great thing about this book is that it also seamlessly blends in so many strands of thought, such as the love and awe of the sea, of ships and sailors, of the fishing industry, of American and World history and always in the background is Moby Dick, Ishmael, Melville, Captain Ahab, and other iconic characters and locations. I have never read the Moby Dick, but you don't have to if you have any appreciation for any the world of the sea.