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The Voice of the Dolphins
Hardy Jones

May 2011 / 145677533

Reviewed by Leslie Halpern

The Voice of the Dolphins follows three-decades in the life of Hardy Jones, executive director of, as he follows his passionate pursuit of filming, studying, and ultimately saving dolphins. He began his true-life adventure in 1957 when as a 16-year-old boy he had a close encounter with a dolphin while vacationing with his family at the Miami Seaquarium in Florida. Years later, when he began his professional career as a filmmaker and broadcast journalist, he directed his attention to ocean life.

What began as general exploration, however, became increasingly personal as Jones and his crew grew to know and interact with particular dolphins over the years. He actually named some of them, and reunited with these dolphins during repeat visits to the areas. After he witnessed Japanese hunts in which dolphins were routinely slaughtered while capturing tuna, his films became more than mere educational movies about the potential for inter-species communication and interaction; he also wanted a call to action in order to end these cruel rituals. In recent years, the focus of his research shifted again as dolphins (and other sea creatures) became ill and died from toxins in the water. Eventually, Jones also developed a form of blood cancer related to exposure to toxic chemicals. Thus his campaign to clean up the oceans became intensely personal.

In this well-written memoir enhanced with several illustrations and photographs, Jones explains complicated scientific elements without overloading readers with more jargon than necessary. The book becomes an interesting mix of science, personal memoir, and cautionary tale as he describes (through his own health crisis) how the threat to marine life becomes a threat to all.

Even without knowing anything about filmmaking, ocean life, pollutants, or medicine, most people will be able to relate to this adventure and sympathize with all those involved, as even the fisherman who slaughter the dolphins share their side of the story. The author, a recipient of numerous professional awards including a lifetime achievement award from the International Wildlife Film Festival, comes across as sincere, though perhaps overly sentimental at times. Nonetheless, Jones shares an important story everyone should read.

Reviewer Leslie Halpern is the author of Passionate About Their Work: 151 Celebrities, Artists, and Experts on Creativity.
Reviewed 2012
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