The Whale is a magnificent adventure through our communal history with cetaceans. Quotes from Moby Dick are interspersed with graphic descriptions of whaling practices and tales of sea serpents. Hoare's prose is a pleasure to read and his obvious fascination with these mysterious creatures is infectious. It's hard to believe how dependent 18th and 19th century people were on whale products for industry, cosmetics, food products and many other surprising uses. An interesting book for anyone who enjoys Victorian history, Herman Melville or who is concerned with the possible extinction of the world's largest mammals.