In the Heart of the Sea

The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

Philbrick, Nathaniel

Book - 2000
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
In the Heart of the Sea
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, and directed by Ron Howard. "With its huge, scarred head halfway out of the water and its tail beating the ocean into a white-water wake more than forty feet across, the whale approached the ship at twice its original speed--at least six knots. With a tremendous cracking and splintering of oak, it struck the ship just beneath the anchor secured at the cat-head on the port bow. . ." In the Heart of the Sea brings to new life the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex--an event as mythic in its own century as the Titanic disaster in ours, and the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick. In a harrowing page-turner, Nathaniel Philbrick restores this epic story to its rightful place in American history. In 1820, the 240-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, it was repeatedly rammed and sunk by an eighty-ton bull sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew, fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, made for the 3,000-mile-distant coast of South America in three tiny boats. During ninety days at sea under horrendous conditions, the survivors clung to life as one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear. In the Heart of the Sea tells perhaps the greatest sea story ever. Philbrick interweaves his account of this extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men with a wealth of whale lore and with a brilliantly detailed portrait of the lost, unique community of Nantucket whalers. Impeccably researched and beautifully told, the book delivers the ultimate portrait of man against nature, drawing on a remarkable range of archival and modern sources, including a long-lost account by the ship's cabin boy. At once a literary companion and a page-turner that speaks to the same issues of class, race, and man's relationship to nature that permeate the works of Melville, In the Heart of the Sea will endure as a vital work of American history. nbsp; nbsp;

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2000
ISBN: 0670891576
Branch Call Number: G530.E77 P45 2000
910.9164 P545i
Characteristics: xvi, 302 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm


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Jan 12, 2015
  • LMN1988 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Best book I've read in a long time. This haunting, true story had me captivated from the very first page. Also renewed my interest in reading Moby Dick.

Jun 30, 2014
  • Lexxuss3o rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Oh My Gosh! So much I could say about this true story of whaling. You will learn about the voyage of the Whaleship Essex, hear about the whale and its attack, and finally, the sinking. What follows the sinking is for you to read in the quiet of night. It warrants no further comment except the likely outcome for you that you will not be able to put the book down.
This is a very well-researched and beautifully written book, You, simply, will not be able to put it down.

Mar 20, 2014
  • KCLSRecommends rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The true (& unique) story that inspired Melville's classic "Moby Dick"! Hard to believe how one whale could act with such intelligence and (well-deserved) malevolence in wrecking this whaling ship -- and how it seemingly had never happened to any whaling ship before or since!

Aug 23, 2013
  • sess430 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is a gripping & horrifying story of survival of the ship-wrecked sailors in the Pacific Ocean that took place in 1820 after the Essex was attacked by a whale. I read online that Ron Howard is set to begin filming the story in September. I'm not sure I'll have the courage to see the horror enacted on the big screen.


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