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Leviathan by Eric Jay Dolin
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Leviathan (2007)

by Eric Jay Dolin

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This is a wonderfully researched book that provides the reader with a terrific overview of the history of whaling and the importance of the industry in years past. However, I found the writing style quite distant. The book read more like a history lesson than an emotive account of the industry. ( )
  kenno82 | Jul 22, 2011 |
Eric Jay Dolan offers an intriguing and in-depth look at the history of whale hunting in the United States. Drawing from primary sources as well as previous studies, Dolan adopts a journalistic approach without attempting to judge the past. He is especially adept at using the sources to paint a picture of life in the colonies and early nation -- one gets a real sense of the life of whaling communities and the joys and sorrows they experienced. A great read for anyone interested in learning more about early American history. ( )
  sullijo | Jun 7, 2011 |
Excellent work. A well-researched, engrossing tale of adventure and exploitation on the high seas. ( )
  birdsetcetera | Apr 12, 2011 |
bought this book as a background to research into my family history and because I am very interested in that era and place. It was well researched and fully documented. If you look in the back of the book, you will find that the footnotes have many interesting asides to this history of whaling. I really like the detailed information about the different kinds of whales and learning about the hazards of whale fishing in the Arctic region.
I do wish that the illustrations were larger so that it would be easier to read the type, especially for the maps. This book never got boring for me. There was a discussion of who was the first to kill the sperm whale. The common thought was that it was Christopher Hussey but he was a young child at the time. I thought the discussion was a little drawn out. With all the detail about the whalers, the ships and the politics of the day, I was disappointed that it was not mentioned that Hussey women owned ships! I would that is an interesting detail. Why did they own the ships? Was this unusual for the time period?
Other than that I was surprised to not find any part of this book boring. It is a long book, not because of the number of pages but the font size. I think anyone who is interested in the history of whaling, whaling towns and whales would enjoy this book. ( )
  Carolee888 | Jul 1, 2010 |
I bought this book as a background to research into my family history and because I am very interested in that era and place. It was well researched and fully documented. If you look in the back of the book, you will find that the footnotes have many interesting asides to this history of whaling. I really like the detailed information about the different kinds of whales and learning about the hazards of whale fishing in the Arctic region.
I do wish that the illustrations were larger so that it would be easier to read the type, especially for the maps. This book never got boring for me. There was a discussion of who was the first to kill the sperm whale. The common thought was that it was Christopher Hussey but he was a young child at the time. I thought the discussion was a little drawn out. With all the detail about the whalers, the ships and the politics of the day, I was disappointed that it was not mentioned that Hussey women owned ships! I would that is an interesting detail. Why did they own the ships? Was this unusual for the time period?
Other than that I was surprised to not find any part of this book boring. It is a long book, not because of the number of pages but the font size. I think anyone who is interested in the history of whaling, whaling towns and whales would enjoy this book. ( )
  CarolWong | Jun 29, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Few of us realize how much we owe the whalers, the prominant part
they played in our history, the prosperity and wealth they brought to
the infant Republic, or the influence their rough and ready lives had
upon the civilization, exploration, and commerce of the globe.

--A. Hyatt Verrill, The Real Story of the Whaler, 1916

And God created great whales. --Gen. 1:21
Dedication
To Lily and Harry
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For more than a thousand years men have pursued the leviathans of the deep, yet of all the nations that have done so, none has a more fascinating whaling history than does the United States. [from Introduction]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393060578, Hardcover)

A Los Angeles Times Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007
A Boston Globe Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007
Amazon.com Editors pick as one of the 10 best history books of 2007
Winner of the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History, given by the North American Society for Oceanic History

“The best history of American whaling to come along in a generation.”—Nathaniel Philbrick

The epic history of the "iron men in wooden boats" who built an industrial empire through the pursuit of whales. "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme," Herman Melville proclaimed, and this absorbing history demonstrates that few things can capture the sheer danger and desperation of men on the deep sea as dramatically as whaling. Eric Jay Dolin begins his vivid narrative with Captain John Smith's botched whaling expedition to the New World in 1614. He then chronicles the rise of a burgeoning industry—from its brutal struggles during the Revolutionary period to its golden age in the mid-1800s when a fleet of more than 700 ships hunted the seas and American whale oil lit the world, to its decline as the twentieth century dawned. This sweeping social and economic history provides rich and often fantastic accounts of the men themselves, who mutinied, murdered, rioted, deserted, drank, scrimshawed, and recorded their experiences in journals and memoirs. Containing a wealth of naturalistic detail on whales, Leviathan is the most original and stirring history of American whaling in many decades. 32 pages of illustrations

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:00 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The epic history of the "iron men in wooden boats" who built an industrial empire through the pursuit of whales. Few things can capture the sheer danger and desperation of men on the deep sea as dramatically as whaling. Environmental writer Dolin chronicles the rise of a burgeoning industry, from its brutal struggles during the Revolutionary period to its golden age in the mid-1800s when a fleet of more than 700 ships hunted the seas and American whale oil lit the world, to its decline as the twentieth century dawned. This sweeping social and economic history provides rich and often fantastic accounts of the men themselves, who mutinied, murdered, rioted, deserted, drank, scrimshawed, and recorded their experiences in journals and memoirs. The book also contains a wealth of naturalistic detail on whales.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

Two editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393060578, 0393331571

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