Joshua wins a cash award of $10,000 and will be honored at the PEN Literary Awards. Click here for more information.
What the judges had to say:
Joshua Horwitz’s ‘War of the Whales’ begins with the mysterious and disturbing marine mammal stranding that took place in the Bahamas in 2000—the ‘largest multispecies stranding ever recorded’—with more than a dozen beaked whales washing ashore, some dead, many bleeding from their ears. When marine biologist Ken Balcomb investigates the cause, suspecting a new, high-intensity ocean-wide sonar being tested by the Navy to hide its submarines, he is undermined and stymied at every turn by formidable and secretive government agents. Horwitz’s dogged reporting—which matches Balcomb’s own intensity as he pursues the truth and puts his life on the line to hold the Navy accountable—combined with crisp, cinematic writing, produces a powerful narrative about the collision of technology in the name of national security and the seemingly quixotic attempt to preserve our living oceans. In exposing this largely unknown story, Joshua Horwitz raises crucial questions about how, as humans, we should regard our relationship to other intelligent, socially complex mammals. He has written a book that is instructive and passionate and deserving a wide audience.