Big Miracle Paperback – Unabridged, 5 Jan 2012
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The story that captivated the world, now a major film.
About the Author
Tom Rose, who covered the story of the whales in 1988, went on to become publisher and CEO of the Jerusalem Post. Today he is a talk show host and lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Top customer reviews
The fun part is the local TV station, satellite link, National Guard, oil company and reporters from media around the world, culminating even with two Russian icebreakers, all trying to record, help and ultimately save the whales. Mainly because it's good PR. The only ones doing it because they should do it were really the Greenpeace worker and two inventors who had created a water fountain to stop ice closing a hole.
Rose shows many sides and histories to round out his story. He's quite cynical, talking about oil having stopped the whale hunting on an industrial scale, but never mentions the immense subsidies given to oil extraction and refining companies. If oil had been more costly to produce than whale oil, believe me there would be no whales left in the sea. The Iceland capitulation into ending whaling is explained as an outcome of this story, while the Japanese are described as hunting them for 'science' but Rose doesn't know what study is carried out. Actually, the whales have an ear bone which grows as the whale ages and the science done is looking at the ear bone and seeing how old whales were when they were butchered for meat, baby whales and all. That would not have been hard to research. And the Russians are described as killing grey whales and feeding them to mink.
I had never heard any of this Alaskan story, though I did hear at the time of the Exxon Valdez oil spill - and the Amoco Cadiz - and of the earthquake in Armenia referenced.
The writing is not great. Rose is clearly used to having an editor and writing shorter pieces. There are many spelling errors and personally I dislike Rose's inveterate way of saying, "Tuesday we went to Alaska," never inserting the preposition that would make this a sentence.
I'm glad to have read this book as it provides a lot of background, describing the Alaskan winter well, and gives a good look into the hardships of journalism and the preoccupation with media image which has grown to the present day.
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