The story is fascinating ! The performance by the reader was disappointing. I recommend that the curious seek out the film which is very well done.
Nathaniel Philbrick is quickly becoming my favorite historical author. He has a unique talent for gathering boatloads (pun intended) of information, synthesizing that information into a cohesive narrative, and then imbuing that narrative with enough character and humanity to bring the story to life. His work in In the Heart of the Sea is no exception.
The story of the Essex and, more importantly, the men who sailed on her, is harrowing, terrifying, and deeply human. Philbrick captures these men and their travails perfectly. In the process, he brings to life a corner of history that is rarely explored. I loved learning about Nantucket, how its Quaker culture oddly meshed with the violence of whaling, and the seafaring culture the little island helped build.
That said, Philbrick displayed a tendency to wander in this book that I haven't noticed as much in his other works. I appreciate the background and context information provided in In the Heart of the Sea, but Philbrick often takes sudden detours into pieces of relative minutiae that I found to be distracting rather than enriching. This detours were generally short, but seemed to become more frequent as the book progressed. I often found myself wishing we could just get back to the story of the Essex's crew.
Then again, this wandering never really hampered my enjoyment of this title. Philbrick is a very talented writer and storyteller, and Scott Brick's narration is a perfect fit for his writing style. Despite my small complaint, I highly recommend the book to fans of nautical history and, more broadly, to fans of American history in general.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. I saw the movie but nothing compares to the detail and descriptions in this read. Anyone interested in the story of the Essex, Moby Dick or sea adventures of the period should enjoy this pick.
No one can endorse whaling, but since this was a different era, I decided to give this book a try. I'm glad I did. While whaling is part of the story, it is small part. The other trials and tribulations were so mind-boggling that it feels like a footnote. Great read.
This is my second Philbrick book and he is true to form. The book takes you from Nantucket to the open Pacific to where a bull whale defended his pod. I was rooting for the whale, and then rooting for the men to survive. It is a classic movie story with a novice captain and experience first officer fighting for the control of the ship from the beginning. If you like sea adventures then this is for you. I read Alive about a more modern disaster where cannibalism took place. Philbrick doesn't hold back on the cannibalism. That part was hard for me to stomach. But again only a small percentage of people are stuck in that situation.
Highly recommend. This book reads fast.
This is an incredible true story which has elements that influenced Herman Melville as I'm sure everyone's aware now. But if you've only seen the abomination of a film you were cheated out of an incredible and at times gut wrenching survival story. I looked forward to the film so much for over a year when I heard about it, but I was so disgusted by what they did to this I nearly walked out, but didn't cause a friend was with me, to whom I had to explain all the missteps and flat out lies. Non-fiction at its best.
This book is a wonderful mix of great story telling and interesting history. In addition to the story of the boat and the sailors there is a full background of the country, the whaling industry, sailing, biology, culture, and many other aspects spread throughout.
This book is well researched, however there should be a warning attached that the last 1.5hrs of the listen are the footnotes. May be interesting to some, but greatly overstates the actual length of the story.
...unless you want to listen to the hours/chapters of footnotes. Credit to the author for acknowledging each of his sources, but endnotes should not be listed as "chapters."