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Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild…

Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of…

by Susan Casey

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Entertaining and informative like Casey's other books, this one seeming just a little more superfluous.

Like the research and reporting on John Lilly, one of the original dolphin researchers. Great info on the slaughters that take place around the world most of all the Solomon Islands ( )
  rdwhitenack | Jun 3, 2017 |
Great writer. She weaves a compelling story. Have enjoyed all her books. Like the gamut of info from Dolphin habitats and life cycle, to the societies in history who have revered and been at peace with the dolphins. Very sad what we humans are doing to such beautiful, intelligent creatures. ( )
  bermandog | Apr 22, 2017 |
A very satisfying work by a woman who writes well and with verve. Here are the essentials of how and when research into dolphin cognition and language began and where that research has led. Readers learn of the great variety of dolphins and whales and also about the cultures of each animal. All are highly social, all have huge brains, all have natural echo-location which is far more advanced than anything humans have yet created, all are extraordinarily intelligenet and capable. The author trashes the dolphin theme parks, noting that, in effect, these imprisoned individuals live shorter lives, don't have a chance to work up to a fraction of their potential, frequently are sick, and generally that these parks exist solely for profits rather than the welfare or study of the animals. For orcas, it is even worse; their culture is incredibly tight, matriarchal, and multi-generational; to put a single orca in a tank is to punish the animal with solitary confinement. I think the book's flaw is that the author presents a series of snapshots rather than a coherent narrative that constitutes an educational immersion. The snapshots are interesting, some moreso than others, but it makes for an incomplete presentation. Two chapters on hunting dolphins are especially gruesome and hard to get through. ( )
  neddludd | Jan 24, 2016 |
I must say I was mightily relieved to be finished with this one. Not that it isn't good...it's too good. It is subtitled "A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins", but I think that's misleading. It is more a journey into the harrowing and horrifying world of dolphin exploitation and abuse. As I listened to it on audio, I can't go back through the book and cite examples, but the overwhelming feeling I had during most of it was "I can't take much more of this". Wholesale slaughter and heartless captivity conditions, even in the big-name theme parks we've all heard of...these marvelous, intelligent creatures have been very badly served by humanity in the last few centuries...by modern societies and primitive ones alike. Their teeth used for currency; their bodies contaminated by pollutants; their environment bombarded by sonar, the noise of ship engines, drilling rigs and naval war games; their lives appropriated for human entertainment or experimentation, whole pods slaughtered for political or monetary gain. Casey has interviewed a number of activists who are risking their own lives to try to stop some of the worst abuses; as well as one researcher who decided to give up her work, which she had come to view as unethical; and Joan Ocean, a new age guru from "Dolphinville" in Hawaii who claims to have a mystic, spiritual relationship with cetaceans. Dolphins have no autonomic nervous system and must consciously breathe. Therefore, if they are stunned they can "drown" because they stop breathing. There is also anecdotal evidence that depressed individuals have simply refused to take another breath, effectively committing suicide.

Thankfully, Casey concluded her book with visits to ancient Minoan sites on the Isle of Crete, where back in the Bronze Age they apparently appreciated and lived in harmony with nature and its other creatures, particularly those dwelling in the sea around them. Their art is glorious, even after all these centuries buried under rock and ash from the volcanic eruption that apparently eradicated their civilization. A Google search for images is worth your time. Casey's writing is very fine, and the reading performance by Cassandra Campbell on the audio version was outstanding. This is important stuff, and if you can stand it, I recommend it.

December 2015 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Jan 1, 2016 |
This one took a long time for me to finish. There is some rough going as Susan Casey describes some of the terrible things people are doing to our oceans and to these wonderfully intelligent beings. I was glad that she ended on a positive note, even if it had to be ancient history. A very balanced account of dolphins of all sorts and how humans are interacting with them. The positive, the negative, the ugly and the bizarre. I do like Ms Casey's writing. I have enjoyed everything I have read of hers. My favorite though is The Wave. ( )
  njcur | Oct 23, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385537301, Hardcover)

From Susan Casey, the New York Times bestselling author of The Wave and The Devil’s Teeth, a breathtaking journey through the extraordinary world of dolphins
Since the dawn of recorded history, humans have felt a kinship with the sleek and beautiful dolphin, an animal whose playfulness, sociability, and intelligence seem like an aquatic mirror of mankind. In recent decades, we have learned that dolphins recognize themselves in reflections, count, grieve, adorn themselves, feel despondent, rescue one another (and humans), deduce, infer, seduce, form cliques, throw tantrums, and call themselves by name. Scientists still don’t completely understand their incredibly sophisticated navigation and communication abilities, or their immensely complicated brains.
     While swimming off the coast of Maui, Susan Casey was surrounded by a pod of spinner dolphins. It was a profoundly transporting experience, and it inspired her to embark on a two-year global adventure to explore the nature of these remarkable beings and their complex relationship to humanity. Casey examines the career of the controversial John Lilly, the pioneer of modern dolphin studies whose work eventually led him down some very strange paths. She visits a community in Hawaii whose adherents believe dolphins are the key to spiritual enlightenment, travels to Ireland, where a dolphin named as “the world’s most loyal animal” has delighted tourists and locals for decades with his friendly antics, and consults with the world’s leading marine researchers, whose sense of wonder inspired by the dolphins they study increases the more they discover.
     Yet there is a dark side to our relationship with dolphins. They are the stars of a global multibillion-dollar captivity industry, whose money has fueled a sinister and lucrative trade in which dolphins are captured violently, then shipped and kept in brutal conditions. Casey’s investigation into this cruel underground takes her to the harrowing epicenter of the trade in the Solomon Islands, and to the Japanese town of Taiji, made famous by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, where she chronicles the annual slaughter and sale of dolphins in its narrow bay.
     Casey ends her narrative on the island of Crete, where millennia-old frescoes and artwork document the great Minoan civilization, a culture which lived in harmony with dolphins, and whose example shows the way to a more enlightened coexistence with the natural world.
     No writer is better positioned to portray these magical creatures than Susan Casey, whose combination of personal reporting, intense scientific research, and evocative prose made The Wave and The Devil’s Teeth contemporary classics of writing about the sea. In Voices in the Ocean, she has written a thrilling book about the other intelligent life on the planet.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:47:56 -0400)

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