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190 × 135 mm
208 pages
91 illustrations, 75 in colour
02 Dec 2013

Dolphin Alan Rauch

Humans love dolphins, and dolphins, it seems, love us: they have been known to encircle swimmers under attack by sharks. Yet although we think we know dolphins well, in fact most people are quite ill-informed about how they evolved, how they function as organisms and how they have interacted with humans for millennia. Dolphin offers a comprehensive view of the animal, describing both its remarkable zoology and its social and cultural history.

For centuries dolphins were believed to protect sailors and, by extension, became emblematic of safe travel, kindness and charity. In ancient Greece dolphins featured on coins, and it was considered a good omen for them to follow in a boat’s wake. In Hindu mythology the dolphin is associated with Ganga, the deity of the Ganges river. From the television series Flipper to the films The Day of the Dolphin and Johnny Mnemonic and books such as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, in which dolphins are represented as much more intelligent than humans, dolphins have captivated humans since time immemorial.

In Dolphin Alan Rauch draw on years of experience working with and studying dolphins to provide thoughtful insights into the ways in which we have interacted with and interpreted this delightful creature over the centuries.

‘The dolphin in history and mythology, in film and strip cartoon and in the world of new age philosophy is sensitvely covered in Dolphin. Less sympathetic is Rauch’s coverage of our exploitation of these beautiful creatures . . . Rauch impressively summarizes what we know of the biological basis of dolphin behaviour . . . Sympathetic, but critically engaging, Dolphin is a worthy addition to Reaktion Books’ Animal series.’ TLS

‘Rauch engages with one of our best loved marine mammals with a detail and depth not usually found in a popular science book. With a wealth of information presented in six chapters – ranging from zoology and physiology to dolphins and popular culture – the book has something for everyone. Rauch manages to gather together in one volume and in an informative way not only scientific information from research, which is referenced for further reading, but also the social and cultural history of the dolphin . . . Dolphin is a small and inexpensive gem of a book that packs a punch above its weight . . . Brimming with information accessible to all,  Rauch has used his experience with the subject matter to bring to life one of the most likeable and loved creatures on the planet.’ – The Biologist

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Alan Rauch is Professor of English at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA.