While I did not live in Astoria, Oregon during the “Free Willy period,” it is my hometown, and my family and I still occasionally enjoy the the results of the extensive re-work that was done to the Oregon Coast Aquarium just down the coast from it following the housing of the Orca (actually named Keiko) who was rescued and subsequently released back to the wild as the result of the publicity surrounding the film.

Of course, since those long-lost seemingly idyllic days, the public perception – due in no small part to the success of the film Blackfish – of keeping cetaceans, particularly Orcas, in captivity has taken a decidedly downward turn from the family-friendly spectacle it once was. But where did all this fascination with keeping these enormous marine mammals in captivity first begin, and how did the general public become so enamored of them in the first place?

The May, Oxford University Press will be releasing a new book by Professor Jason M. Colby of the University of Victoria titled Orca; How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean’s Greatest Predator in which these, and many similar questions will be examined and, it is hoped, effectively answered.