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The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea by Philip Hoare
(This book is titled Leviathan, or, The Whale outside the U.S. and Canada)
The Whale is author Philip Hoare's ode to everything about the whale, its history and its affect on literature, especially Moby Dick. He visits places famous in whaling history, New Bedford, Nantucket, and the Azores, and examines the many practical uses of the whale carcass that caused man to hunt many species to the edge of extinction. They're remarkably emotional and intelligent creatures, perhaps explaining their appeal to humans for centuries. The Whale has received positive reviews with The Independent saying, "His quest to get closer to whales is physically successful but mentally less so, as he concludes that these vast and emblematic creatures of the deep are essentially unknowable to humans. Nevertheless, as a byproduct of that obsessive quest, this thoroughly engaging, rigorously researched and often revelatory book is a joy to read and one which Melville, surely, would have appreciated."