Although we generally think that man's association with the whale began some two centuries ago in New England, men have been hunting whales for nearly ten thousand years. A History of Whaling illuminates this fascinating aspect of human endeavor by combining many forgotten or neglected aspects of whaling with recent discoveries about whales themselves in a continuous, flowing narrative. There are many concurrent themes running through whaling history, and author Ivan T. Sanderson feels that they may be best displayed by means of six questions. Why did men go whaling? Who were the men who went whaling? Where did they go? How did they get there, and what did find? For Sanderson the answers to these questions mesh so exactly that pattern can be clearly discerned, a pattern the proceeds in an orderly manner and in regular steps not only in historical time but also with respect to the type of men involved, the places they went, the ships they used, and the whales they hunted. Man has hunted whales since the Neolithic period. The people of the Outer Hebrides on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Scotland hunted whales and the primitive Danes hunted whales in the North Sea. But this is barely the beginning of the story. A History of Whaling includes chapters on Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Norman, Japanese, British, American, and Norwegian whale hunters, and the span of time is from 10,000 B.C. to the mid-twentieth century.
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