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

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  520 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
On board a pirate ship in the battle to save the world's largest mammals Any day saving a whale is a good day to die... December 2005: journalist Peter Heller arrives in Melbourne to join the Farley Mowat, a pirate ship hellbent on saving whales from hunters in Antarctica. On board Heller finds an uncompromising crew of eco-crusaders who fly the Jolly Roger, operate a stee ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by HarperCollins - AU (first published 2007)
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Donovan Ha - love it! So, I read "The Dog Stars" and felt similar and it haunted and stayed with me for a long time. I then read "The Painter" and felt same…moreHa - love it! So, I read "The Dog Stars" and felt similar and it haunted and stayed with me for a long time. I then read "The Painter" and felt same way and that launched me into reading everything he's written. Read "Kook" next, then "The Whale Warriors" and I just started his kayaking expedition book, yesterday. Great writer!(less)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
William Graney
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
Apr 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Paul Pessolano
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Melissa Stacy
"The Whale Warriors" took me a long time to finish. Having read a number of books about the state of the ocean and the worldwide rapid decline in ocean life, the environmental information in "The Whale Warriors" was nothing new. For many readers, this book is a wake-up call and a call to action, and I'm glad that the book serves as an educational tool.

For me, the book was about absorbing pain, and witnessing the work Captain Paul Watson and his amazing crew undertake to save the lives of whales
David Bales
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was actually rather reluctant to read this book. In fact, it's been on my "shelf" for about 7 years. I'm not an activist, nor do I really fundamentally relate to those who are. So my expectation were pretty low going into this book as to whether or not I would like it.

Heller is a good writer and brings the facts along with the drama in depicting the efforts of the Sea Shepherd Conservancy to save the whales. If it was a call to action, it didn't manage to turn me into an activist. Still, this
Marsella Johnson
You feel like you are on the ship Farley along with the author of this true adventure. He is following the trails of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a vigilante group that hunts down Japanese mega boats illegally killing whales in international waters. So far they have sunk eight whaling vessels that have been poaching in protected sanctuaries. Farley Mowat, the captain of this mostly volunteer crew, started out with Greenpeace but soon tired of watching passive politics failing to protec ...more
Melissa Crismon
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to get on a Sea Shepherd ship with butchers and hunters and vegan hippies dueling in a haiku contest. Peter goes native to make the democratic microcosm tangible. Though Paul Watson is the unfazed leader and hero, like an arrow zig-zagging to its target, the Nisshin Maru.

I hope everybody reads The Whale Warriors. The true story is a reminder that the ocean is dying in our lifetime. Fisheries will collapse by 2048. We must stop eating fish. And if we are to call ourselves human we must sto
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.
Jul 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You will never eat fish again, but I already knew this. SAVE THE OCEANS
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone.
Shelves: japan, environment
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
Oct 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really a 3.5. I had no idea that such illegal whaling was going on. It is really sad and there doesn't seem to be a solution due to man's greed.
The Whale Warriors is the companion book to the Animal Planet channel series Whale Wars on the Sea Shepherd. The writer/journalist went on the hunt with them in 2005.

The Sea Shepherds are a hardcore anti-whaling group, with two ships at their disposal -- at the time of the book there was only one -- and have been known to sink whaling ships, or at the very least ram them. During the course of the book the chap at the wheel deliberately puts the boat in the way of the whaling ship, and would have
Kate M
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Tom Darrow
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I got this book because I liked the TV show Whale Wars. This book covers a voyage that took place before the show.

Heller joins the crew of the super hardcore conservationist group Sea Shepherd on their 2005-6 trip that attempts to disrupt Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. Along the way, he analyzes the personalities and motivations of a rag tag group of volunteers who make up the crew, chronicles the history of Sea Shepherd and its founder, Paul Watson, and delves into the heated media war
Kim Stallwood
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I think as humans, we know the damage we do to the planet. Or, I would like to think most people are aware, and take steps to be proactive in protecting the fragile balance between us and nature.

Heller journeys on the Farley Mowat - a ship piloted by Paul Watson. Watson has founded a group of vigilantes of sorts that protects the endangered cetaceans of the ocean. Watson's mission is to stop the illegal slaughter of whales by the nations that still practice this barbaric ritual. On this particu
missy jean
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An ethics text that reads as an adventure travelogue, following the Sea Shepherd on a mission to harry and disrupt Japanese whaling vehicles off the coast of Antarctica.

There were things that I found exasperating about this book. In documenting some of the troubling oversights of activists (anyone who's spent time in the animal rights world knows that sexism and other intersectionality fails are far too common, just as human rights activists so often fail to account for other species), Heller hi
Jan 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ocean, true-stories
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
Kyle Vasek
The book, The Whale Warrior by Peter Hellers, is based on a true story. The theme of the novel is to do what is right. The Japanese were killing innocent whales which breaks the international law. A group of people set off to stop them from performing this treacherous act. This is a great book to read because it makes you become aware of what is happening in the world today.
The basis of the story is a group of people on board a ship called The Farley. One of which was the author, Peter Heller,
Dec 31, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an interesting read on how the crew desperately tries to stop whalers from killing this beautiful species. Sadly, the book is mostly made up of their search for the boats in the vast sea and only twice does it talk about encountering the whaling ships. It did not keep my interest enough and was quite long.
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, nonfiction
I read “The Whale Warriors” after reading the two incredible novels by Peter Heller and enjoying his style, but the impact the book has left on me goes way beyond loving the writing. I’ve since purchased the DVD’s from the TV show, “Whale Wars”, and started watching it with my family, ordered a number of documentaries on the ocean and humanities impact on it and determined to make changes in my life that contribute to the situation (e.g. what seafood I eat, etc.). I’ve known about the issues fac ...more
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought there'd be more mention of whales and the effects of whaling on the ocean and its ecosystems, but this was more about the people aboard the Farley Mowat and Peter Heller's experience on the ship. It felt like such a small fragment of the story that I didn't find it as engaging as I had expected.

I've worked with animal rescues, and I was reminded of several people I've met and worked with while I was reading this book. A large amount, though obviously not all, of the people who have suc
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: activism
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
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Did this book provoke you into taking action? 4 9 Aug 29, 2011 10:26PM  
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There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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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“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.” 4 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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