By Jaime Cary
Mountain to Sound Outfitters
When people come to visit the Pacific Northwest, they frequently come in search of wild orca. Although the indigenous people of the area have had an intimate relationship with the largest member of the dolphin family for millennia, very little is known about these animals by the general public. Often, their only exposure is through SeaWorld shows and movies like Free Willy. In Of Orcas and Men, David Neiwert presents cultural history and scientific research that dives deeply into the lives of these cetaceans, examines the collapse of wild orca populations, and delves into what humanity’s relationship with these whales can tell us about ourselves.
David Neiwert is a Seattle based investigative journalist specializing in domestic terrorism and disputes along the border, who has had a long interest in Killer Whales. In Of Orcas and Men, he examines the thorny relationship humans have had with whales, from the dramatic and often deadly capture of juvenile whales in Puget Sound as recently as the 70’s, to the response to the 2013 documentary Blackfish. Well researched and beautifully written, his book flawlessly mixes scientific research and personal narrative. He focuses on the whale populations of the Salish Sea, giving context to their collapsing populations, while offering solace and hope through stories about several specific whales.
This book is a fantastic examination of how we exist in the world with other fascinating species and how our relationships with them can define who we are. Similar to The Soul of an Octopus and Into Great Silence, Neiwert’s book is a fast paced, hard to put down treatise that is highly recommended. This book is available for purchase at Mountain to Sound Outfitters.
If you’ve already read Of Orcas and Men, there are events taking place in the Seattle area for Orca Month where you can learn more about the creatures we share the Sound with, and the challenges they face.