Joshua Horwitz spent six years researching the story of the marine biologist and the environmental lawyer whose battle against the US Navy and its secret underwater sonar programs went all the way to the Supreme Court. The result, War of the Whales, is one of those rare nonfiction books that reads like fiction "“ in this case, a delightful mashup of Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy, Stephen Ambrose and David Halberstam.
War of the Whales was named Amazon's Best Book of the Month "Spotlight" pick for July. In my review I described it as "a gripping and wholly original tale of the ecological side effects of national security" and "a rare trifecta of a book: important, highly readable, and stunningly true."
I reached out to Horwitz to ask about his favorite books (duh, Moby Dick), and, as a bonus he shared a couple of cool whale photos.
Describe your book in one sentence?
Whales and submarines collide inside world's deepest underwater canyon.
Or: Two men take on world's largest navy to save whales.
What's on your nightstand/bedside table/Kindle?
- Death if Ivan Illyich and other Stories (Peaver & Volokhonsky translation)
- Fearless in Tibet, by Matteo Pistono
- Couples, by John Updike
Top 3-5 favorite books of all time?
- Miller's Tropic of Capricorn
- Barth's The Sotweed Factor
- Chabon's Yiddish Policeman's Union
- Eugenides' Middlesex
Favorite books about whales?
Moby Dick -- what else?
Favorite book as a child?
Tarzan, King of the Apes series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
What are you obsessed with now?
How few books teenagers--including my daughters--seem to be reading for pleasure.
What's your most prized/treasured possession?
What do you collect?
Daughters, apparently. (I've got three.)
Where lies the final harbor whence we unmoor no more? (from Moby Dick)
What's next for you?
More reading, less writing.
What was the best piece of advice you ever got? From whom?
From Martin Scorcese, as returning NYU fillm alum speaking to us wannabees, on editing. (He was speaking about film editing, but applies equally to text.) -- "Begin with a scalpel, end with an axe."