Whale Adventure

Bookshelf: Whale Adventure

Whale Adventure – Willard Price

Whale Adventure
Whale Adventure

I’d forgotten how horrifying this book is – perhaps not intentionally, as it’s written for kids, but because of its subject matter and the glib way in which it is presented.

The intrepid Hunt brothers go on a three week cruise with an old fashioned whaler. The book was published in 1960, and Price asserts that 30,000 whales per year were being taken at that stage.

The descriptions of the old fashioned whaler are probably quite accurate – I’m not sure – and the brutality of the whales’ deaths is shocking. The modern whaling vessels that the Hunt brothers end up on towards the end of the book are highly industrialised, and the harpoons are more sophisticated.

Only twice do the characters experience remorse at what they are doing – killing a whale. Once is when Hal hears the whale’s voice. True to form, Willard Price demonises the whales most of the time, depicting them as malevolent “brutes” and “monsters” as he did with the marine life in Underwater Adventure. This is convenient, when you’re killing them. Recognising their intelligence and majesty would bring up all sorts of awkward thoughts as one readied the harpoon!

For a view of whaling, whales, and what they are good for, read the quote from Sylvia Earle in this post.

The book is available here in South Africa, otherwise go here if you’re foreign.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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