Books by Douglas Whynott

Released: March 4, 2014

"Thorough research provides fascinating insight into the sweet business of maple syrup."
An inside look at the maple syrup industry. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

"Should prompt warm appreciation for the dedicated practitioners of a job that ruins any social life and generates levels of stress that are not highlighted in veterinary school catalogues."
Obliquely affecting, nuts-and-bolts portrait of a country veterinarian and his evolving practice. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1999

An affectionate, informative, yet lighter-than-air look at the life and work of Joel White, the boat designer and builder who also happened to be E.B.'s son, from Whynott (Giant Bluefin, 1995). Joel White made wooden boats for over 40 years from his Brooklin Boat Yard in Maine, a place that has since become synonymous with the wooden boat revival. Though White felt that his design work was derivative, particularly of the Herreshoff's, he was being a mite humble: the lineages of boats are always a matter of influence, as Whynott amplifies with a fistful of examples, and White left his mark with lines that are "instinctively pleasing, comfortable to rest the eye upon," on boats that are traditional above the waterline and modern below. White had designed all manner of boat'skiffs and rowing shells, catboats and the lovely racing yacht of the title—and he fussed and tweaked each one until it was graceful, elegant in sheer line, a boat for light air or for stiff breezes. Whynott spent a lot of time with White in the months preceding the boat maker's death, and he gathered much good material on life growing up with E.B. and Katharine White (Whynott tries not to make it sound like an idyll, but it comes across as pretty sweet, and it must have been fun to be the test pilot for Stuart Little), as well as an honest taste of a day's measured rhythms in the boatyard. Whynott lovingly details the work being done, and the characters doing the work, on new boats and boats brought in for repair to the boatyard, now run by White's son Steve ("it ain't easy being the son of Saint Joe," says a friend about flak Steve got for changing a few things). White emerges from Whynott's delightful pages as an old soul as free-spirited and inspired as any character in his father's books. Read full book review >
GIANT BLUEFIN by Douglas Whynott
Released: June 1, 1995

Whynott takes readers out to sea with ``the true sons of the whalers of old''—the men who make their living harpooning bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Cod to Maine. Only 200 harpoon permits are issued to East coast fishermen each year, and about 30 of their boats, says Whynott (English/Mount Holyoke; Following the Bloom, not reviewed), actually harvest any fish. There is no daily limit for harpoon fishermen (regular permit-holders are allowed but one tuna per day), but the total quota for the entire western Atlantic is 53 tons—about 240 fish. Whynott followed the fortunes of Bob Sampson and his son, Brad, for the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Like most harpoon fishermen based on Cape Cod, the Sampsons employ a spotter plane to locate schools of giant bluefin. The pilot will sometimes watch for humpback whales, which, like tuna, feed on herring and mackerel. When a school is spotted, the boat races to the area and one man climbs into the pulpit wielding a 12-foot-long harpoon, usually of aluminum, with a bronze ``dart'' wired for 800 volts. Thanks to the sushi boom, one throw can bag a fish that will bring as much as $50,000 at the Japanese auction houses. Bluefin tuna can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh as much as 1,500 lbs., but most are in the 300- to 500- lb. range. The Sampsons, who helped organize a group of Cape Cod fishermen to deal directly with the Japanese, got an average of $16.50 per pound for their fish in 1992; they grossed almost $200,000 for the 1993 season. Not bad, notes Whynott, for a fish that just 20 years ago was sold as cat food for five cents a pound. Whynott's natural history of the giant bluefin tuna, its mating and migratory habits, and his profiles of the Cape Cod fishermen and their lifestyle, is engagingly rendered. Read full book review >