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The Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  386 ratings  ·  73 reviews
For the crew of the eco-pirate ship the Farley Mowat, any day saving a whale is a good day to die. In "The Whale Warriors," veteran adventure writer Peter Heller takes us on a hair-raising journey with a vigilante crew on their mission to stop illegal Japanese whaling in the stormy, remote seas off the forbidding shores of Antarctica. The Farley is the flagship of the Sea ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 18th 2007 by Free Press (first published 2007)
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Eric_W
This is a sobering book. The devastation wrecked on the world’s fisheries is extraordinary. 90% of the predatory fish, so essential to a healthy ecosystem, have been destroyed or fished out since 1950. Traditional food fish have all but disappeared. If we had any sense, we’d stop eating fish immediately. So what to do. Paul Watson says, save the whales.

The modern method of killing whales is barbaric and should be stopped. How that should be accomplished is partly the subject of this book. Techni
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William
My first introduction to Captain Paul Watson was in the documentary Shark Waters. In that situation I thought he came off as very heroic. After that I saw the Animal Planet series about the Sea Shepherd and I began to see the captain and crew in more of a critical light. This book led me towards more mixed feelings about Sea Shepherd.
I should start by saying that because they are preventing whales from being slaughtered I think they are doing something that is extremely important and I’m very t
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Paul Pessolano
This book will be of great interest to those of us who are into ecology, saving the dying species, and saving the world. Most of us know about "Greenpeace" and what they do, but how many of us are aware of Sea Shepard Conservation Society. The Sea Shepard Group make Greenpeace look like a knitting society. This group has no qualms about ramming a whaling ship or fouling its propeller with chain links.

"The Whale Warriors" tell about how difficult and expensive it is for the Sea Shepard Group to p
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Christie
At the bottom of the globe near Antarctica, there is a battle going on between Japanese whalers and activists (eco-pirates) who are trying to save the wales. The Farley, captained by Paul Watson who runs the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is out to stop whaling for good, by any means necessary. While whaling is mostly illegal, the Japanese get around the laws by saying they are doing it for research.

Fighting to stop whaling is part waiting (it can take weeks to find the ships), and part high
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Liza
Aug 11, 2009 Liza rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who appreciate the ocean
It is difficult to review a book about a subject which one feels conflicted yet passionate about. Do I merely critique the writing? I don't think I can do that. The author, Peter Heller, is a journalist for Outside and a contributor to NPR, and besides that he lives in Denver, so you know which side of nature the man is on. Yes, he may be conflicted about Sea Shepherd as an organization, but he obviously wants to save the whales and the oceans and any attempt by Heller to seem objective was met ...more
Rob
My introduction to Peter Heller (once I realized he wasn't Robocop actor Peter Weller) was his recent interview on Fresh Air to talk about his first novel. I'm sure I'll read it as I eat up post-apocalyptic novels, but I was more fascinated to hear about his work as an outdoor adventure writer. I've read little in this genre, but after hearing him I put everything he wrote on hold at the library. I was excited to learn that he wrote a book about Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherds, whom I was fasc ...more
Melissa Hefferlin
I have never thought much about whales, except for a vague notion that they are large and that they may be endangered. I found this book life altering. The story was written with a great deal of restraint, which just made the factual material more astonishing. I kept with it to the end, swooshing the pages long into the night. Really, really good. I had to buy all his other books.
Julie
You will never eat fish again, but I already knew this. SAVE THE OCEANS
Kate Mollohan
I loved Heller's first novel, The Dog Stars, and was excited to see that he has several non-fiction books, including The Whale Warriors. I have seen segment from the Animal Planet show that featured these eponymous warriors, and would not have otherwise picked up a book about them, given what I saw. I thought I should give it a try, and was instantly engaged. I know some of it had to do with the writing, but it could have also been about the subject matter (the whales themselves, the most mega o ...more
Sarah
Apr 13, 2008 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Captain Ahab, Moby Dick, and fans of either
Shelves: nature, 2008
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society seem to be doing what few others are: intervening on behalf of the living creatures of the ocean. I first encountered the insane but dedicated Captain Paul Watson in the movie version of Sharkwater and was in awe of all that Sea Shepherd gets up to. The Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals is a polemic adventure story and an important objective description of one of Sea Shepherd's anti-whaling campaigns in ...more
Juha
Jan 15, 2012 Juha rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
Shelves: environment, japan
As Japan is again continuing its whaling in the Antarctic waters against international law and the world's public opinion, this book describing the winter 2005-2006 campaign by Sea Shepherd is very timely. On January 9th under cover of darkness, three Australian Sea Shepherd activists managed to board the Japanese harpoon ship Shonan Maru No. 2 when it was just 26 km off the Australian west coast. The Japanese proceeded to arrest the environmentalists and took them to Tokyo, where a court releas ...more
Kristen
At first I wasn't too into this book and found the writer's description of the ecowarriors a bit corney, but as the story progressed and the writer informed us more about the state of our oceans and the survival of whales, i had a hard time putting it down. depressing stuff. it's sad there is not more outcry against whaling-all nations that still whale are progressive and wealthy nations, they have no excuse except to profit and be greedy.( norway, japan and iceland.)no one needs to eat whale an ...more
Eugene
the bad guys here are the japanese whalers who, flagrantly defying an international moratorium, go out each year to slaughter endangered whales. no nation wants to confront the japanese. greenpeace will go out and non violently bear witness but won't actively engage the whalers.

