Read Voices in the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins by Susan Casey Online


From Susan Casey, the New York Times bestselling author of The Wave and The Devil's Teeth, a breathtaking journey through the extraordinary world of dolphins Since the dawn of recorded history, humans have felt a kinship with the sleek and beautiful dolphin, an animal whose playfulness, sociability, and intelligence seem like an aquatic mirror of mankind. In recent decadesFrom Susan Casey, the New York Times bestselling author of The Wave and The Devil's Teeth, a breathtaking journey through the extraordinary world of dolphins Since the dawn of recorded history, humans have felt a kinship with the sleek and beautiful dolphin, an animal whose playfulness, sociability, and intelligence seem like an aquatic mirror of mankind. In recent decades, we have learned that dolphins recognize themselves in reflections, count, grieve, adorn themselves, feel despondent, rescue one another (and humans), deduce, infer, seduce, form cliques, throw tantrums, and call themselves by name. Scientists still don't completely understand their incredibly sophisticated navigation and communication abilities, or their immensely complicated brains. While swimming off the coast of Maui, Susan Casey was surrounded by a pod of spinner dolphins. It was a profoundly transporting experience, and it inspired her to embark on a two-year global adventure to explore the nature of these remarkable beings and their complex relationship to humanity. Casey examines the career of the controversial John Lilly, the pioneer of modern dolphin studies whose work eventually led him down some very strange paths. She visits a community in Hawaii whose adherents believe dolphins are the key to spiritual enlightenment, travels to Ireland, where a dolphin named as "the world's most loyal animal" has delighted tourists and locals for decades with his friendly antics, and consults with the world's leading marine researchers, whose sense of wonder inspired by the dolphins they study increases the more they discover. Yet there is a dark side to our relationship with dolphins. They are the stars of a global multibillion-dollar captivity industry, whose money has fueled a sinister and lucrative trade in which dolphins are captured violently, then shipped and kept in brutal conditions. Casey's investigation into this cruel underground takes her to the harrowing epicenter of the trade in the Solomon Islands, and to the Japanese town of Taiji, made famous by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, where she chronicles the annual slaughter and sale of dolphins in its narrow bay. Casey ends her narrative on the island of Crete, where millennia-old frescoes and artwork document the great Minoan civilization, a culture which lived in harmony with dolphins, and whose example shows the way to a more enlightened coexistence with the natural world. No writer is better positioned to portray these magical creatures than Susan Casey, whose combination of personal reporting, intense scientific research, and evocative prose made The Wave and The Devil's Teeth contemporary classics of writing about the sea. In Voices in the Ocean, she has written a thrilling book about the other intelligent life on the planet.From the Hardcover edition....

Title : Voices in the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins
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ISBN : 9780385367158
Format Type : Audio CD
Number of Pages : 360 Pages
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Voices in the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins Reviews

  • RitaSkeeter
    2019-02-11 10:09

    I was clearing out a cupboard recently, and found a box with my report cards from primary school. My grade 5 teacher wrote in my report that year of my obsession with dolphins, and she wondered if I dreamt of dolphins every night.I can’t name a time when I haven’t been obsessed with dolphins; it’s there for as far back as I can remember. It’s still there now. Looking up from my computer I can see the photos of dolphins I have stuck on my pinboard. I love dolphins, I feel an affinity with them.I hadn’t read a book by Susan Casey before, but this definitely won’t be the last. Leaving aside the content for a moment, she has an engaging writing style that draws you in and keeps you there. I love reading non-fiction, butthere are few non-fiction books that I just can’t put down and want to keep reading in the way I did with this book.Partly that is because of the content, but even wonderful content can be made dry and boring in the wrong hands. This was in the right hands.So about that content. Casey has chapters that show us dolphins and those who love them. From new age hippies who swim with the dolphins every day (Isowant to move to that place!), to scientists studying and monitoring cetacean populations to those protesting for animal rights and then ending with the ancient Minoans. Amongst those chapters though, are the chapters dealing with Taiji, with dolphins in captivity, and with the Solomon Islands. Those chapters are highly distressing. I cried; a lot. Despite how well the book is written, I couldn’t have continued with the book if not for the way the author had structured it.Rather than taking a chronological approach, the author sandwiched those distressing chapters amongst the ‘feel good’ chapters.This allowed me a breather, and a chance to collect myself again before the next harrowing part. You see the best of people, and the worst of people in this book. Those who put their own safety (and lives) on the line to campaign for dolphins, as well as those driven by greed. But Casey gives hope as well, in the form of people who formerly exploited dolphins reconsidering their actions.A difficult read at times, but a worthy one.

