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Using animals as weapons

January 7, 2014

peterfishersodyssey
By Michal Ann McArthur, Bend
Author of Choking on a Camel

Her blog

Book Review: Peter Fisher’s Odyssey by Michael Greenwood

Peter Fisher’s Odyssey is a compelling story of a good man who loses his way. After leading a bloody mission as a Navy Seal during the Vietnam War, Peter Fisher resigns from the military with the intention of doing something more constructive and positive with his life. His noble intentions, however, are sidetracked when he accepts an offer from the CIA to take part in the ultrasecret project of training dolphins to become weapons of war. Without realizing it, he’s sucked into the power and money game, falls prey to the intoxication of self-importance, and can’t resist the exciting prospect of “controlling, manipulating, and using animal behavior in a way that’s never been done.” The story follows him as he devotes years to the training of dolphins for marine mammal warfare and then deploys them in an international conflict involving China and Russia. The action throughout the story is intense and exciting.

However, the novel is far more than a compelling read. Greenwood presents the urgent need to focus on improving life for all of mankind if we are to survive as a race. He makes an impassioned plea for us to settle our national scientific priorities: will we focus on improving life or destroying it? The book is also a political commentary, asking pointed questions about the wisdom of our allowing the CIA to operate as a country within a country, apart from meaningful oversight and the knowledge of the American people. The book is full of barbs, such as “Winning in Washington has nothing to do with being right, truthful, or moral.” It also delves into learning theory and the meaning of intelligence, addressing the question, “What is it that controls and initiates intelligent and abstract behavior?” Certainly, that’s a fascinating question worth considering, and Greenwood gives the reader much to ponder.

Down to the very last detail, Greenwood writes with authority. He worked for years for the US government to train dolphins for military use. The novel contains strong language, appropriate in the mouths of soldiers and sailors, but perhaps offensive to some readers. The novel is also in need of copyediting.

For readers interested in a book that addresses some of the most important issues facing the human race today, I wholeheartedly recommend Peter Fisher’s Odyssey. It’s a must-read.

  
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Discuss this article

Andrea Parunak January 7, 2014

This sounds like it must be a very exciting and thought-provoking read. I’m always glad to hear when people are addressing important questions in engaging ways. Thanks for letting us know about it!

Jrenner January 7, 2014

Thank you, Michal Ann, for your book review. I, too, have read Michael Greenwood’s book, “Peter Fisher’s Odyssey”. Mr. Greenwood’s book challenged, informed, astonished, and entertained me. I don’t need to add to your most excellent review. What I can say is that for me to choose a book on the subject of mammal warfare was quite a change for me. I was not disappointed. Up through the completion of the book, I was excited about picking it up again when I had to stop to attend to ‘life’ each day. It truly was a page turner for me.

Jan January 8, 2014

Thank you Michal Ann for introducing us to Peter Fisher’s Odyssey by Michael Greenwood! I’m always looking for a good book to read. After reading your review, I am intrigued by this book. It sounds like Greenwood had a message to share as well as a good story to tell.

Kathi January 10, 2014

Fascinating! I didn’t realize dolphins were being trained for military purposes, but it makes sense, since people use anything and everything for combat. I’m glad Greenwood poses good questions and challenges people to consider more positive solutions to life’s dilemmas.

TTaylor January 10, 2014

Thank you, Michael Ann, for the concise but extensive review of “Peter Fisher’s Odyssey”. I normally wouldn’t be drawn to such a read but your evaluation has peaked my interest. I appreciate authors who can take on the important issues of our time by wrapping them into a page turning compelling story. It appears Greenwood has done just that.

Yvonne January 10, 2014

Intriguing review, Michal Ann! I think I may have to read this book.

JIM January 15, 2014

I too have read Mr. Greenwood”s novel. I share the above sentiments but have something to add. I know Mike personally, have for 40 years. It is his integrity and ethics that made this book hard hitting for me, as I know of his struggle to get this message out about the misuse of marine mammals. His book is really a true version of his life even though it is in novel format. His book to me is more fact than fiction, and his personal life and endeavors weave his humanist morals throughout the book. You are getting the real story. Easy reading and hard to put down.

Jim

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