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Publisher's Summary

The 2017 Science Writers and Communicators of Canada award for "best general audience book” and was short-listed for the 2017 Hubert Evans Prize.

The fascinating and heartbreaking account of the first publicly exhibited captive killer whale — a story that forever changed the way we see orcas and sparked the movement to save them.

Killer whales had always been seen as bloodthirsty sea monsters. That all changed when a young killer whale was captured off the west coast of North America and displayed to the public in 1964. Moby Doll — as the whale became known — was an instant celebrity, drawing 20,000 visitors on the one and only day he was exhibited. He died within a few months, but his famous gentleness sparked a worldwide crusade that transformed how people understood and appreciated orcas. Because of Moby Doll, we stopped fearing “killers” and grew to love and respect “orcas.”

©2016 Mark Leiren-Young (P)2017 Mark Leiren-Young

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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😍😍

I love anything that has to do with orcas. This book was so interesting, informative and enticing. The narrator had such a soothing voice, I was engaged the whole time. You could tell the author really did his research. Some of this got truly sad and dark, then there were amazing bits where you could sense the love people had for these beautiful animals. I’m so glad I decided to read this. If you want to learn more about orcas I suggest this book.

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Great book, full of facts and stories

If you love Orcas or want to know about their history with humans, you must read this book. The author digs through all kinds of primary research to give an accurate and balanced portrayal of the early days of orca-human relations. I wish he had let a professional read the book (I could only play it at 1.25x while usually I go for 1.5x when the reader is a pro). I'm more in love with and determined to save the whales than I was before reading.

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Couldn't put it down.

What made the experience of listening to The Killer Whale Who Changed the World the most enjoyable?

With humour and pathos, Mark puts us in the mind of the orcas. With his muckrakers precision he documents the first contact between humans and this amazing species.

Which character – as performed by Mark Leiren-Young – was your favorite?

Moby Doll, the first orca displayed in captivity.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Orcas and humans - first contact

Any additional comments?

Mark's reading of his own work is precise and entertaining. He tells the suspenseful narrative with panache, wit and a journalists attention to facts.

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Drove across the country, needed a book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes

If you care at all about the oceans and the life in them, this book can be eye opening and shocking. Both in good ways.

What did you like best about this story?

Learning about the society of killer whales

Have you listened to any of Mark Leiren-Young’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes

This one is the best.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Moby's podmember was heard crying out to Moby from the water outside where Moby was held

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Very informative

This is a well researched book that's easy to understand for anyone. It is interesting and insightful and I recommend it for anyone who loves whales :)

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  • C. Winslow
  • Springfield, VA, United States
  • 06-21-17

Orcas: My Heart & Soul

Would you consider the audio edition of The Killer Whale Who Changed the World to be better than the print version?

Listening to Mark Leiren-Young read his book undoubtedly adds so much more depth to this amazing story of Moby Doll and his impact on our understanding of and respect for Orcas.

What other book might you compare The Killer Whale Who Changed the World to and why?

Orca: The Whale Called Killer, by Erich Hoyt — the book that ignited my passion for Orcas

Which character – as performed by Mark Leiren-Young – was your favorite?

Moby Doll

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes! However, I listened over several days of commuting time.

Any additional comments?

As someone who holds Orcas close to my heart and soul, I felt joy, fascination, sorrow, and anger throughout the book. Perhaps it is true that the capture of Moby broke through the perceptions of the "monster" man had previously seen the orca as, but it also started the frenzy of Orca captivity. Nonetheless, I hope the telling of Moby's story will influence more people to take notice of these incredible creatures and to help support their well being by standing against captivity, dams and fish farms that reduce their food supplies and toxins polluting their waters (including trash, noise and shipping traffic).

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  • Dallas Winston 9
  • 01-04-18

Fascinating from the first sentence.

If you could sum up The Killer Whale Who Changed the World in three words, what would they be?

Mind-blowingly interesting.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Killer Whale Who Changed the World?

There are countless interesting and memorable moments. This book is full of antidotes and facts,(the subject of Moby Doll it is not only phenomenally researched but the book is entertaining) to pick one moment would be unfair and would misrepresent the scale this book covers. This book covers multiple aspects of killer whales/Orcas, the biology and the evolution of the social perception, all in an engaging and entertaining way.

What about Mark Leiren-Young’s performance did you like?

Mark Leiden-Young is the author of The Killer Whale Who Changed The World. For me, there could be no one better to read this book, he clearly knows his subject inside out. There is the sense of the personal touch to his narration that gave it a degree of originality.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I found the friendships between the Humans and Orcas to be particularly touching.

Any additional comments?

I bought this audiobook on a whim. By the end I felt emotionally attached to some of the characters involved human and non-human. My wife had to tell me to stop talking about it all. I think Mark Leiren-Young achieved something special. The book contains information and passion and was a true pleasure to listen too.