  • Jaylia3
    2019-01-30 13:57

    Susan Casey’s Voices in the Ocean made me fall deeply in love with dolphins, those intelligent, highly social mammals of the sea, then tore my heart out by describing the appalling abuses they receive at the hands of our species. Deeply sad after her father died unexpectedly, Casey was in the middle of a perhaps ill advised solo swim across Honolua Bay when she encountered a large pod, forty or fifty animals, of gently chattering spinner dolphins swimming toward her. Instead of just passing by, they swam with her for a while, lifting her spirits almost like magic and setting her on a worldwide dolphin odyssey.Casey traveled to some wonderfully quirky places, like the new-agey Dolphinville on Hawaii’s Big Island, where 200-some people live, work, meditate, and swim with wild dolphins together. But she also visited marine parks and tourist pleasing “swim with the dolphins” sites, where community-loving dolphins are isolated and kept in slave like conditions, and she connected with dolphin activists in several parts of the world where dolphins are slaughtered in mass numbers, often because it’s believed they eat fish that should be food for people and sometimes, even more horribly, just for spite. Sea pollution and the US Navy’s underwater sonar are other human activities that have had a devastating impact on dolphins. Along the way Casey sought out researchers who’ve studied dolphins, so the book is a mixture of science, history, personal experience, and social commentary. It’s beautifully and movingly written, and I especially loved reading about the evolutionary background of dolphins, the special qualities their large brains endow them with, the eons long and mostly wonderful history of human-dolphin interactions, and the fascinating characteristics of dolphin societies--Casey compares them to an ancient tribe. The abuses were painful to read about, but I’m glad to be better informed. And Casey ends the book on an up note by summarizing what is known about the intriguing, apparently dolphin-loving Minoan civilization and describing her visit to the art-rich Minoan archaeological sites and museums of Santorini and Crete-- Minoan art is both colorful and beautiful, and definitely worth Google-imaging.

  • Daniel Sigmon
    2019-01-28 15:23

    God, this is a difficult read. REALLY depressing, but very valuable. I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but it contains too much heart breaking information. It's very well written and wonderfully executed, but it's hard to swallow. I'm exhausted, sad, and angry now.

  • Kevin McAllister
    2019-02-03 15:26

    A number chapters in this novel were outstanding. In particular, the chapters dealing with Ric O'Barry's struggle to stop the massacres of dolphins in Taiji, Japan and Lawrence Makili's similar struggle in The Solomon Islands. Both men literally risked their lives for dolphins are are to be highly commended. But then on the other hand, we have a chapters dealing with the troubling, drug addled, shenanigans of Dr.John Lilly or the silly New Age meanderings of Joan Ocean, that in my opinion took away from the book's powerful overall message. The chapter on Lori Marino who perfectly matched her love and admiration of dolphins with real science was also admirable. And I'd be remiss not to mention the chapter based on the of people Dingle Ireland who befriended a solitary dolphin, or did the dolphin befriend the town of Dingle ? Either way, a wonderful chapter. And in conclusion, I have to commend author Susan Casey for choosing Ancient Greek History as well as Greek Art, in the final chapter to wonderfully portray her personal feelings for dolphins. Art is always a powerful medium, and lest we forget, history should never be forgotten...

