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In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex | [Nathaniel Philbrick]

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

  • Alex Award Winner, 2001

"A fascinating tale, well told." (Booklist)
"[Told] with verve and authenticity...a classic tale of the sea." (San Francisco Chronicle)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1016 )
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4.4 (624 )
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4.2 (624 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-04-12
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-04-12 Member Since 2008

    My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesomely great story of men at sea"

    I had long known that Moby Dick had antecedents in a real life event, but I had no idea so much detailed information was available about it. Philbrick does a brilliant job of pulling all the original sources together and making this story real and human. Watching this group of men deal with their circumstances, making decisions based on the available information, suffering from the consequences of those decisions, was vicarious living at its best. This book should tell you just about everything you'd ever want to know about the 19th century whaling industry. It's also a great story about human nature and how all of us act and react in the face of adversity.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 04-29-12
    Matt OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 04-29-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Awesome Book….reads like a novel"

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Brentwood, CA, USA 03-09-07
    Sandra Brentwood, CA, USA 03-09-07 Member Since 2012
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    "Riveting............."

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reader in Rochester Rochester, MN 09-26-12
    Reader in Rochester Rochester, MN 09-26-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting, but dry"
    What did you like best about In the Heart of the Sea? What did you like least?

    The facts were obviously researched. However, sometimes the story became a bit dry when the background facts were outlined.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    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.


    Do you think In the Heart of the Sea needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Definitely not. This is a historical book. Any further books based off of it would be pure fiction.


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Wayne Minneapolis, MN United States 07-28-05
    Bruce Wayne Minneapolis, MN United States 07-28-05 Member Since 2005
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    "Gripping"

    Great descriptions of whaling and of the hardships faced by the crew of the Essex.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin ARLINGTON, VA, United States 06-25-15
    Erin ARLINGTON, VA, United States 06-25-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Telling in each suspenseful and historic detail"

    Telling in suspenseful and historic detail. A carefully-crafted account of a whaleship voyage from Nantucket.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandie De Medeiros Walnut Creek, CA United States 05-29-15
    Sandie De Medeiros Walnut Creek, CA United States 05-29-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Good audiobook but only 5 hours not 7+"

    Could have done without the 2+ hours of bibliography at the end. Actual story was only about 5 hours not 7+ hours it appears to be when downloaded.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Searles 03-31-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Incredible story"

    There were occasional hiccups in the recording but overall i would def recommend the book. Its quite an incredible story and non fiction

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JL 03-27-15
    JL 03-27-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Good story worthwhile a listen"

    But do we need 12 chapters of citations on the audio book? The citations are a bit tedious. Skip them

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wes 03-26-15
    Wes 03-26-15 Member Since 2015
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    6
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    "I enjoyed"

    Spectacular balance between a historical tale and a personal memoir. I enjoyed this listen. One, two, three, four, five, six.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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