You’ve seen the documentary Blackfish and read about the backlash currently facing Sea World. Now read the book that goes beyond the headlines to answer questions about one of nature’s most remarkable creatures—and asks us why we allow the captive-orca industry to still exist. “Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us” (The Overlook Press, $27.95) arises from journalist David Neiwert’s work over the past 20 years writing about and experiencing firsthand killer whales in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the director of “Blackfish” loved Neiwert’s investigative skills and eloquent writing, calling the book “one of the most comprehensive works to date for anyone who has become enthralled by this magnificent animal.”
“Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us” takes on the orca and details what we have learned from studying them closely in their habitat for the past 40 years—in a way that’s readable and understandable to the broader public. This in-depth book is a mix of cultural history, environmental reporting, and scientific research. Neiwert details the early Native American mythologies around the “People Under the Sea,” delves into the behaviors and abilities of the animals in comparison to humans and other species, and investigates what impact humans are having on these creatures that have existed for roughly thirty times longer than us.
This book uses the window opened into the world of killer whales by the resident orcas of the Pacific Northwest to explore the changing relationship between humans and these awe-inspiring animals—an animal once so loathed and feared that its scientific name means “demon from hell,” but whose visage now sells millions of black-and-white plush toys and is best remembered as the star of a popular family film in the 1990s. Most of all, “Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us” explores just how intelligent these creatures really are, what that means for us, and what we might possibly learn from them.
Jane Goodall agrees. “‘Of Orcas and Men’ highlights the need to rethink our relationship with other animals.”