  • R K
    2019-02-01 10:02

    “How do you think humans got so cruel? We forgot. We forgot our responsibility. And we forgot that we are as equal as any living thing within the chains. There’s not hierarchy in this. Nah. We are part of the same family: living things. All the rest of it is just totally fucking bullshit.”“A creation by God. And we just kill. We kill that mammal that is created by God. For me, for my understanding, for my opinion, that’s not a blessing. It’s just a form of stupid.”“It’s true that dolphin hunting is our culture. But it’s time to change.”“In my opinion, it’s really irresponsible of the Navy. It’s a PR mistake, big time. They could go somewhere else-and they go where there’s a sensitive species and people have to get out of the water? How can that be good for anyone?”“All of which is very assuring, if you are inclined to believe an institution that is busily blasting the animals out of existence, using the same sonar technologies that we requited them to help us develop.”“Were these RIMPAC casualties? Not surprisingly, the Navy denied it. To speculate that sonar of missile tests had been to blame for the dolphin traumas would be “premature and irresponsible”. There was no proof either way, it was true, only ugly coincidence. But it was the same ugly coincidence that had happened so many times before.”As a passionate animal love and advocate, this book resonated with me. Susan Casey is an award winning journalist who has been to many places in the world and has written many books on marine life.This book is her report on the plight of the sea, marine ecosystem, and the marine mammals we all love.Jumping back and forth between science and conservation, Casey reveals fascinating information about dolphins and their environment. Along the way we meet huge dolphin and wildlife advocates who are presently trying to save this species- all species in fact.It’s a brutal book that covers the heaping amount of abuse we pour onto sea creatures. From penning them into 4 by 4 walls as an “attraction” to disrupting their pods. Separating mothers from calves. Forcing pods into closed off areas only to kill them in mass murder mayhem. Ill treatment by “caretakers”. Shooting them because they are seen as a menace or because we have some misconception about them. Shooting missiles into the ocean that is causing them huge amounts of pain to their ear canals causing turmoil and confusion in a creature that highly depends on hearing and thus, has sensitive and highly complex echolocation methods. We’ve lost our ability to empathize as a species. I would dare to say we’ve lost our humanity. In Greece, there was a very ancient civilizations known as the Minoans, who were one with nature. An entire civilization where food and wealth were in abundance yet there was no currency. Where they worshiped a female god. Where they were at peace with dolphins. We’ve come a long way from that. As Thomas Barry once wrote, “We think we have understood everything but we have not. We have used everything.”Science has shown time and time again that wildlife creatures are more complex then what we take them for. They are able to recognize themselves. Show emotions ranging from curiosity to grief to depression. They have developed finesse methods that help them survive. They are able to communicate with each other. They have distinct personalities. There is a weird bond between us and them. But while they show harmless curiosity and eagerness, we show hate, anger, stupidity, and cruelty.We really are a stupid, greed driven species. No other living species has done so much damage to the Earth. To the environment. To each other. Yet we have the brazen audacity to place ourselves at the top of the world. How are we better than any other living creature when we can’t even take care of the only place we can call home? How can we call ourselves the best when we can’t even communicate effectively with one another? Throughout the book, Casey shows how much damage we have caused and how now we are finally taking actions to undo the damage. To teach the public and advocate that all living creatures be treated humanely. Whether it works or whether it’s too late is tough to say. History has shown time and time again that for any change to occur in the world, there needs to be mass support. People demanding their rights and freedom is one thing. But now is the time to put aside the individuality and fight for another's need. One who does not have a voice in the human world, yet its fate rests in our hands.Below I have references to many sites and people to go to and follow for more information. Please, if you have even the smallest of attraction to marine life, read this book and check out the links below. I may not mean much to you, but for them it makes a huge difference. And whether our inflated ego likes it or not, we heavily depend on them for our own survival. my link textmy link textmy link textmy link textmy link textmy link textmy link textmy link textmy link textmy link text

  • Yaaresse
    2019-02-06 09:16

    One thing I do know is that if you can drag your child to the likes of Sea World after reading this book, you might want to do some serious contemplation about the health of your soul. Voices in the Ocean is one writer’s fascinating, infuriating, enchanting, depressing, altogether amazing foray into learning everything she could about dolphins. One magical, surreal dolphin pod encounter in Hawaii spurred Susan Casey’s curiosity. She wanted to learn everything she could about dolphins, to investigate the fact, fiction, science, and symbolism surrounding cetacean mammals. Research for the book took her around the world: Hawaii, Canada, Japan, The Solomon Islands, Crete, Ireland. She talked to marine biologists, wildlife activists, former trainers, village people engaged in illegal sales of captive marine life, a new age “encounter” leader convinced that dolphins are links to other dimensions, archaeologists studying Minoan frescoes and pottery. In each encounter, she parked her bias at the gate and put on her journalist hat. Still, this book is as much about her reaction to what she learned and how it affected her as it is about cetaceans. There is a current fad with non-fiction for the writer to make the book more about him/her than it is the topic presented. Maybe that stylistic choice supposed to make the book seem more “approachable” or “intimate,” but I find it often just comes off as self-absorbed and irritating. Susan Casey combines memoir with journalism in a way that her experience adds depth to the subject rather than detracting from it. It’s the difference between the author saying “Look at me” and “Come with me.” The beginning chapters cover the controversial work of Dr. John Lilly and his often bizarre approaches toward research. At first, I wondered about this choice. Lilly was brilliant in many ways, but it's an understatement to say he didn't always exercise good judgement or stick to mainstream research methods. He became a joke in the scientific world because of his antics. It would be easy to dismiss this inclusion, especially so early in the book, as a marketing stunt to generate buzz about the book. After all, LSD and inter-species sex is the kind of salacious fodder interviewers love to latch onto. After thinking about it a while, I decided that Ms. Casey had to include the material on Lilly, and she had to get it out of the way quickly. He may have been controversial--and a little cuckoo--but he did play a big part in the history of dolphin research. Besides, Ms. Casey didn’t set out to investigate only the hard science of dolphins; she decided to approach the subject from myriad angles. There are chapters in this book that truly are difficult to read, even for a hard-ass pragmatist like me. Ms. Casey doesn’t shy away from detailing the horrible dolphin kills in Japan and the Solomon Islands, the inhumane conditions of captive dolphins in “entertainment” complexes, and the seedy, greedy side of the fishing industry. This book contains very graphic descriptions of cruelty and slaughter she witnessed. It’s stunning how intentionally cruel and craven humans can be sometimes. For good or bad, I’m too much a confirmed omnivore to say that it made me consider becoming a vegetarian, but I can say there were a lot of vegetarian meals eaten at our house this week. It definitely has me reconsidering our choices in seafood; I’ll be consulting before my next sushi binge for certain. (And that will probably be in the far distant future when I can scrub my brain from some of the images in it right now.) The book is not all doom and gore. Interspersed among the more grisly chapters are respites that allow the reader to catch a breath while Ms. Casey takes us to investigate Minoan ruins or eavesdrop in on a new age "dolphin encounter" or assist with an ocean population count. (That last one isn't quite so happy, however, as you'll likely find yourself infuriated with the US Navy.) I can’t say I exactly “enjoyed” the book because of some of the horrible things I learned, but I do think it was well worth my time and am glad I read it. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author.

  • Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
    2019-02-10 08:08

    Oh boy. So many thoughts and feelings I don't even know where to start with this one right now. I'll come back to it tomorrow, maybe. Off to watch The Cove and continue to ball my eyes out at the injustice and cruelty of man.

  • missy jean
    2019-01-26 12:26

    Well, this stoked my misanthropy as much as any book ever has (which is saying something). Humans are a neverending nightmare; there's nothing/noone we won't kill, maim, eat, abduct, confine, torture, militarize, and pollute for money, for "pleasure," for "entertainment." All the other species must wish they could wake up and have us gone (except maybe some of the dogs--they love us, inexplicably.) As a species we plumb the depths of cruelty.And I love this book for not shying away from any of that, and for loving dolphins obsessively but also knowing that we aren't just talking about dolphins when we talk about dolphins; Casey tears down the dusty curtains of our speciesism and forces us to try out a new vision, one in which all non-human animals exist for their own terms and not for the whims of humans. To emphasize: This book isn't a polemic. I think Casey does a good job tracing her journey and talking to people with different perspectives and being transparent about her own evolving ideas. It definitely fell upon me like a lightning bolt, and suspect it would also do this for other people with hearts for cetaceans.TL;DR: Boycott SeaWorld. Save the cetaceans. Channel the Minoans. #govegan

  • Corinna Bechko
    2019-02-01 08:19

    Casey packs a lot of insight into this captivating book. I learned quite a bit about both dolphin ecology and the harrowing future they (we?) face. The chapter about the Solomon Islands was particularly eye-opening. Still, I could have done without some of the "woo" in the chapters that dealt with the spiritual connection some people believe they have to dolphins. While those passages did create a counterpoint to the horror of what humans are doing to the oceans, I would have preferred to hear more from scientists who actually understand these creatures instead of from people who think the dolphins come from other dimensions to share love with humanity. But this niggle probably says more about my extreme bias against any point of view that posits animals as being put here for the good of humans as opposed to just being animals that do their own thing regardless of humanity. Overall though, a very worthwhile read.

  • Bobby
    2019-01-26 15:17

    I really hate to complain about a book not being what I thought it would be, but based on the title and subtitle of this book I thought it would be about dolphins. It was not, not really. The author spends time with various people with wildly varying perspectives on dolphins. She also spends time in some significant dolphin related locales, like Taiji in Japan, a place I'd be afraid to go. And Voices In The Ocean ends up being an interesting book, just not one about dolphins. In reality, this book is about people and how they (occasionally "we") relate to dolphins. We learn that some people really love dolphins and believe some pretty "far out" things about them and we also learn that others see dolphins as simply a way to make money - as if we didn't know this already. Very little actual info about dolphins themselves can be found in these pages, however. If the subtitle had, like a Jon Mooallem book, indicated that it was "a book about people and how they relate to dolphins" (to paraphrase Mooallem) then my expectations and reading experience would've been much different. I will look to other books to learn more about dolphins.

