OF WHALES AND MEN by R. B. Robertson
Kirkus Star


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*****This is the MOST -- mammal -- profession -- milieu -- mileage -- that any dedicated Moby Dicker could ask for: -- modern steamship, harpoon gun whaling, and let no Melville-its nose turn up (except perhaps at the pervading physical smell). By a professional medical-cum-psychiatry feller who was rather patronizing in applying for the job of doctor to the expedition of 1950, this is an over-all, under-all, right-in-with-it-all eight months working assignment which gives an unadulterated, nearly unexpurgated and entirely unassuming see-it-now of the ships, the men, the job and the life of the mammoth operations of the current whaling industry. The mechanics of the International Convention, the factory ship and its fleet of 13 catchers, 2 corvettes, 2 buoy boats; the recruits and the voyage south are an absorbing come-on to the journey's end. Via Aruba to South Georgia (the island's history is over-balanced by the outspoken criticism of the vile conditions and company management) and the ""Zuthern Notion"" (Southern Ocean) with its hard-won catches of whales, the ""New Boy"" travels with a quick eye and a vivid pen. From the injured ships to the processing of the whales, from the intricacy of the factory ship's fabulous organization on all levels to the individual stories of the ""refugees from civilization"", from the uses of almost every bit of the whale to the uses of every man aboard -- this is 47,000 miles of fascinating, you-are-there reporting.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1954
Publisher: Knopf