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Sea of Slaughter [Paperback]

Farley Mowat
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 28 2003

The northeastern seaboard of Canada and the United States, extending from Labrador to Cape Cod, was the first region of North America to suffer from human exploitation. Farley Mowat, who has observed this region closely over the past forty years, informs the extensive historical and biological research with his direct experience of the natural world. When it was first published nearly twenty years ago, Sea of Slaughter served as a warning to humanity and a catalyst for environment reform, raising awareness of the decline and destruction of marine and coastal species. As timely today as it was on first publication, this classic is now available to a new generation of readers. Monumental in scope and chilling, Sea of Slaughter was and certainly still is required reading for anyone concerned with the increasingly precarious state of our world. (April 2003) This book is the first in The Farley Mowat Library. Forthcoming classic titles to be reissued include The Snowwalker, And No Birds Sang (Fall 2003.)


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Review

"A hymn and a plea for life, yet also a symphony of death...a caring, compassionate, prophetic vision...as Farley Mowat shows so well, there are no more excuses."
-The Globe and Mail

"In this masterpiece, Canada's most beloved naturalist-author is as angry about the assult on the living sea as Rachel Carson was about the land in Silent Spring."
-Roger Tory Peterson --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"A hymn and a plea for life, yet also a symphony of death...a caring, compassionate, prophetic vision...as Farley Mowat shows so well, there are no more excuses."
-The Globe and Mail

"In this masterpiece, Canada's most beloved naturalist-author is as angry about the assult on the living sea as Rachel Carson was about the land in Silent Spring."
-Roger Tory Peterson --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps you�re not the slaughtering kind� April 6 2000
Format:Paperback
Since reading Mowat's "Sea of Slaughter," I can't get a certain picture out of my mind. It is of a sandy ocean beach, miles and miles long, where tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of morse came to socialize every summer until the middle of last century. The morse, or northern walrus, was a stupendous animal, of impressive bearing: a veritable lion of the sea. Yet it comes no more to those grounds, once the largest colony of its kind, out on Canada's Magdalene Islands, off the coast of Québec.
To think that the morse were just a side-show to it all. To think that eventually, with the same energy and relentless mechanical force, we would come to decimate the northern fishery more or less entirely, leaving thousands of perplexed fisher folk stranded in coastal villages, wondering perhaps, just where that many fish could possibly have gone.
On land, as in the water, nature's bounty was scarcely less prolific, the European's first reaction, scarcely less horrendous. Could this be the true, unknown history of North America, lying behind and directly concerning those early pilots and navigators like Cabot and Columbus. 400 or more years of unbelievably short-sighted culling of mighty herds, whether they were whales or bison or a hundred other species of birds and mammals known to have been hunted to the last. This is Mowat's sad chronicle. This is his portrait of what one day perhaps, will generally be known and accepted as history. And the only thing that may stop us is that we find we really don't want to ever learn this sort of truth.
Besides being a remarkable contribution to the literature of ecology and environment, this is also one of Mowat's finest personal efforts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Will change your worldview forever Nov. 12 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book goes about the most heart-wrenching task - noting all the animals we've killed in North America - with none of the usual environmentalist emotional sentimentality. Mowat logically and systematically provides evidence of our wholesale slaughter by categories (land, sea, air) and species. Incredibly well written , and some of the first person historical accounts he unearths are shocking and shameful. This book will move you, anger you, and stay with you. Look in the sky - how many birds do you see? This book provides the sad answer why.
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5.0 out of 5 stars shocking and utterly mind-blowing July 26 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Mowat wanted to write about life, humanity, and extinction. Obviously the topic was too broad, so he narrowed himself down to just discussing the North Atlantic and parts of the New World. I finished this book and was stunned by how much life there USED to be around here. Polar bears in Massachusetts? 12-foot sturgeon in the Chesapeake? Birds flocking in the millions that I had never even heard of? WE NEED MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS AND WE ALL NEED TO READ THEM!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps you�re not the slaughtering kind� April 6 2000
By Owen Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Since reading Mowat's "Sea of Slaughter," I can't get a certain picture out of my mind. It is of a sandy ocean beach, miles and miles long, where tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of morse came to socialize every summer until the middle of last century. The morse, or northern walrus, was a stupendous animal, of impressive bearing: a veritable lion of the sea. Yet it comes no more to those grounds, once the largest colony of its kind, out on Canada's Magdalene Islands, off the coast of Québec.
To think that the morse were just a side-show to it all. To think that eventually, with the same energy and relentless mechanical force, we would come to decimate the northern fishery more or less entirely, leaving thousands of perplexed fisher folk stranded in coastal villages, wondering perhaps, just where that many fish could possibly have gone.
On land, as in the water, nature's bounty was scarcely less prolific, the European's first reaction, scarcely less horrendous. Could this be the true, unknown history of North America, lying behind and directly concerning those early pilots and navigators like Cabot and Columbus. 400 or more years of unbelievably short-sighted culling of mighty herds, whether they were whales or bison or a hundred other species of birds and mammals known to have been hunted to the last. This is Mowat's sad chronicle. This is his portrait of what one day perhaps, will generally be known and accepted as history. And the only thing that may stop us is that we find we really don't want to ever learn this sort of truth.
Besides being a remarkable contribution to the literature of ecology and environment, this is also one of Mowat's finest personal efforts. You can see by the very nature of the material that it took a being of remarkable strength just to tackle a project like this, let alone bring it to a conclusion. It's probably true that one can prepare all one's life for just one event. In Mowat's case, without negating any other part of his remarkable œuvre, this may just be it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slaughter for Profit Aug. 6 2005
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Passionate, well-written account of what has become of animal life in North America since the arrival of the Europeans in the early 1500's. Amazing. I will never look at the world in the same way. Farley Mowat, focusing on the North-east of North America, paints a vivid picture of what animal life was like from 1500 to the present, frequently quoting those who saw it in its near natural state hundreds of years ago -- the great awk, the white bear, the buffalo, the whales, the dolphins, the seals. The European intruders saw this great abundance of life as an opportunity for profit, saw the millions of whales as so many tons of train oil. From one chapter to the next, the animal "nations" were slaughtered with no thought of the future, until there was no more profit to be made. "Sea of Slaughter", as sad and painful as it is, is a must-read book. A sampling of Farley Mowat's words (I am sure he won't mind):