  • Simone St James
    2019-01-28 07:58

    Heartbreaking and inspiring. Fascinating and harrowing. Susan Casey is a terrific writer and such a brave person. This is so, so good.

  • Tina
    2019-02-20 12:02

    The beginning of this book is fantastic. Around half way through this novel, I wondered, what happened? Casey knows her stuff. She has travelled to incredibly dangerous places and witnessed unimaginable horror, of that there is no doubt. I learned so much from this novel, yet at the same time feel cut short. The second half of her novel is a disjointed mess. She includes very fascinating information but leaves you hanging in places and moves you around. It was hard to find where I had been and where I am going. “Voices in the Ocean” ends abruptly. She does not offer a look into the future, a summary of what has been learned. It’s as if she just stops writing. The end.

  • Jacque Williamson
    2019-02-11 08:15

    This book is written by an activist who clearly made no attempt at understanding of dolphin natural history or socialization. She pontificates about dolphins' magical capacities, likening them to ethereal beings who can do no wrong. But ignores the fact that, quite frankly, dolphins are assholes- they are the brute squad of the seas and will rape and murder other dolphins, seals, sea otters-pretty much anything that can swim. They're sharks with GREAT PR agents. Yes, also incredibly intelligent and complex beings, who we still have a lot to learn from and deserve our respect for the predators that they are, but she lost me when she goes on about Joan Ocean's cult-like, magical dolphin witchcraft workshops. Legit science wouldn't touch that pyramid scheme with a 10' pole. While the author condemns keeping dolphins in captivity, quickly overlooking (or perhaps making no attempt to understand) typical behavioral husbandry training; she at the same time glorifies canned 'wild' encounters of people "swimming" with wild dolphins. Chasing down wild Dolphins to swim with is not only not cool, but highly dangerous (dolphin trainers must pass swim tests to hold their breath for extended periods of time in the event they get pinned down) and in many places illegal (marine mammal protection act, people!). Big thumbs down. Don't waste your time. Read Dolphin in the Mirror if you want to learn about dolphin intelligence.

  • Mary
    2019-02-09 13:09

    I loved learning more about dolphins and truly believe that they are smarter than us. They can solve a maze faster than any other animal and can recognize themselves in a mirror. Their social networks make ours look primitive. However, this book was also very difficult to read because of all the terrible things we humans have done to dolphins. I want to go around to marine parks and free all of them. They are worse off than convicts in solitary confinement--at least the convicts don't have to do tricks for food. I am also very concerned about all the noise in the ocean, especially from the Navy. It is literally killing them. I would love to visit the Minoan ruins in Crete, where there are hundreds of beautiful frescoes featuring dolphins. I had never heard of the Minoans before. They were an incredibly advanced civilization. I feel very bad that I paid to see a dolphin show and swam with a dolphin in captivity. This book made we want to find a way to make up for it.

  • Britt
    2019-02-13 08:14

    You guys. Seriously, you guys. Read this book. I rate it with ALL THE STARS.Susan Casey has done it yet again. This book is about so much more than dolphins. It's about our stewardship duties to the seas, and how we are using up everything instead of learning to live in a way that will allow nature to flourish along with us. It's about our own greed, in thinking that other creatures have been put here for our amusement. She deftly points out that dolphins and whales have societal bonds that even we can't understand. So how can we think it right to take them from that life and put them in a tank?I love her writing because Casey never tells you what to think. She puts things in a way that makes you think for yourself and consider things in a new light.This book is beautifully done and everyone, literally everyone, should read it.That is all.

  • Allan
    2019-02-02 16:05

    What a fascinating book. Since the death of Dawn Brancheau, books about whales and dolphins have almost become a new genre; with several titles being released over the last few years. I was expecting this book to cover mostly familiar ground. That is definitely not the case. Ms. Casey brings the reader to locations as diverse as the whale museum of Taiji, the Solomon Islands, the Big Island of Hawaii, and the coast of Santorini. The book makes a great primer to understand the relationship between humans and dolphins; from ancient days to today. For anyone interested in the lives of dolphins today, particularly the threats they face from human beings, I would recommend this book. A great read!

  • Darkbutterfly
    2019-02-09 14:20

    This is an amazing book! Covers all the relevant information and studies regarding the issues and where they stand today. Information like this is the only way that anything will really get done for the welfare of dolphins and whales. Anybody who cares really needs to read this book!

