Philip Hoare walks a fine line in this book between natural history and personal narrative, with a big dose of Melville and Moby Dick. I wanted a few more scientific details now and then, but overall, I really enjoyed his ruminations on whales, and our relationship with whales. He examines how they live in our imaginings and stories since they're so elusive in real life, and how we built an entire economy on them, up to how they're doing now in an (almost) post-whaling age. My own whale watching trip was canceled due to gale force winds (My boyfriend was incredulous: "What, that bothers the whales?" "No, silly! It bothers the boat!"), but Hoare takes us on his at the end of the book - what a treat! I also appreciated how the book was written for a (perhaps slightly literary) general audience since my maritime knowledge is pretty paltry.