"It changes you in ways that are impossible to undo," Horwitz says. "Because of this, for me, this book is only partly about naval sonar and whales. At heart it addresses the question: What makes an effective change agent?"
Two of the heroes described in the book who took on the United States Navy -- Dr. Ken Balcomb, a whale biologist and former navy lieutenant, and Joel Reynolds, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council -- share the same fierce tenacity.
Further, says Horwitz, "The subtitle of my book, War of the Whales: A True Story could easily have been A Love Story. My book narrates the clash between two cultures -- the military and conservationists -- both of whom cared deeply about whales and the oceans, but for fundamentally different reason. They all were touched in different ways by their powerful encounters with these mysterious animals."
Horwitz goes on:
"The Navy had become enthralled by the notion of reverse engineering cetacean biosonar so they could apply that biotechnology to improving their submarine detection sonar. In pursuit of this Holy Grail, the Navy essentially created -- and certainly became the primary patron of -- the scientific discipline of marine mammalogy. But what decades of Navy-funded research have taught us is that no matter how deeply we delve into their biology and neurology and behavior, their true natures remain mysterious and elusive."