  • John Caviglia
    2019-01-28 12:02

    Much as I liked this book, I wanted to like it better. As one who in a kayak has frequently “hung out” with bottlenose dolphins, I was hoping to understand these magnificent creatures better, and I did not get nearly as much of that as I hoped for. Much as I admire the author’s actual forays into the cetacean element, what I got from the “journey” of the title, mostly, is the author hopping a plane to go somewhere and better record man’s inhumanity to these supremely sentient beings, or—in startling contrast—their quasi-deification by New Age folks—interview, after interview, followed by interview ... not of cetacean, but of man. Obviously—this is the inescapable and underlying irony driven like a stake through the heart of this book—no human can really interview a dolphin ... so the voices of the title are ipso facto unheard. Let me be clear: I object not so much to having to absorb the catastrophic, sad depravity of human slaughterers, or the “woo-woo” conventions in Hawaii, as to the ultimate focus on man. This is less a book about “voices” in oceans, than an account of a totally failed communication—when man even deigns to listen.

  • Elizabeth☮
    2019-02-21 11:17

    Ever since I can recall, I have loved dolphins. This is something my friends and family know about me (just recently my mother gave me a ring with a dolphin on it). Casey has sealed the deal with why dolphins are our elders. Their brains are intricate webs of understanding. They stay in pods and develop elaborate relationships within their families. Dolphins use tools, they grieve, they frolic, they are curious. Dolphins engage with their world in ways we can't even begin to fathom.Man's hubris has taken a toll on our friends in the ocean. These effects may be beyond repair. This truly breaks my heart. I want the world to be a better place for my girls and I fear we have ravaged the ocean to the point of no return. There are chapters that highlight man's brutality and ignorance in ways that are difficult for me to take in. But Casey gives us the other side of humanity as well. The cultures that celebrate the dolphin; the men and women that put themselves in the line of fire for all cetaceans' welfare; the scientists that are working to unravel the ways dolphins (and other cetaceans) interact with the world. This gives me hope.

  • Liam
    2019-02-10 13:56

    I wasn’t sure how I should review this book, but since I found it in the natural history section I will review as such.This book is fluff; it’s well written and occasionally engaging fluff but fluff nevertheless. Susan Casey makes it clear that she is not a scientist. To me, this does not excuse her from invoking words that she has clearly has no understanding of, such as evolution.The way she argues a point is also unsettling. Anyone who got as far as her ramblings on the intelligence of dolphins could see where this was most obvious. She makes a statement, presents it as fact without any corroborating evidence, and it’s usually a small point that a fair number of people will agree with. From there she will use the, “then isn’t it possible?” stance. This specious way of arguing a point has no place in natural history.I was less than impressed with the inclusion of Joan Ocean and her cult. This woman deserves no free advertising for her business. If you’re actually interested in dolphins, this book should only be used as a reason to seek credible sources.

  • Susan Allison-Dean
    2019-01-25 12:07

    I pre-ordered this book immediately once I read that Casey had a transformational experience that eased her grief while swimming with a wild dolphin. Once it came, I gobbled it up. Part memoir, part investigative journalism, Casey scoured the world past and present to try and identify just what is it that makes dolphins so magical? Her findings are thought provoking. There are some questions that I would love to have seen her ask the dolphin experts she had contact with. Susan, if you read this, I would love to discuss these further with you.I will (and already have) be recommending this book highly!

  • Meri
    2019-02-10 08:57

    Dolphins are fascinating. They are some of the most intelligent mammals on the planet, and they inhabit a realm we still know little about. This book is as much about dolphins as it is about our own, often strange, reactions to them, which makes it all the more readable. Casey talks about dolphin brains and communication, speaks to dolphin researchers, activists, and new age gurus, and illustrates some lovely weird humanity. There is a strong conservation message in the book, which is hard to ignore.

  • Kathleen Nightingale
    2019-02-06 16:09

    I liked this book but it left me lacking and wanting to know more. I found that Casey went in circles, kinda of like how Dolphins like to circle, as she told the story. I expected more scientific knowledge and being given a clearer understanding of Dolphins and except for coming to the conclusion that Dolphins are virtually as smart as humans I didn't get too much out of this book. I was just left disappointed.

  • Alexa
    2019-02-13 09:14

    Prayers have healed people? Get tf outta here with that nonsense. I hate to DNF a book about dolphins but maybe I can find one that doesn't try to tell me fairies are real too.