enter our heroes: the sea shepherd conservation society and captain paul watson (the controversial co-founder of greenpeace who has since become the malcolm x to their mlk). in their battle-configured vessel, and flying
...more
Elena
L'argomento è davvero interessante, e per questo il libro aveva preso inizialmente 4 stelle. Consiglio a chi lo vuole leggere di prenderlo in lingua originale, perché la traduzione italiana fa davvero schifo. Mi chiedo dove prendano queste persone che arrancano per mettere insieme una frase, che poi in realtà devi rileggere più di una volta perché, a un certo punto, ti fermi e ti chiedi "ma scusa, ma che cazzo ho letto??!!".
Peccato, perché se il testo scorresse in una lingua italiana decente e n
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Kim Stallwood
I recognize that it takes all sorts to make up the folks who constitute the animal rights movement. Among them are the celebrated heroes and villains and those who go about their work unsung but live forever in the hearts of the animals they’ve helped. Each one is unique – yes, that’s a cliché – but some (to mangle a phrase) are more unique than others. One such activist who is truly unique is Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Fund.

Watson, a much admired figure in the animal rights movemen
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Elizabeth
Whether you agree with what they are doing or how they are doing it, you have to admire them for their dedication to their cause. This book chronicles the Sea Shepherds as they seek to disrupt and thus end the Japanese "scientific/commercial" whaling. Their tactics are extreme, some would say dangerous. They seek to intervene rather than just observe. Whether you like this book or not depends on how you feel about extreme environmentalism. If you believe these whales need to be protected by any ...more
David Bales
Pretty thrilling and suspenseful book about the "Sea Shepherd" group of eco-warriors led by Captain Paul Watson, one of the original founders of Greenpeace, who found Greenpeace's methods of stopping whaling inadequate. Heller goes along on an anti-whaling voyage of the Sea Shepherd's flagship "Farley Mowat" to the Southern Ocean off Antarctica to confront with direct action Japanese whalers operating in Australia's Antarctic whale refuge. While Sea Shepherd is by self-description a vigilante gr ...more
Phil
My wife and I love Whale Wars. I got this book expecting it to be sort of a more detailed "prequel" to the Whale Wars series that got a little more in depth with each of the characters and what went on during their actions at sea. Unfortunately, most of the book was just about how awful the voyage is with the constant reeling of the ship, mixed in with a lot of conservationist filler material. The actual action is quite lacking.

