If anyone thinks that history is dull, read “In the Heart of the Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick. This historian has the gift of relating an historic event as if it were a fictional adventure tale. Of course, the event which is the subject of this book, the last voyage of the whale ship Essex, which left Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 1819 on a planned three-year journey to hunt whales in the Pacific Ocean, is an incredible adventure, replete with an angry whale which rams the Essex and sinks it, the journey of the 20 crew members in three small boats, the amazing rescue of some of them, the cannibalism of the survivors who drew lots to select crew members to execute and then eat. Herman Melville used the true story of the sinking of the Essex by an angry 80’ sperm whale, as his inspiration for Moby Dick. Along the way, Philbrick provides fascinating details of early 19th century whaling and life in Nantucket. This book was both exciting and informative.
I tried to like this book... I didn't hate it. But I kept waiting to be pulled into it, mezmerized like so many other reviewers seemed to be. Unfortunately, although the narrator was skillful and the story a reasonable length, it just never really won me over. My final determination is that I'm guessing that I'm just not a big seagoing gal, after all. I probably wouldn't like Moby Dick, either. If, however, sea tales and gibbets and bosuns and whales, starboards, mainsails and gunneys are the sorts of things that "float yer boat" (pardon the pun), this may be just the current you are looking for.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was gripping, at times horrifying, and completely engaging. It brings the history of the whaleship Essex alive, and it's one of the most compelling stories I've ever heard.
This is an amazing story of survival in a seemingly hopeless situation. I am glad I listened; however, I did get tited of the gruesome details of the effects of hunger and thirst and the actions that those conditions forced on civilized people.
I have NOT listened to this audiobook but I read the hard copy when it came out and it was gripping. I can only imagine that if it is narrarated well, it will be a thrilling audio.
Great version of the Essex story encompassing all versions of the events from the survivors. Detailing not only the tragic events at sea, but the reactions of the community the men were from. (Nantucket Island)
This story is the impetus of Herman Melville's Moby Dick.