Posted by: Hendra Siry | 5 February, 2008

Ahab’s Trade: The Saga of South Seas Whaling

Ahab's Trade: The Saga of South Seas Whaling

Granville Allen Mawer, an Australian author, has written a rousing, largely anecdotal and occasionally elegant ”saga” of what he calls South Seas whaling. His work describes the details of the whaling trade and the life of the whalers in all its brutality and misery. It is profusely illustrated with period drawings, paintings and photographs. 

His book is one of complete documentary on whaling: the tools of the trade; the techniques for tracking and hunting whales; the methods for extracting whale oil; the difficult relationships among shipowners, captains and crewmen; the fluctuating economics of the whaling trade and its long decline into the 20th century. His tale begins about 1650, with shore-based whaling on the eastern end of Long Island, and ends with the wreck of the bark Wanderer off New Bedford, Mass., in 1924. Except for a brief epilogue, he suspends attention to modern mechanized whaling.Mawer provides an (at times overly) exhaustive account of South Sea whaling, a lucrative commercial enterprise that had its heyday in the early 19th century.

Book detail:

Hardcover: 378 pages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (February 5, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312228090
ISBN-13: 978-0312228095
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches

Source: Compiled from various reviews.


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