Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World

Natural History writer Todd McLeish has published his third book about rare wildlife, this one about narwhals, the northernmost whale on the planet and the one most threatened by global warming. Its seven-foot long spiral tusk—which helped to spawn the unicorn myth and which has caused a heated disagreement about its purpose—has created a genuine sense of wonder and mythology about this amazing animal. Titled Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World, Todd’s third book engages readers in an exciting examination of the many questions and curiosities that surround the sea unicorn.

This exciting book takes readers on several first-person adventures far above the Arctic Circle to see and study these remarkable whales. Todd joins several teams of narwhal researchers that are trying to answer the many questions that remain about the animal’s life cycle; visits the laboratories of a group of dental researchers delving deep into the mysteries of its tusk; met with the Inuit to learn about their narwhal legends and observed them on their annual narwhal hunts; and examined centuries-old logbooks from whalers and explorers for early observations and insights into these curious marine mammals. Along the way he learned about the many other unique animals living in the narwhal’s frozen world, from walruses and polar bears to bowhead and beluga whales, ivory gulls and two kinds of seals.

What They're Saying

“Todd McLeish takes us far in several dimensions—across space, through time, and into the interiors of the human mental landscape—to paint a vivid and eloquent portrait of an animal seldom seen, wrongly imagined, and too often mistreated. This is one of those rare books that lifts you up and takes you in.”
— Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean

"If you were one of those kids who pored over back issues of National Geographic, desperately wanting to know more about the Earth's most fantastical creatures, McLeish's narwhal odyssey is the book for you. Full of biological detail and adventure it captures in living color a species that may be gone before we even got a chance to properly know it."
—Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish

"Narwhals is more than a 'whale of a tale' that lovers of the sea will enjoy reading. It also gives the reader a firsthand glimpse into the lives of Arctic dwellers as they struggle to survive in a changing world."
—Robert D. Ballard, marine explorer and oceanographer


BlogBLOG "The Narwhal's Left Tooth"
Reflections on the Ice Whale of the Arctic

TwitterTWITTER Get timely messages from Todd about marine life.

TUNE IN and listen to Todd on Rhode Island Public Radio as he discusses his concerns about the narwhal’s future.

READ IT by ordering your copy of Todd's book online.

University of Washington Press.