"So ends the story of how the Sea of Whales became a Sea of Slaughter as, one by one, from the greatest to the least, each in turn according to its monetary worth, the several cetacean nations perished in a roaring holocaust fuelled by human avarice.

Now that there are no longer enough of them remaining to be of any significant commercial value, the fires that consumed their kinds are burning down. But it is unlikely -- our instincts being what they are -- that even the far flung scattering of survivors will ever be secure from our rapacity unless, and until, they receive worldwide protection.

Surely this is the least we can do to make atonement for the evil we have done to them. And it WAS evil -- of that, make no mistake."
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars shocking and utterly mind-blowing July 26 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mowat wanted to write about life, humanity, and extinction. Obviously the topic was too broad, so he narrowed himself down to just discussing the North Atlantic and parts of the New World. I finished this book and was stunned by how much life there USED to be around here. Polar bears in Massachusetts? 12-foot sturgeon in the Chesapeake? Birds flocking in the millions that I had never even heard of? WE NEED MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS AND WE ALL NEED TO READ THEM!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A shaking litany of slaughter by humans Sept. 30 2005
By M. Roman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book should be read by everyone who cares about animals. It is a sad litany of what humans can do in search of greed. Mowatt has assembled facts and figures that bring to life the slaughter of species that is still going on. One wonders what could have been done and what still can be done to stop more animal slaughter.

SOS is at once depressing and then an awakening to us all.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mowat at his best May 2 2009
By M. G. Bailey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What is really happening to species in the oceans? Why have we finally fotten some international controls in place? Read this book and you will find out why. At points it is sickening and not for the faint of heart, but it is LIFE not only for the mammals, but for humans also. It is the truth he speaks, and every word he writes. This book is for people who either put their heads in the sand and don't want to know what is going on in the world, and gives fuel and puts the smoking gun into the hands of those willing to speak out and change things for the better.
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