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In the Heart of the Sea Audiobook

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 (1518 )
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  •  
    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-27-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Why didn't I know this story?!"

    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!

    2 of 3 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
  •  
    Risa 04-16-16
    Risa 04-16-16 Member Since 2015
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    "3 hours of epilogue."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dillon 04-03-16
    Dillon 04-03-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Super intriguing!"

    I was just fascinated from the beginning of the whole culture and time. Plus a good story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    James HEREFORD, TX, United States 03-21-16
    James HEREFORD, TX, United States 03-21-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Poor whales."

    Great story of some tough dudes. Shows the lengths people will go to survive and provide for their families.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    John Pope 03-15-16
    John Pope 03-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Quite Interesting"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Frank H. 03-14-16
    Frank H. 03-14-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Another great narrative book by Mr. Philbrik"

    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.
    FCH 13/3/16

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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