Gone A-Whaling: The Lure of the Sea and the Hunt for the Great Whale

Gone A-Whaling: The Lure of the Sea and the Hunt for the Great Whale

by Jim Murphy


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In the early days of whaling, whales were plentiful and it seemed that they would always fill the sea. When people realized how much money could be made from whales in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, entire species were wiped out in the rush to hunt these gentle and magnificent creatures. This account is an even-handed portrayal of the exciting, grisly, and sometimes profitable business of pelagic whaling, told from the perspective of young whalers through their detailed journal entries and letters. Glossary, bibliography,index.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618432431
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/24/2004
Edition description: None
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range: 12 - 13 Years

About the Author

Jim Murphy's nonfiction books have received numerous awards, among them the Sibert Medal, three Orbis Pictus awards, the Margaret A. Edwards award, and two Newbery Honors. Jim also was a finalist for the National Book Award. Born and raised in New Jersey, Jim lives in Maplewood, NJ, with his family.

Table of Contents

1.Enticed by the Riches9
2.So We Were All Soon Aboard21
3.Work Like Horses and Live Like Pigs35
4.It All Seems So Strange51
5.Nothing So Electrifying69
6.A Foot of Oil on Deck85
7.A Strange Uneven Sort of Life101
8.We Have Been Stove by a Whale121
9.Homeward Bound!!!!!!137
10.The Great Killing151
11.The New Whale Hunters171
Bibliography and Sources193
Whale Conservation & Research Organizations201
Acknowledgments & Picture Credits203

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A lively, engaging, and well-researched book. . . . Numerous black- and-white drawings and paintings from the early days and actual photographs of more recent times add immediacy and authenticity. . . . With its attractive layout, decorative chapter headings, and clear readable text, GONE A-WHALING is as inviting as it is interesting and informative."

School Library Journal, Starred

"Whaling was a young man's game, or rather a young boy's. Using a variety of sources, Murphy makes it plain that the crews of whalers included a substantial number of youths barely out of childhood. Although presented from their perspective, the book is more than a collection of biographical vignettes. It is a substantive examination of the history of whaling, the socio-economic forces that supported it, the pro-cess by which whales were transformed into salable commodities-from oil to corset stays-and, finally, the environmental impact of reckless commercialism as technology increased the hunters' success. In this context, Murphy offers proof of the innate cruelty of the whale hunt, refutes legends of the whale's evil intent and vengeful nature-including that icon of American literature, Moby Dick-and comments on the decimation of many species through lack of regulation even today. Details of life aboard a whaler, including the ethnic composition of the crews, the role of the captains, families, and the development of the art of scrimshaw, add color and drama. The concluding chapter takes the reader into the twentieth century where cameras substitute for harpoons as spectators join whale watching expeditions. The book is enhanced by drawings, engravings, and photographs, and also features information about specific types of whales in boxed inserts. The appended bibliography is substantial, drawing on a variety of sources." Horn Book

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