Philip Hoare's wonderful book is a meandering meditation on the great cetaceans and on mankind's troubled relationship with these extraordinary creatures. It rambles through history, philosophy and biology with a marvellous lack of apparent structure; being a big baggy animal with unexpected corners at every turn of the page. (Very suitable, given its subject). There is a long and fascinating section on the genesis of Melville's "Moby Dick" and intimate portraits of the major characters and whaling centres of North America and Europe. A chilling survey of the carnage wreaked on the great Rorquals during the latter phase of the 20th Century is balanced by a moving account of Hoare's own personal encounters with whales. Such was my enthusiasm for the book and my wish to pass on copies to friends that what I needed (I thought) was another copy in which the ropey pictures of the paperback edition are replaced with something much better. Of course, I thought to myself, these will surely be found in the original hardback edition? Wrong.
So, in short, although you should indeed get a copy of this marvellous book; you will be perfectly happy with the paperback. The latter is, in every respect - right down to the pagination and poorly reproduced photographs, identical to the hardback. So you do NOT need to shell out your hard-earned sponduliks for this one.
On the other hand, my misplaced assumptions are hardly the fault of Braydon Books, who supplied exactly what I had ordered with exemplary alacrity and decent (if flimsy) packaging.