However, the book wasn't all bad--I got a look at Captain Watson tha
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Jp Bleibtreu
I cried at the end of this book. An absolute page tuner and inspirational masterpiece. There is so much wrong on the seas and so few doing things to set it right. I had read other articles in magazines by Heller and was reminded a few pages in of his deft skill at weaving hard factual data, observational journalism and emotional insight into a cohesive whole. Everyone should be required to read this. I was surprised by the intensity with which he ended the book then blindsided by the epilogue.
Th
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Sharyn
This book tells it like it is! The author was on the ship and actually saw the needless slaughter of whales taking place!
Very well written, but of course, the highlight for me was the fact that my son is mentioned in the book!
g-na
Part lesson in species preservation, part adventure on the high seas, and part sad reality, The Whale Warriors is a real-life account of one of the world's most dedicated ocean conservationists. Paul Watson is the head of the Sea Shepherd organization, and each Antarctic summer he and an incredible team of volunteers take to the Southern Ocean in an attempt to stop (at least some of) the whaling that still happens there. In defiance of international anti-whaling treaties the Japanese kill about ...more
Wendyhodges
This is my second Heller book. Very much enjoyed how he captured the character of the Sea Shepard crew along with the tense and harrowing action during their efforts to stifle the illegal activities of the Japanese whale hunting fleet.
Carol Chapman
The very beginning and toward the end, this book dragged a bit. I suspect the author had to add some padding to make an article the length of a book. That said, the central portion of the book was quite interesting. It makes you sick to learn of the whaling activities taking place in parts of the world. It was also very interesting to see a comparison of the Sea Shepherd organization with Greenpeace. I had not heard of Sea Shepherd before, but after reading this book, I want to learn more and po ...more
Timothy Schneider
I really like Peter Heller's writing. It is erudite and compelling and draws you in. So on one hand I approached this book with anticipation. However, I knew that the subject matter would be hard to stomach and would ultimately command me to do something. I was right on both accounts. ...
Kat
Nov 08, 2007 Kat rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fall-2007
This book is a MUST READ. It follows my hero, Sea Shepherd Society founder (and Greenpeace co-founder) Paul Watson and his volunteer crew on their mission to shut down Japanese whaling in the Southern Whale Sanctuary near Antarctica in the winter of 2006. It's an amazing true life action tale and a sad commentary on the way humans allow this planet and even its most intelligent, social creatures to be treated. This is especially timely as the 2007 whale hunt is about to begin. READ THIS BOOK and ...more
Helen
I loved this book. So informative, so interesting, but sad, that these beautiful peaceful creatures are being slaughtered in such a cruel manner. Love Peter Heller's writing.
John
Great reading the inside story of this sailing life. Great mission to end whaling. A little over-wrought in the drama tho. Really not much accomplished by the hi jinx.
Mark
National Geographic adventure-writer Peter Heller joins a motley volunteer crew aboard Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's flagship, the Farley Mowat, to find and incapacitate a Japanese whaling fleet that is illegally killing hundreds of whales in the waters around Antarctica. Sea Shepherd and its founder, Paul Watson, are known for their extreme measures (they claim to have sunk nine ships) in the defense of whales and other marine mammals. If you already profess a love of nature, this book an ...more
Heidi
Off the bat, I have to say that I love learning about what people who are passionate can do. I was shocked and horrified to learn about the whaling that is going on in my adult life. When I was young, I learned about atrocities in history and thought that nothing like that could happen on my watch. Then, I learn about Rwanda, the Gulf oil spill, whaling by the Japaneses in the name of science...it is hard to accept that these events have all happened on "the watch" of my generation.

This was a mo
...more
Xanthi
After seeing Captain Watson speak at a Sea Shepherd fundraiser, I wanted to learn more about the organization and their experiences. This book was certainly an education and I found it to be a real page turner. I like the way the author got into describing the crew members - a mix of different nationalities and personalities. What I didn't like was his mocking of vegans and the fact that he is an avid elk hunter. At times, I felt he was the wrong person for this experience, for this book - that ...more
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Did this book provoke you into taking action? 4 9 Aug 29, 2011 10:26PM  
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Peter Heller holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the autho
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More about Peter Heller...
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“In the November 2006 issue of Science, a report by an international team of scientists studying a vast amount of data gathered between 1950 and 2003 declared that if current trends of fishing and pollution continue, every fishery in the world's oceans will collapse by 2048...The oceans as an ecosystem would completely collapse.” 3 likes
“The albatross hit the top and canted her soft belly to the storm, and made a screaming banked peel-out downwind and over the other side. I don't know if anyone else on the ship saw her. To me, she was a visitation. Not harbinger or annunciation, but a simple reminder of a wold that worked, that was at home with itself and friends with storm.” 1 likes
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