  • Melissa
    2019-02-10 10:08

    This was as hard to rate as a graphic WWII concentration camp memoir. However, since the world of money and marketing give the appearance that "smiling" dolphins love their captivity as much as you and I love our freedom, it is definitely worth a read. I'm giving it 4 stars because I highly recommend it to those souls who want to avoid being a theme park marketing shill after a "happy dolphin" encounter, and to those who are looking for that little nudge they needed to join PETA.I thought this book would be more about what science has learned about dolphin behavior and biology, but after reading about the pain, suffering, and death toll involved in gaining that information, I'm glad it focused more on awareness and conservation efforts. Very glad.(Spoiler Alert.....most people won't read the book, but need to at least see the summary)The author offered many interesting facts about dolphins and cetaceans - their intelligence, personality, affection, sonar communication, unique brain structure, ability to call each other "by name", their advanced brain activity in general, and their deep feelings and loyalties. But, she also exposed the harsh reality that they are stuck on this planet with us - the barbarians with better tools, opposable thumbs, and a God-complex.The amount of pollution everyday people and industry contribute to the ocean is mind-boggling. The experiments we've done on dolphins were VERY hard to hear about. The capture, separation from family pods, and enslavement in parks is heartbreaking - as is human trafficking. The fact that dolphins can easily commit suicide by willfully withholding their next breath is horrifying considering how many die in captivity for "unknown reasons" annually. The numbers killed in mass murders by fisherman who see them as competition for "their" fish is unbearable. The willful use of sonar by the Navy, knowing that it causes irreversible damage to cetaceans, disorients and hurts them, and even causes large numbers to beach themselves with blood spewing from their eyes and ears was too alarming to even accept. (I fact checked it, therefore must accept it....Supreme Court approved activity, no less.) Sigh.Note to ponder: It would be interesting to see how many humans would accept random sonar blasts in "their" homes - the kind that cause the same pain, paralysis, and liquified brain matter we consider acceptable for dolphins and whales - I mean, it's okay if it's a matter of National Security, right?!Thankfully, the book ended with a story about the Minoans (pre-1700BC), who cherished the dolphins, saw dolphins as angelic guides, and lived in harmony with the ocean's inhabitants. The Minoans left us with beautiful frescoes that celebrated nature and our co-existence with it, unlike most "modern" civilizations that celebrate war, conquest, plunder, and victory. This ending leaves the reader with a little hope that it IS in us to wake up, stop polluting the waterways, over-fishing the oceans, killing for sport or matters of convenience, and definitely stop using sonar.Remember, "the appearance" that dolphins are smiling - doesn't mean they are.

  • Lynne
    2019-01-31 08:03

    More of a summary than a review!This book is both fascinating and infuriating. The detailed and well documented information about the animals of the oceans; particularly whales and dolphins is fascinating. The data related to how humans continue to mistreat these amazingly intelligent, special, and endangered animals are both sickening and infuriating. Greed raises its ugly head throughout the examples of these negative behaviors. The reader travels with the author to Seaworld-type facilities where we get a look at the disgusting underbelly of their operations and learn of the lack of control, oversight, regulations or penalties for the capture and/or maltreatment of these highly evolved and sentient animals. We ride with the author on research boats where dedicated professionals are putting their hearts, souls and expertise into checking on the condition of pods of many species of whales/dolphins. They share their data with governments, fisheries, and also with the military who continues to destroy these endangered sea mammals, as well as other sea creatures, by sonar experiments, explosions underwater and international war games. Oil Companies searching the ocean floor for more drilling sites use even higher decibel explosions than the military. These underwater explosions kill outright or do such physical damage to the internal organs that the whales/dolphins and other sea creatures die a slow excruciating death. Another problem for all living things are the extreme levels of toxins in the oceans that kill thousands. When mass beachings of dying whales occur, autopsies show major amounts of toxins in their organs. These toxins are from factories, farms, tons of human trash, etc. Although this book contains all this distressing information, the author's writing style captures the readers and draws us in as participants in an adventure that holds attention easily and keeps us reading. She relates many wonderful stories of amazing things these animals do, the times they have saved people at sea, and their affection for each other and some humans that have befriended them. An interesting chapter towards the end of the book finds the author in Greece, on an island that once was inhabited by Minoans around 1600 BC. Sadly, their volcano exploded burying the island in ash. Only in the 20th century did archeologists dig down through tons of ash to find the town. Among many discoveries was artwork, which was quite sophisticated, and included drawings of dolphins in friendly and helpful scenes that indicate the dolphins were highly regarded and very important to the Minoans. It also shows that over 3000 years ago people recognized the high level of intelligence of dolphins.This book deals with critical problems that continue to escalate. However, it is written in such a way that it is difficult to put down. It is definitely worth reading!

