The Whale
December 6, 2019 8:52 AM - by Philip Hoare - Subscribe

From his childhood fascination with the gigantic Natural History Museum model of a blue whale, to his abiding love of Moby-Dick, to his adult encounters with the living animals in the Atlantic Ocean, the acclaimed writer Philip Hoare has been obsessed with whales. The Whale is his unforgettable and moving attempt to explain why these strange and beautiful animals exert such a powerful hold on our imagination.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (1 comment total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is a 400 page book about whales, as viewed through the eyes of the author, the life of Melville and his book Moby Dick, and the history of whaling internationally. It’s a surprisingly good book. After the first few chapters I was enjoying it but slightly worried that this book was going to be more about Philip Hoare then actual cetaceans but unlike a few books in this type of genre that was not the case. The framing actually works quite well and as the book meanders from New England to old England to the high seas to Japan and to the Azores and back, the whale and all the terrible things we have done to it comes into focus. I also like that while entirely centered on whales this book is not a polemic against man, and he’s conscious enough of indigenous whaling that he isn’t just blanket condemning that. A word of warning, the framing of this book is whaling, and whaling is described in great detail. If you have a sensitive stomach for gore and animal death, perhaps skip this one. A sobering and informative read.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:58 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

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