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In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (2000)

by Nathaniel Philbrick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,8921401,541 (4.15)232
In 1819, the 238-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage to hunt whales. Fifteen months later the Essex was rammed and sunk by an enraged sperm whale. Fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, the 20-man crew set out in three small boats for South America, almost 3,000 miles away. Three months later, only eight were left alive. This book shares a fantastic saga of survival and adventure, steeped in the lore of the whaling tradition, with deep resonance in literature and American history, and in the life of the Nantucket community. - Back cover.… (more)
Recently added bypj_lacey, TigerBeast79, miketmoore, mamarracq, private library, CharlesScheips
  1. 60
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (jseger9000, aya.herron)
    jseger9000: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex tells the true story that inspired Melville to write Moby Dick.
  2. 30
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    A Furnace Afloat: The Wreck of the Hornet and the Harrowing 4,300-mile Voyage of Its Survivors by Joe Jackson (bluetongue)
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    Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 by Nathaniel Philbrick (John_Vaughan)
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    ed.pendragon: This children's fantasy is a gentle parody based on Moby-Dick and so ultimately on the fate of the Essex.
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» See also 232 mentions

English (136)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  All languages (139)
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
While vacationing on Nantucket, felt the need to pick up something about the industry that is so vital to that island's history. I thoroughly enjoyed the details about life on the island, and on board a whaling ship. Using a variety of sources, Philbrick does a very good job of filling in details of the narrative that may have otherwise been lost to history. ( )
  jdoshna | Mar 29, 2020 |
Tragic tale of the Essex and her crew who were attacked and sunk by a whale.
  JohnLavik | Mar 29, 2020 |
With the movie version out, I wanted to be sure I had read the book account first. What an amazing story of survival that proves fact can be more fascinating than fiction. Great background on the crewmen, history of Nantucket island, and the early whaling industry. ( )
  TBatalias | Feb 22, 2020 |
I found this book very interesting. I learned a lot about Nantucket, MA and the whaling industry. Philbrick does a good job of describing the desperation of the crew. The chapters describing their ordeal were suspenseful. The reader knows that some survive (that is how we knew the story), it seems like an impossible situation for them to get out of. I also like how the book did not end with the rescue of the survivors, but told their stories after the ordeal on the Essex. ( )
  Cora-R | Feb 15, 2020 |
Well, that was a harrowing read! This book kept me up late into the night because I needed to see how it ends, and then kept me up through the night giving me nightmares.
Its also renewed my commitment to being a land lubber and vegetarian.

The only downside of reading the true story that inspired Moby Dick, is that now I have to go read Moby Dick.

( )
  Gittel | Jan 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nathaniel Philbrickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
And in the greatness of thine excellency thou has over-
thrown them that rose up against thee: Thou sentest
forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And
with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered to-
gether, the floods stood upright as a heap, and the
depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

-EXODUS 15:7-8

This is the end of the whaleroad and the whale
Who spewed Nantucket bones in the thrashed swell....
This is the end of running on the waves;
We are poured out like water. Who will dance
The mast-lashed masters of Leviathans
Up from this field of Quakers in their unstoned graves?

-ROBERT LOWELL,
"The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket"
Dedication
To Melissa
First words
Like a giant bird of prey, the whaleship moved lazily up the western coast of South America, zigging and zagging across a living sea of oil.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine with Revenge of the Whale which is an adaptation for younger readers of In the Heart of the Sea.
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Canonical DDC/MDS

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