National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2000
The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819 the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific, the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, and disease and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.
Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents, including a long-lost account written by the ship's cabin boy, and penetrating details about whaling and the Nantucket community to reveal the chilling events surrounding this epic maritime disaster. An intense and mesmerizing read, In the Heart of the Sea is a monumental work of history forever placing the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.
©2000 Nathaniel Philbrick; (P)2000 Penguin Audiobooks
"A fascinating tale, well told." (Booklist)
"[Told] with verve and authenticity...a classic tale of the sea." (San Francisco Chronicle)
Fascinating book on many levels. 19th century sailing, whaling, survival, endurance, etc….. I loved it. And like always, Scott Brick is the master of narration. If I were a history teacher this book would be required reading! Five big stars on this one!
This was an amazing "listen". So hard to even imagine in one's wildest dreams what these men and boys endured. The life lasting effect must have been immense - a story no author could pen without the facts to guide him. I am a history lover but would recommend this book to all those who are not as well as those who are. I thoroughly enjoyed "The Mayflower" but was awestruck by this story.
The facts were obviously researched. However, sometimes the story became a bit dry when the background facts were outlined.
The trials the men went through to survive their time at sea were fascinating. The details of life on Nantucket and the Quaker church were quite boring.
Definitely not. This is a historical book. Any further books based off of it would be pure fiction.
I'll admit, I'd never have picked this up without someone repeatedly prodding me to do so...but I'm really glad I did. I mostly read/listen to sci-fi/fantasy, so I'm skeptical about anything non-fiction...if I wanted non-fiction I'd watch the flippin' news (is about how my poor attitude would respond...) - but this story is good...hard to put the feeling into words - kind of intriguing and horrifying...on many levels. Not just the...main tragedy part - but what makes someone want to do this...the normal things they do...that they don't consider tragedies...from the catching and processing of whales, to the stuff that happens on the islands (like the Galapagos)...my god...
If you already know the story of the Essex, there probably isn't a ton of new info - but still worth the listen. If you don't know the story that was part of Melville's inspiration for Moby Dick, you should probably pick this one up!
At times I was pretty into this book, but before you buy it, just know the story is really about 5 hours. After 5 hours the story of the Essex is done, people who died are dead and people that survived are still living. Then there are three hours left over to talk what happened to the survivors..... You could have done that in 30 min tops. Buy it but don't feel bad to end it after 5 hours.
Great story of some tough dudes. Shows the lengths people will go to survive and provide for their families.
I love nonfiction books like this. I learned a whole lot about the 19th century whaling industry and, yes, about cannibalism.
The book "ends" at about 9 hours in. Thereafter it goes through, chapter by chapter, citing sources. Still a great read and worth the money. It's definitely a "driveway listener". If you've ever listened to a great audiobook while you drive you will know what that means.
Alas I must cofess that, other then the "Classic Comic book" version, I have never read Herman Melville's "Moby Dick". That said, I to this day, recall the : terror and awesome sense of adventure I felt as a nine year old watching John Huston's movie adaptation with Gregory Peck as : Captain Ahab, fifty some years ago.
I found out about the true story of the Essex from a "Ripley's Believe it or Not" book some years later. Those memories and images along with the great narration by Scott Brick bought this wonderfully detailed adventure to life as I listened.
This book is the second by Mr. Philbrik that I have listened too in the last year; "The Mayflower" & "In the Hart of the Sea" both touch on my family history, as a Mayflower desendent and some of our ancestors were New Bedford Whalers, these books were of great interest to me.
I highly recommend them bouth. VGL*
* Very Good Listen.
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