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The Grandest of Lives: Eye to Eye with Whales

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Chadwick has followed and reported on whales for over a decade, and in this book he offers a fascinating insider's view of modern-day scientific whale observation - from data gathering to weathering storms, and from spirited scientific debate to expedition storytelling.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 2nd 2006 by Sierra Club Books
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Sep 11, 2013 Katey rated it it was amazing
Five chapters each focusing on one species of whale: humpback, northern bottlenose, orca (actually a dolphin), minke, and blue. Lots of good information paired with a flowing writing style (I didn't find it dry as others have noted). Chadwick does an excellent job of combining scientific inquiry with true wonder, a fine line territory to dwell, and a mark of the new approach to ethology that is becoming more and more prevalent:

"Humans think they are special creatures, and we are. But trying to h
Oct 30, 2016 Elise rated it liked it
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Mysticeti (Baleen/rorqual whales) or Odontoceti (Toothed whales)

The Singer: Humpback Whale
Megaptera novaeangliae - great-winged New Englander
Bubble netting fishing method - "...constructing a barrier around a fish school by exhaling air while swimming in a circle below." p. 39

The Diver: Bottlenose Whale
Beaked whale (Ziphiidae) family
Hyperoodon ampullatus - "above the tooth" and "flask" respectively - refers to prominent forehead and two small projected tee
Nov 22, 2009 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nature lovers, anyone awed by whales
This was a very good introductory book on five different whale species. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's humor and the way he mixed stories with facts. There were only two problems I had with the book, first the section on blue whales seemed a mix and match of ideas. I suppose this is most likely due to there being less information on the whales than others. In addition, the section where the author consumes whale meat disturbed me the most. Although he did say he would not do it outside the jo ...more
Casey Hampton
Jul 03, 2012 Casey Hampton rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals-wildlife
Focusing on five different species of whales, this book brings attention to both the lifestyle and jeopardy, which confront these amazing animals. Whether you are merely interested in whales or harbor a deep passion for all cetaceans regardless of mass, this is a great book.

I'm giving it 4 stars rather than 5 because of some clunky writing which acted as a slight distraction. But this is pretty damn minor. If you are in any way interested in whales, this is a good book to pick up and read. Who k
Aug 07, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals, nonfiction
As a whale lover from way back, I was very excited to get this book! Aside from a few bits of dry prose, it did not let me down.

The book details the latest scientific studies available for five whale species. Facts and statistics are listed as well as social habits (where known), breeding locations, food sources and feeding techniques. Environmental pressures (excessive noise levels, pollution, ship collisions, commercial hunting) are explained.

Scientists endure long hours, temperature extreme
Tim G
Jul 31, 2013 Tim G rated it it was amazing
I went on a reading binge about whales last summer, and this was the best book I read. While addressing whales in all their wonder--their intelligence, sophisticated communication, and family bonds--it didn't indulge in the quasi-mystical silliness that plagues some whale books. Whales are smart, yes, but they can't read your mind.
Liz Brau
i only read the section on humpback whales b/c they are my favorite. i want to go see humpbacks in the ocean sometime. i guess i will have to get over my fear of scuba diving first...
Mar 10, 2016 Jenn rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction-read
Fantastic overview of some of our favorite cetaceans.
Aug 02, 2011 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: natural-history
Loved it. Easy to read and understand. INteresting facts on some little known whales. Would have liked a few more species to be represented.
Jul 20, 2009 Mia rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009, nonfiction
A great introduction to 5 types of whales, discussing their differences and the things research has learned about each.
Jun 30, 2016 Dave rated it did not like it
Who writes this garbage? Such beauty deserves better.
Jan 24, 2014 Megan rated it it was amazing
A must read for any whale lover - or ocean lover for that matter!
Judy rated it it was amazing
Feb 12, 2016
Hada Herring
Hada Herring rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2017
Danielle Gauld
Danielle Gauld rated it really liked it
Jul 11, 2015
Don rated it really liked it
May 02, 2015
Kathleen Schuckman
Kathleen Schuckman rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2015
Kimberly Nielsen
Kimberly Nielsen rated it liked it
Aug 09, 2016
Adrienne rated it liked it
Jun 27, 2015
Sue Mills
Sue Mills rated it really liked it
Dec 08, 2015
John Yunker
May 13, 2009 John Yunker rated it really liked it
A wonderful portrait of five whales: minke, orca, humpback, bottlenose, and blue.
Angie rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2008
Kim rated it really liked it
Nov 04, 2011
Kristina Wojtaszek
Kristina Wojtaszek rated it really liked it
Sep 30, 2011
Tiberius Bones
Tiberius Bones rated it it was amazing
Mar 22, 2012
Joe Wilson
Joe Wilson rated it liked it
Aug 06, 2014
Laura rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2012
Holland Thomas
Holland Thomas rated it it was ok
May 08, 2016
Samantha Hale
Samantha Hale rated it it was amazing
Apr 18, 2014
Jim Bradbury
Jim Bradbury rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2007
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