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Download The Grandest of Lives: Eye to Eye with Whales epub

by Douglas H. Chadwick

The largest creatures ever to inhabit the Earth, whales have long inspired awe in humans. But because they spend virtually all of their time beneath the ocean surface, little has been known about their lives. Now, with advances in technology, new facts and stunning discoveries are coming to light about these magnificent mammals. In The Grandest of Lives, wildlife biologist Douglas H. Chadwick takes readers inside the world of modern-day scientific whale observation, from gathering data to weathering storms to spirited scientific debate. Chadwick, who has followed and reported on whales for more than a decade, paints detailed portraits of five species — the humpback, northern bottlenose, blue whale, minke whale, and orca — that represent a cross-section of the forms and behaviors of cetaceans worldwide. All move seamlessly between natural history and more personal observations, vividly expressing Chadwick’s fondness and admiration for these amazing creatures, as well as the sheer joy of being among them.
Download The Grandest of Lives: Eye to Eye with Whales epub
ISBN: 1578051479
ISBN13: 978-1578051472
Category: Science
Subcategory: Biological Sciences
Author: Douglas H. Chadwick
Language: English
Publisher: Counterpoint; First Trade Paper Edition edition (March 10, 2008)
Pages: 288 pages
ePUB size: 1124 kb
FB2 size: 1617 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 658
Other Formats: azw mobi doc lit

I concur with the previous reviewers: this is a very special book. It is filled with information about an exceptionally interesting group of animals, and is also exceptionally successful at conveying the visceral excitement one feels during encounters with whales. This is something I have never tired of, after many dozens of whale watching trips, and I expect to re-read passages in this book many times. The book is beautifully written and gives sheer pleasure from that perspective as well.

I would also highly recommend Roger Payne's "Among Whales", a book more clearly written from a research scientist's perspective but in a way that is still highly accessible to non-specialists.
A fascinating book on the whales he's studied. A must for every whale lover. I love Doug Chadwick's writings and National Geographic articles.... whether it's about whales or tigers or wolverines or any living creature he chooses.
Excellent book - well written
This is a great book...another eye opener to how many humans don't give credit to animals.
Great book written with wit and passion. You feel part of the stories and get to admire and appreciate the whales and the people around them.
This book is rated correctly and is an interesting read. However, I wish it had a few more pictures and wa about more than just a few species of wales.
The Grandest of Lives: Eye to Eye with Whales (2006) was a pretty good read. It consists of an introduction and five chapters, each one about a species of whale (humpback, killer, northern bottlenose, minke, and blue). Chadwick gives a sort of travel narrative of all the whale watching expeditions he took with scientists and photographers, providing interesting anecdotes in between (he does have the annoying habit though of never providing any dates). Unfortunately, he also wrote National Geographic articles on several of these species, which often results in him relating the same stories or anecdotes - sometimes word for word - that were included in those same articles. Although most of his writing is pretty easy going, he sometimes resorts to that overly flowery language that plagues NatGeo articles. There were several inaccuracies or exaggerations as well. For example, he claimed that in the 1964-65 season fifteen expeditions were able to find only twenty blue whales to kill in the entire Southern Hemisphere, when really that was the number caught by pelagic expeditions that mainly operated in the sub-antarctic where they concentrated on fin and sei whales, far to the north of the pack ice where blues were often caught. He also failed to mention the 450 or so blues taken by Chile and Peru that same season. As another example, he stated that Soviets failed to report tens of thousands of blue whales they killed in the Southern Hemisphere. They really only didn't report about 8,000, all pygmy blues - he must have confused blues with humpbacks, as the Soviets only reported taking about 2,700, when they in fact caught over 48,000. Besides some mistakes like these, I still very much enjoyed this book. I learned enough new things to take down several pages of notes. As others have complained though, photos would have been nice, but I guess you could just get copies of his NatGeo articles for that.
When I was very young (about five years old) in addition to insects I was in love with sea monsters- squid, octopi, manta rays, sharks and of course whales. What fascinating creatures! After I became a biologist, specializing in arthropods, I sill found sea life of major interest and so it was that I joined a whale-watching cruise to the Coronados Island off Tijuana, Baja California, that was offered as a side trip after a scientific meeting in San Diego. It was a great experience (we saw about 2 dozen gray whales, including one pod that swam right by us in the late afternoon). Until now I have been generally disappointed with books on the subject of whales as they somehow did not seem to capture the real experience of seeing a whale in real life and in the process express the actual atmosphere of it all.

Douglas Chadwick has changed all that. His book "The Grandest of Lives: Eye to Eye With Whales" is a labor of love and it shows. His descriptions of experiences with, and the biology of, five examples of the Cetacea- the blue whale, the humpbacked whale, the orca, the minke whale and the northern bottlenose whale are golden! He captures the whales, their environment, and the people who study whales, so that you can almost catch the smell of the sea and the cries of sea birds. Most importantly he explores the mysterious lives of his subjects in a way I have seldom seen in any book. This is the next best thing to actually going out on a whale watch and a excellent read in preparation for going out to sea or after you have returned.

Chadwick also investigates the "scientific whaling" industry in which whales are "harvested" for "scientific research" by some of the countries who are members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The meat usually ends up on store shelves, sometimes including meat from species that are not even allowed to be taken for "science." He is pretty accurate in his observations and presents the views of the people who are involved in whaling as well as the reasons against such practices. This activity, along with overfishing of other marine organisms, and pollution and bycatch problems, is rapidly leading to the depletion of ocean life in some areas. However, whales are increasing in numbers along the Pacific coast of the United States and Mexico and a few other places where the whales are better protected.

Whales are wonderful creatures and if, after you have read this book, you are not impressed by them and the need to protect them I would be very surprised. These are indeed, the grandest of lives!