In the Heart of the Sea
The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
From the author of Mayflower, Valiant Ambition, and In the Hurricane's Eye--the riveting bestseller tells the story of the true events that inspired Melville's Moby-Dick.
Winner of the National Book Award, Nathaniel Philbrick's book is a fantastic saga of survival and adventure, steeped in the lore of whaling, with deep resonance in American literature and history.
In 1820, the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale, leaving the desperate crew to drift for more than ninety days in three tiny boats. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents and vivid details about the Nantucket whaling tradition to reveal the chilling facts of this infamous maritime disaster. In the Heart of the Sea, recently adapted into a major feature film starring Chris Hemsworth, is a book for the ages.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The disaster story that inspired Moby Dick is made especially gripping in historian Nathaniel Philbrick’s vivid book. In the Heart of the Sea chronicles a shocking whale attack that shipwrecked 20 men thousands of miles from shore with limited supplies and no hope of rescue. Drawing from dramatic firsthand accounts and fascinating recent discoveries, Philbrick brings to light an unforgettable and harrowing true story of high-seas adventure and survival.
In 1821, a whaling ship came upon a small boat off the coast of Chile containing two deranged men surrounded by human bones that they alternately chewed and clutched to their shriveled bodies. The two were survivors of one of the most well-known marine disasters of the 19th century: the sinking of a 240-ton Nantucket whaleship by an 80-ton sperm whale. A maritime historian, Philbrick recounts the hellish wreck of the Essex (which inspired Melville's Moby-Dick) and its sailors' struggle to make their way to South America, 2,000 miles away. Of the 20 men aboard the two boats, only eight would remain alive through the ravages of thirst, hunger and desperation that beset the voyage. With a gracefulness of language that rarely falters, Philbrick spins a ghastly, irresistible tale that draws upon archival material (including a cabin boy's journal discovered in 1960). Philbrick shows how the Quaker establishment of Nantucket ran a hugely profitable whaling industry in the 18th and 19th centuries and provides a detailed account of shipboard life. A champion sailboat racer himself, Philbrick has a particular affinity for his subject. His fastidious, extensive notes and bibliography will please historians, but it's his measured prose that superbly re-creates a cornerstone of the early American frontier ethos. 16 page photo insert not seen by PW. 15-city author tour; foreign rights sold to nine countries.
Fascinating exciting educational.
Fascinating exciting educational. This book is a major page turner. Visiting Nantucket is high on my travel list now. Thoroughly enjoyed the journey.
This is easily the most riveting book I’ve read in a long time; beautifully written, and oh so meticulously researched! The author’s commentary provides depth to the narrative. This slice of American history has been retold in a compelling way.
Great Historical Detail
I remember reading this in 8th grade (by myself) and I remember being fascinated by the detail it got into, like the despair of the crew and how they had to decide to resort to cannibalism.