The Whale

The Whale by Philip Hoare was part Herman Melville biography, part commentary/critique of Moby-Dick, part history of whaling, and part description of whale species.  It was very enjoyable and readable book, except perhaps the description of whale butchering.  I was distressed to learn about 20th century whaling techniques.  It feels a little wrong to Japan bash right now, but their whaling tradition apparently didn’t really start until the 20th century.  They have not really followed the moratorium on whaling that the rest of the world does.  I really liked the description of the author in a wet suit diving off the Azores hoping to see whales.   He was right in the blind spot of a whale that was swimming right towards him very quickly.  The author felt probably the same way you feel when a great drum corps matches past in a parade, the thrum you feel in your whole body,  when the whale used sonar to see him.

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