At once an encyclopedic tour de force about all things to do with whales and whaling, and a lyrical exploration of humans and other species on the brink of the next great extinction, “Fathoms: The World in the Whale” is a blessing. An immersive, beautifully written mix of academic exploration, philosophical musings, and research memoir, it is a right book for a right time. Australian author Rebecca Giggs covers every aspect of whales fully (sometimes, it must be said, too exhaustively for this simple soul). A number of times, I gasped at unexpected knowledge revealed or fresh insights gained. “Fathoms” is recommended for anyone with the slightest fascination with nature and our environment.