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Download The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea, by Philip Hoare Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (567 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Philip Hoare Narrator: Michael Page Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9781400185719
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The whale is the largest, loudest, oldest animal ever to have existed. It is improbable, amazing, and—as anyone who has seen an underwater documentary or visited the display at the American Museum of Natural History can attest—a powerful source of wonder and delight to millions. The Whale is an extraordinary journey into the world of this fascinating and mysterious animal. Acclaimed writer Philip Hoare visits the historic whale-hunting towns of New Bedford and Nantucket, wanders the streets of London and Liverpool in search of Melville's whaling inspiration, and swims with sperm whales in the middle of the Atlantic. Through the course of his journey he explores the troubled history of man and whale; traces the whale's cultural history from Jonah to Moby-Dick, Pinocchio to Free Willy; and seeks to discover why these strange and beautiful animals continue to exert such a powerful grip on our imagination. A blend of the travel and nature writing in the tradition of Jonathan Raban and John McPhee, The Whale is a gripping voyage into the heart of Hoare's obsession—and ours. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This tour de force is a sensuous biography of the great mammals that range on and under Earth’s oceans.”

    Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • [A] gracefully written exploration of why whales fascinate us. Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joel A. | 2/8/2014

    " kind of boring for such a fascinating subject because it's a lot of Hoare's ruminations about how magnificent and awesome whales are. But all that crap writing aside, this book is totally worth it for Hoare's steamy rehashing of Melville's totally pervy homoerotic whaling adventures and how he used them to seduce Hawthorne. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roland | 2/8/2014

    " Can't believe it could be as interesting as it was. Great writer. Bonus: Author weaves Herman Melville and Moby Dick into the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bookmarks Magazine | 1/30/2014

    " Hoare's obsession with whales results in a fascinating exploration of the whale's role in literature, history, travel, science, and society. In his attempt to understand the whale's ""mysterious narrative power,"" Hoare uses Moby-Dick as his touchstone, but he explores other writers' perceptions and descriptions of whales as well. He is a fascinating, quirky, compelling writer, but The Whale, though filled with scientific fact, will likely interest more literary types. A few critics commented that Hoare's fervor sometimes gets the better of him, and his anthropomorphism irked others. Above all, however, The Whale is a worthy mediation on the power of the endangered whale and the mysteries of nature. This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephen | 1/23/2014

    " A fine, if at times dispiriting meditation on the (essentially) modern history of our relationship with whales, a history that has until recently been more marked by indiscriminate slaughter than compassion or understanding. At times the book feels like a companion piece to Moby-Dick (how could it not?) and Hoare's biographical chapter on Melville is moving. Despite some reservations - Hoare seems too eager to attempt the clever turn of phrase at the expense of sustaining a cogent argument - it is a fine book, and one that fills the reader with necessary wonder. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Shawn Thrasher | 1/21/2014

    " This was too high falutin' for my taste. Too much literature and not enough whales. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Crystal | 1/17/2014

    " I could not really deal with this book. I thought I was buying an informative scientific book on whales. I thought it would clear up any misconceptions I had about these animals, teach about diet, physiology, social behavior, etc....instead I got a book that focused on the horrors of whaling and how the different species were brought to the brink of extinction. While I think this would have been an important chapter even if it was a history of all the whale species, the book was marketed as though it would be more than just this. Oh yea, and you might want to read Moby Dick before you pick this one up. The author constantly quotes the book or refers to incidents in the story....not that I didn't have the gist of that classic but I've never read it so the book made me feel a bit alienated. It took me about close to 6 weeks to get through this ...yet I normally read a book a week so it wasn't a great time for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefanie Lubkowski | 1/9/2014

    " this was an interesting, but by no means comprehensive, look at whales as seen and used by humans. Interesting, but ot as biologically or environmentally in depth as I might have liked. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 12/2/2013

    " Fascinating book about whales, but focused a lot more on the book Moby Dick and sperm whales rather than all whales. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 11/28/2013

    " Considering the subject matter (a modern-day round-the-world quest for adventure with whales), the book is surprisingly safe and only occasionally engaging. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 11/25/2013

    " Philip Hoare has an amazing passion for all things whale. A discussion of whale history, biology, culture, and even relgion written with clear parallels to Moby Dick, with Hoare as a modern day Ishmael. If you like Melville, you'll love this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Smith | 7/17/2013

    " An exquisitely done, natural and literary history of the whale. This book brings to light the human fascination with the whale while also discussing the sad side-effects of this fascination. A great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 6/6/2013

    " Fascinating information and insight into a broad range of topics related to the whale and the whale industry including history, biology, culture, industry, etc.... At points the narrative was longwinded, but definitely worth the read! Learned so much about these amazing creatures and related topics. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick Black | 2/9/2013

    " !!!excitement!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Claire | 9/14/2011

    " A random library find. Long, but stuck with it and learned a lot! Loved the combination of science, history, literature, and memoir. It even got me interested in tackling Moby Dick. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 5/4/2011

    " Really enjoyed this book - especially as I have read Moby Dick!
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christina | 3/31/2011

    " I hoped for a trove of interesting facts and ran across a couple before getting completely bogged down in what was effectively a history of Melville and Moby Dick. Whew. Gave up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ginger | 12/15/2010

    " I read this for book club and rather enjoyed it - however I left the last chapter for two weeks before I finished it and I'd fallen off the Leviathan band wagon somewhat which meant that I was all like "WHAT?" when I read it this morning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Foggygirl | 11/3/2010

    " This one started slow but I gradually got more and more into the book as the author moved away from Melville and more into the natural history of actual different species of whales. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 10/14/2010

    " Considering the subject matter (a modern-day round-the-world quest for adventure with whales), the book is surprisingly safe and only occasionally engaging. "

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