A historical abstract for whale fans or anyone with a closet desire to be one. Dietz, author of Tales of Whales and Tales of the Sea, provides a verbal PBS series on all facets of cetacean life: the story of Humphrey the Whale, whose strange odyssey inland from the Golden Gate Bridge captivated Californians for weeks; the description of a sperm whale's birth in the middle of the Indian Ocean; a sympathetic look at the misunderstood killer whale, who isn't so aggressive after all; sagas of brave researchers who swim right up to these mammals the size of tractor trailers. After each chapter, Dietz provides anatomic descriptions and other details of various species, ranging from the ""small"" (20-foot, 7,000-pound) pilot whale to the 150-foot, 150-ton blue whale. An interesting footnote (though not about whales) is the story of how the Americans in Vietnam used trained dolphins to seek out enemy frogmen, whom they dispatched with hypodermic needles. ""By using their sonar in the inky depths, the dolphins would impale the unsuspecting underwater demolition experts on needles attached to carbon dioxide cartridges, killing the divers but saving the dolphins for future use. In slightly more than a year the dolphins killed 60 North Vietnamese divers and, accidentally, two Americans who got in the way."" A much more readable and intriguing offering than Rex Weyler's recent Song of the Whale (p. 1284).