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Publisher's Summary

The story of a man’s obsession with whales, which takes him on a personal, historical and biographical journey - from his childhood to his fascination with Moby-Dick and his excursions whale-watching.

All his life, Philip Hoare has been obsessed by whales, from the gigantic skeletons in London’s Natural History Museum to adult encounters with the wild animals themselves. Whales have a mythical quality - they seem to elide with dark fantasies of sea-serpents and antediluvian monsters that swim in our collective unconscious.

In Leviathan, Philip Hoare seeks to locate and identify this obsession. What impelled Melville to write Moby-Dick? After his book in 1851, no one saw whales in quite the same way again.

This book is an investigation into what we know little about dark, shadowy creatures who swim below the depths, only to surface in a spray of spume. More than the story of the whale, it is also the story of our own obsessions.

©2021 Philip Hoare (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"This history of man’s dealings with whales is respectful, even mystical." (Daily Mail

"A scintillating, scattershot, blunderbuss of a book. Throughout the book, Hoare’s unbridled enthusiasm for his subject is infectious...this thoroughly engaging, rigorously researched and often revelatory book is a joy to read and one which Melville, surely, would have appreciated." (Independent on Sunday

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