Synopses & Reviews
From one-hundred-fifty-ton barnacled Blues to the sleek, embattled Minke, whales have been hunted worldwide to near extinction. Despite efforts to halt the killing, the future of these majestic mammals-known as mind in the water”-is again in jeopardy. With passion and engaging detail, Andrew Darby profiles each species of whale and its place in this great drama. From the wooden harpoons of aboriginals in cockleshell” vessels, to the high-tech killing machines of todays lawless Russian whalers and smooth-talking Japanese scientific” crews, Darby chronicles the evolving pursuit of whales and its significance to our humanity. Fans of well-written history, as well as those fascinated by whales and the fierce international conflict surrounding them, will be swept into the very heart of whaling.
"Darby, an Australian journalist who has covered the whaling industry and the international politics of whaling since the founding of the International Whaling Commission in the early 1960s, has produced a definitive work on the past and the present of whaling. Although he does provide background material from the 19th century and earlier, his emphasis is on the 20th century industrial whaling boom, when flensing stations on shore and on ships processed dozens of whales each day. With each new technology (faster steamships, mechanical harpoons), more and more species became vulnerable-Darby, in fact, organizes his history by species, beginning with the Right Whales-and heartbreaking accounts of the killing make this excellent book a difficult read. Aside from usual suspects (the Soviet Union and Japan in the Southern Ocean), Darby finds whaling piracy in the birth of the famed Onassis family fortune. Darcy tracks international efforts to curb whaling, which have been stymied through the years by diplomatic maneuvers and outright fraud, concluding that decades of work by both ecologists and governments have still not guaranteed that any species will survive human predation; one hopes his exceptional history will act as a bulwark." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Science Books & Films, October 2008
“A very thorough study…Its style is very readable, and it makes a good story.”
Choice, December 08
“[A] disturbing, dramatic, richly researched book…Darby describes in sharp detail the story of this ongoing conflict…Highly recommended. All readers, especially students of international law, whale watchers, and concerned citizens.”
The awe-inspiring history of whales and whaling, and todays epic struggle to end the slaughter
About the Author
Andrew Darby, reporter on environmental issues and Antarctica for the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), has covered whaling, whales, and their effect on people for 20 years. He lives in Hobart, Tasmania.