Joshua Horwitz, the co-founder and publisher of Living Planet Books, has written a brilliant book on the plight of the whales. He astonishes us with the breadth and depth of his coverage of why whales are dying as a result of sonar systems in the oceans, the legal battle between environmental groups and the U.S. Navy, and the pain and suffering resulting from the "unintended consequences " of keeping the United States safe.

Anyone who loves whales will be heartbroken as they read Horwitz's account of the 17 whales of several species that stranded themselves on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas on March 15, 2000. The author introduces us to the work of marine biologist Ken Balcomb who spent years studying the presence and habits of beaked whales in the Atlantic. He also covers the lawsuits brought by Joel Reynolds of the Natural Resources Defense Council which proved that the Navy was conducting war games using sonar when the whales washed up on the beaches of Abaco. This important legal battle went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2008.

Horwitz does a fine job conveying the harm that can be done to marine mammals by noise pollution. It can have dire effect on their ability to hunt, migrate. and locate mates. He also reveals that laws protecting whales have not been strictly enforced around the world. It comes as no surprise that despite the Herculean efforts of Balcomb the whistle-blower and Reynolds the lawyer, the national security concerns of the Navy continue to take precedent over the safety of the whales. A example is the recent announcement that President Barack Obama was signing an executive order creating the world's largest marine reserve, cordoning off 782,000 square miles of the Pacific ocean from commercial fishing and fossil fuel exploration. But — here's the kicker — this area is not off-limits to the Navy's sonar exercises!

The most hopeful thing about War of the Whales is that it will reinvigorate the Save the Whales movement which needs to keep its ideas and ideals before the American public.

Take Action for Whales

The National Resources Defense Council, whose legal work is covered in the book War of the Whales continues to defend whales from deadly sonar and explosives used in the U.S. Navy's training exercises off the East Coast, Southern California, Hawaii, and the Gulf Coast. After the Navy’s own environmental review conceded it could kill nearly 1,000 marine mammals … cause more than 13,000 serious injuries … and inflict more than three million cases of temporary hearing loss, the NRDC once again went to court to stop this assault on whales. Read more about the NRDC's work, take action by signing a letter to President Obama, and donate to help the cause at this web page.

Oceana, the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation, is raising awareness and working to find solutions to problems in the world's oceans caused by over-fishing and destructive fishing practices, pollution, and rising carbon dioxide levels in the water. When in July 2014 the Obama Administration authorizing the use of seismic airgun blasting for offshore oil drilling off the U.S. East Coast, Oceana noted that these blast threaten to injure or kill up to 138,200 marine mammals—including endangered right whales—and devastate coastal communities who depend on tourism, fishing, and coastal recreation. Visit to learn more about protecting the oceans and the whales who live in them. You can also sign a letter to President Obama expressing your commitment to not allowing seismic blasting permits.