The Great Sperm Whale: A Natural History of the Ocean's Most Magnificent and Mysterious Creature

The Great Sperm Whale A Natural History of the Ocean s Most Magnificent and Mysterious Creature Over the past several decades Richard Ellis has produced a remarkable body of work that has been called magnificent Washington Post Book World masterful Scientific American magical Men s Journal

  • Title: The Great Sperm Whale: A Natural History of the Ocean's Most Magnificent and Mysterious Creature
  • Author: Richard Ellis
  • ISBN: 9780700617722
  • Page: 305
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Over the past several decades, Richard Ellis has produced a remarkable body of work that has been called magnificent Washington Post Book World , masterful Scientific American , magical Men s Journal , and a dazzling tour de force Christian Science Monitor Ellis s new book a fascinating tour through the world of the sperm whale will surely inspire suchOver the past several decades, Richard Ellis has produced a remarkable body of work that has been called magnificent Washington Post Book World , masterful Scientific American , magical Men s Journal , and a dazzling tour de force Christian Science Monitor Ellis s new book a fascinating tour through the world of the sperm whale will surely inspire such praise for the author heralded by Publisher Weekly as America s foremost writer on marine research Written with Ellis s deep knowledge and trademark passion, verve, and wit and illustrated with a wide array of images including his own signature artwork his study covers the full spectrum of the sperm whale s existence from its prehistoric past to its current endangered existence Ellis, as no one else can, illuminates the iconic impact of Physeter macrocephalus big headed blower on our history, environment, and culture, with a substantial nod to Herman Melville and Moby Dick, the great novel that put the sperm whale and whaling on the literary map.Ranging far and wide, Ellis covers the sperm whale s evolution, ecology, biology, anatomy, behavior, social organization, intelligence, communications, migrations, diet, and breeding He also devotes considerable space to the whale s hunting prowess, including its clashes with the giant squid, and to the history of the whaling industry that decimated its numbers during the last two centuries He even includes a story about a beached juvenile he helped rescue, an event that provided scientists with one of their first opportunities to observe a sperm whale in the water and up close.Offering a rich tapestry for anyone with an interest in the marvels of ocean life, Ellis s book provides an indispensable guide to the life and times of one of the planet s most intelligent, elusive, and endangered species.

    One thought on “The Great Sperm Whale: A Natural History of the Ocean's Most Magnificent and Mysterious Creature”

    1. I'm really not sure how to review this book. Those familiar with Richard Ellis' books will know what to expect, more or less, but those looking for a general marine mammal natural history might be a little surprised.Richard Ellis writes books that tend to be strings of facts, with little impressionistic embellishment, and I enjoy books like this. His books which deal with multiple species, such as The Empty Sea and Aquagenesis generally follow taxonomic relations in their progressions from speci [...]

    2. For someone who is really interested in whales, marine biology, or the subject of whaling, this book is an excellent choice for you to read. If those subjects aren't really something you care about, then I'd suggest you pass this one by. Richard Ellis goes into intense depth and detail on the subject of sperm whales, their history in whaling, and how little we actually know about them. It was actually quite an inspiring book, and also extremely frustrating. I myself grew quite unsettled and ange [...]

    3. People often refer to something as "a whale of a (something-or-other)" when discussing superlative matters. This is because whales are fucking awesome, and no whale is more fucking awesome than the sperm whale. What we have here, conveniently, is a "whale of a book", if I may, on this crazy-unknown animal. Seriously: we know jack-shit about this animal. Yes, yes, yes, try my patience with your stupid excuses for not reading Moby Dick and pretending that you have: "Oh, yeah, man, Moby Dick was a [...]

    4. I really enjoyed this. It only took so long because I read it at work, on breaks!This book was very rewarding, and should be of interest to anyone who has read Moby-Dick. The first, rather long, chapter is about Melville and Moby-Dick and how that most important novel has shaped the public persona of the sperm whale for 160 years. Artist Richard Ellis does a fantastic job with this first "natural history" of Physeter macrocephalus, along with many of his kin -- and a lot of his mealfish. Include [...]

    5. The sperm whale is the most elusive of whales, and Richard Ellis brings us a wonderful book full of the facts that we currently know about them. Topics in the book include the evolutionary family tree of the sperm whale, lifecycle, feeding and mating habits, and a detailed history of their interaction with humans. Unfortunately, the book seems to have been written in one fell swoop with little editing; repetition abounds and whole sentences and even paragraphs seem to be copied and pasted from c [...]

    6. The Great Sperm Whale: A Natural History of the Ocean's Most Magnificent and Mysterious Creature by Richard Ellis (University Press of Kansas 2011)(599.547) is a fine book for one who seeks to increase his knowledge of what may be the wisest beings on our planet. It reads at times like a novel, yet it is densely packed with interesting and often arcane information. I highly recommend this one! My rating: 8/10, finished 11/15/11.

    7. A truly interesting and engaging work. Ellis does a brilliant job helping all of us understand this complex and impressive mammal in terms beyond the strictly scientific. Ellis proves himself to be as good a storyteller as he is a scientist so this effort is just what anyone who is interested in sperm whales could ask. Informative!

    8. To be fair, I did not read this book completely; I did a "solid browsing." I was not compelled to a closer reading but I certainly do believe that there is an audience for this book who would really enjoy it. I do recommend this book for the right reader. If you are fascinated by whales in general and the sperm whale in particular, by all means, read this book.

    9. Richard Ellis sure does love Moby-Dick. If you've read his other books on whales, the chapter on Melville will be a bit repetitive. But overall I really enjoyed this, even if it sometimes gets frustrating that most of what we know about whales is still stuff we learned from killing them.

    10. A fantastic history and natural history of one of the greatest carnivores this side of Tyrannosaurus Rex! Here's my full review at Open Letters:openlettersmonthly/boo

    11. Good for Moby Dick fans. Nice study of the biology and mysteries of Sperm Whales. Might be more info than most people WANT, though. Keeps your attention if you're into the subject.

    12. Brilliant and epic! Absolutely loved it. Chapters well thought out so easy to refer back to. I'm a big Richard Ellis fan now :)

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