Support the news

Leviathan: A Whaling History44:21

This article is more than 11 years old.
It was young men, big money, high-risk and do-or-die, lightning-speed action — and we're not talking hedge fund traders here. When America was young and the earth's seas were teeming, the big juicy score, the fast money, was in whaling.

Adventurous risk-takers with their eyes on the golden prize set out on the high seas with full sail and harpoon — and crews making peanuts. They brought home the great whales and casks of ambergris and oil that made the nation's first fortunes.

Today we say "save the whales." Then they said: "boil them."

This hour, On Point: when whalers ruled the earth.


Eric Jay Dolin, author of "Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America" and former policy analyst for the National Marine Fisheries Service

This program aired on September 24, 2007.

+Join the discussion

Support the news