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Publisher's Summary

The 2017 Science Writers and Communicators of Canada award for "best general audience book” and was short-listed for the 2017 Hubert Evans Prize.
The fascinating and heartbreaking account of the first publicly exhibited captive killer whale — a story that forever changed the way we see orcas and sparked the movement to save them.
Killer whales had always been seen as bloodthirsty sea monsters. That all changed when a young killer whale was captured off the west coast of North America and displayed to the public in 1964. Moby Doll — as the whale became known — was an instant celebrity, drawing 20,000 visitors on the one and only day he was exhibited. He died within a few months, but his famous gentleness sparked a worldwide crusade that transformed how people understood and appreciated orcas. Because of Moby Doll, we stopped fearing “killers” and grew to love and respect “orcas.”
©2016 Mark Leiren-Young (P)2017 Mark Leiren-Young
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Erica Waclawski on 03-09-18


I love anything that has to do with orcas. This book was so interesting, informative and enticing. The narrator had such a soothing voice, I was engaged the whole time. You could tell the author really did his research. Some of this got truly sad and dark, then there were amazing bits where you could sense the love people had for these beautiful animals. I’m so glad I decided to read this. If you want to learn more about orcas I suggest this book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Colin Heath on 07-25-17

Couldn't put it down.

What made the experience of listening to The Killer Whale Who Changed the World the most enjoyable?

With humour and pathos, Mark puts us in the mind of the orcas. With his muckrakers precision he documents the first contact between humans and this amazing species.

Which character – as performed by Mark Leiren-Young – was your favorite?

Moby Doll, the first orca displayed in captivity.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Orcas and humans - first contact

Any additional comments?

Mark's reading of his own work is precise and entertaining. He tells the suspenseful narrative with panache, wit and a journalists attention to facts.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Dallas Winston 9 on 01-04-18

Fascinating from the first sentence.

If you could sum up The Killer Whale Who Changed the World in three words, what would they be?

Mind-blowingly interesting.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Killer Whale Who Changed the World?

There are countless interesting and memorable moments. This book is full of antidotes and facts,(the subject of Moby Doll it is not only phenomenally researched but the book is entertaining) to pick one moment would be unfair and would misrepresent the scale this book covers. This book covers multiple aspects of killer whales/Orcas, the biology and the evolution of the social perception, all in an engaging and entertaining way.

What about Mark Leiren-Young’s performance did you like?

Mark Leiden-Young is the author of The Killer Whale Who Changed The World. For me, there could be no one better to read this book, he clearly knows his subject inside out. There is the sense of the personal touch to his narration that gave it a degree of originality.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I found the friendships between the Humans and Orcas to be particularly touching.

Any additional comments?

I bought this audiobook on a whim. By the end I felt emotionally attached to some of the characters involved human and non-human. My wife had to tell me to stop talking about it all. I think Mark Leiren-Young achieved something special. The book contains information and passion and was a true pleasure to listen too.

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