  • John
    2019-02-12 15:57

    The author was inspired to research and write this book after a spontaneous encounter with a dolphin pod while swimming in Hawaii.I have also been lucky enough to have such an encounter in nearly the same place. While swimming pretty far out on a training swim for the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon I became surrounded by a pod of spinner dolphins who hung around for several minutes coming very close. And then they started JUMPING! Jumping WAY out of the water doing spins and flips. It was beyond incredible and one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was in awe. They are just such fascinating special creatures with remarkable intelligence and abilities which we are only beginning to comprehend.Which is why this was a tough book to read. It makes me angry. And also very sad and frustrated. These magnificent highly social highly intelligent creatures have lived for millions of years perfectly adapted to their challenging and dangerous environment and have thrived. And in the span of a hundred or so years we are destroying them and their environment at an alarmingly rapid rate and it is only accelerating. Some places like "The Cove" in Japan and the Solomon Islands go to great lengths to murder as many dolphins as possible. For greed and supposedly "cultural reasons". It simply ISN'T RIGHT for any reason. Makes me ashamed to be part of humanity. And then there are the marine parks which steal these incredibly social animals from their families and put them in a tiny (for them) prison cell. It is beyond wrong. This book details many of these abuses and is a good source to learn the many ways we are decimating the dolphins and whales. I hope a lot of people read this or watch documentaries like THE COVE or BLACKFISH so public pressure can be brought to bear before we lose them.Read this book and learn why dolphins and whales are so special and how important it is to end the abuses and start protecting them before it is too late.BOYCOTT SEAWORLD!!!! And any other marine park. For that matter boycott zoos too. They are all unethical animal prisons.

  • Amanda
    2019-02-09 16:19

    Don't ever ask me to pick which Susan Casey book is my favorite because I can't and I won't. Her books always go above and beyond my expectations. This book was brought home ever more by the death of SeaWorld's last captive born calf, Kyara, on the day I finished this book (7.24.17). After reading through the comments on SeaWorld's press release of her passing, it's shocking how ignorant the general public continues to be on the issue of cetacean captivity. They seem to have no idea the horrors the animals are put through and continue to believe the lie than any wild creature can receive five star care when they are housed in a concrete tank with other animals that could hardly be said to be their "pod". It infuriates and saddens me that this is still an issue and that humans can be so cruel to those we share this planet with. I encourage anyone and everyone to read any book on the captivity issue and if you're not one to read non-fiction or read at all, then just watch The Cove or Blackfish. I challenge anyone to watch or read any account of the cetacean trade and not realize what a colossal mistake ever starting the trend was.

  • Sarah Ferguson
    2019-02-22 16:15

    I read this book so you don't have to!I really enjoyed Ms. Casey's book "The Devil's Teeth," so I was looking forward to reading this one. I would even say I was predisposed to enjoy it because of the other book of hers I had read.I hated this book. From its two chapters devoted to a woman who believes dolphins have underwater portals to communicate with aliens/travel to alien worlds (nearly 20% of the book!), to its wild speculations about Minoan civilization, this book is light on science (to the point where it is almost non-existent) and heavy on the new age/hippie view of dolphins. It's too bad, because I was really looking forward to learning more about these smart and fascinating creatures. Add in a healthy dose of anti-military sentiment (when it would have been easy to at least attempt to get an opposing viewpoint - which she did not appear to do, at least from what I read), and there is nothing to recommend this book. If anything, I feel sorry for the dolphins - if this is the sort of book and the type of people who are advocating for them, they are in serious trouble.

  • Tatjana
    2019-02-18 15:18

    This book was kind of a rollercoaster ride for me.I'd just gone to a dolphin encounter and everything felt wrong to me- and then I saw a dolphin look at me with the eyes you see in dogs in shelters...This happened to be on the shelf at the library and I picked it up. I enjoyed most of it. The parts I didn't enjoy were the ones that made me feel rotten inside for us all. I hoped it would leave me feeling hopeful but it didn't... which is good because that tension means I'm on the hook. I appreciate that honesty in a book. It's made a big impact on my life and I've chosen to change my behavior based on the information presented. If you are looking for something squishy, this book is not it. It does have squishy bits to temper the hard edges (and keep you from slitting your wrists) but mostly it gives you the real, unvarnished deal.If you give a **** about whales, read this book or listen to the audio book. It'll make you a grounded, informed fan.