Red Leviathan: The Secret History of Soviet Whaling

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Product Details
$30.00  $27.90
University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.1 X 1.2 inches | 1.32 pounds

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About the Author
Ryan Tucker Jones is the Ann Swindells Associate Professor of history at the University of Oregon. He is the author of Empire of Extinction: Russians and the North Pacific's Strange Beasts of the Sea, 1741-1867 and coeditor of Across Species and Cultures: New Histories of Pacific Whaling.
"A gripping and heart-breaking chronicle of the Soviet regime's war (not a 'conflict', 'special operation' or any other euphemism) against the freedom of our natural environment and its inhabitants it wanted to dominate."-- "Engineering and Technology"
"Jones asks why the Soviets embarked on this irrational and destructive journey, and how they got away with it--until they didn't. One answer (worth bearing in mind in view of the latest battleground over gas pipelines and wheat fields in Ukraine) is that pride, competition, and a sense of historical injustice motivated Soviet whaling far more than commercial considerations. . . . Ultimately it wasn't economics or ideology but a growing spotlight on these practices that put an end to the carnage. . . . As whale populations begin to revive, Jones shows the power of a handful of environmental activists on tiny inflatable Zodiac boats, pushing back against a tide of destruction."-- "Times Literary Supplement"
"Almost everything about this book is astonishing. Jones teaches environmental history, but he writes like a virtuoso journalist. . . This text is emotionally affecting but objective, not sentimental--altogether describable as a tour de force."-- "Choice"
"This is a really important story. Jones has set out to reframe much of what we know about twentieth-century environmental history, particularly of the oceans. His archival work is extraordinarily impressive, and the oral history interviews with Russian whalers and marine biologists are, to my knowledge, unique in English-language historical scholarship. But it is Jones's incorporation of whale science and his own personal vignettes that make this book special. Soviet whaling had the single greatest impact on world whale populations in the postwar period, but no other historian has told its inside story. Red Leviathan is a game-changer."--Jason M. Colby, University of Victoria, author of "Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean's Greatest Predator"
"American environmentalists are inclined to see the United States' Cold War opponent as a villain. Telling the story of the Soviet role in modern whaling, Jones complicates this perspective by acknowledging the Soviets' disproportionate impact while also looking beyond it. He illuminates the contradictions and tensions among different players within the Soviet whaling industry--whalers, the whale scientists who worked with them, and other Russians not directly involved in but still impacted by and shaping the demands of the industry. From the first attempts at whaling in Peter's Russia to the protest era and pushback against whaling by Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherds, Red Leviathan combines thorough research and great storytelling to fill a necessary gap in the history of global whaling."--Jakobina K. Arch, Whitman College, author of "Bringing Whales Ashore: Oceans and the Environment of Early Modern Japan"
"A very well-researched, readable, and well-illustrated book that provides a fascinating new insight into what was effectively the end of the 'modern whaling' era."-- "Marine Biologist"