Mike's Reviews > Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America

Leviathan by Eric Jay Dolin
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's review
Sep 07, 12

liked it
bookshelves: history, non-fiction, boston

Can be very dry and times but delves in history in great detail. Very interesting watching the whale oil market come together by the early 1700s, go through the Golden Age in the first half of the 19th century, and then soon realize after the Civil War the numbers would never add up in competition with oil and other luminant / lubricants.

It's striking how much man can simply ignore the harm he does in the name of profit. The only thing that saved the whales was the innovation of new oils chiefly petroleum. In the name of profit, man is also blinded to protecting the precious thing he has: his own life. Average whaling was nuts enough but going into the Arctic and ever farther to find the thinning numbers of whales was truly impressive and at the same time, well, nuts.

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