Metascience 23 (2):381-384 (2014)

Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851) may have set the lengthy standard for books treating whales, but D. Graham Burnett has more than matched that standard with his hefty, almost eight-hundred page tome, The Sounding of the Whale. The requisite explanatory subtitle specifies the author’s intent to write the history of what he refers to as “whale science” spanning the twentieth century. The book divides rather naturally into three complementary sections. The opening two chapters discuss early conservation efforts aimed at managing the whale industry. Next, two more chapters investigate the formation of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). A final chapter argues that dolphin research in the 1960s and 1970s led to the strident environmental concerns of the late twentieth century, including the drive to “save the whale” (the five chapters are bracketed by a lengthy introduction and conclusion).The most compelling features of Burnett’s book are delivered in the first four chapters. As ..
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DOI 10.1007/s11016-013-9849-4
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