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The uniqueness of this book – combining historical, biological and personal narrative – also makes it a bit hard to follow, especially as an audiobook. In the printed version, quotes from Melville and others are set off from the rest of the text, making them easier to distinguish (or skip), and there are also dozens of illustrations and historical photographs that illuminate the stories. Reduced to a single audio narrative, it loses focus. I also think the narrator is somewhat miscast.
The writing itself is very good, and covers a huge amount of research and reference. Whales are portrayed in language poetic, wondrous, surprising, and occasionally profane (sensitive ears be warned!) You can see the author's inquisitive mind at work as he tries to uncover the essence of these creatures. Unfortunately the journey takes us in so many directions, readers may feel like those whalers at sea, weary from the long periods between actual whale sightings.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I'm a geek and would like a lot more facts. There are some in this book, but they are heavily diluted by "Whales are really awesome." "Whale are big. Really big." "Let me use some great poetic language to tell you that whales are really amazing animals." "Whales are awe inspiring." (Ok, those aren't real quotes, but they're my take-away from the book. It all depends on what you're looking for in a book.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful