De profundis

Philip Hoare Leviathan coverI’ve begun producing a podcast for Blackwell Bookshop Online, which you can find here.

In the first podcast, I talk to Philip Hoare about his book on the whale, Leviathan (so I suppose in a sense a literal podcast).

The book, which was one of my favourite non-fiction titles of 2008, explores both the author’s own response to the whale (including swimming with them) and that of science and literature.

It contains many fascinating pages on Melville, Moby Dick and the whaling industry; indeed, it presents a compelling case for seeing nineteenth-century American as being built on whaling.

It also sounds a profound warning note for the fate of the whale and their marine environment; ironically, it turns out that commercial whaling was not the most damaging thing we could do to whales. Philip’s pages on whale society, culture and longevity are deeply sobering. His book is highly recommended.

I’ll post links to other titles included in the first podcast here shortly.

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