In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Audiobook | Nathaniel Philbrick | Audible.com
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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 19th century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the 20th. 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, 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 19th century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the 20th. 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, 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 (586 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Laura Washington, DC, United States 11-26-13
    Laura Washington, DC, United States 11-26-13 Member Since 2012

    Long commute = Lots of time for audiobooks

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    "Very Exciting, Very Depressing"

    File this one under "Truth is stranger (and sometimes better) than fiction." I listened to this because I enjoyed Philbrick's "Mayflower," knew he was an excellent researcher and storyteller, and knew I liked Scott Brick as a narrator. I was not at all prepared for the tragedies upon tragedies in this book. I suspect if you're considering reading this book, you're already aware you are not in for a smooth or happy ride, but even so, brace yourself. It's just incredibly depressing, this story, because Philbrick does such an amazing job of showing us the despair the men aboard the Essex must have felt. I'm not sure the modern reader can come away from this with any real lessons or morals that apply to life today, but I was nonetheless glad I learned about a previously unfamiliar piece of history, and a gripping, fascinating one at that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betty Western, WA 11-18-13
    Betty Western, WA 11-18-13 Member Since 2011

    diverduck

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    "In the time of scurvy"
    Any additional comments?

    Nathaniel Philbrick captured my attention and heart with this book about the doomed whaling ship The Essex. Unforgettable story of survival at sea that resorted to cannibalism. A true story that inspired Moby Dick. Scott Brick is excellent, as always.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick E. Murray San Antonio, TX 08-22-13
    Patrick E. Murray San Antonio, TX 08-22-13 Member Since 2010

    pemurray

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    "amazing"
    What made the experience of listening to In the Heart of the Sea the most enjoyable?

    Amazing and horrific description of death by starvation and thirst and the incredible things it can make you do


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward C. Charbonnet Memphis, TN 08-10-13
    Edward C. Charbonnet Memphis, TN 08-10-13 Member Since 2006
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    "What a fabulous true story!!!!"
    What did you love best about In the Heart of the Sea?

    I most enjoyed the section in the book that covered the 89 days of survival at sea. The biggest surprise bonus in the book was the great history of Nantucket during the hay day of whaling. I like the way the book starts when the survivors were found and then goes back and tells how they got into the predicament. The author gives so much great detail about life in those days and life aboard those ships for 2 and 3 years as well as how whaling started even before we had those large ships. And as another bonus he covers many years after the Essex's disaster going into the details of how and why Nantucket declined.

    And the author adds to the book by referencing other similar sea disasters that have occurred since and how they were similar and different. And he also adds insights from modern knowledge of whales.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of In the Heart of the Sea?

    When the did battle with the giant sperm whale that rammed them twice. And then the tough decisions they had to make to survive. I was particularly moved by the Australian Captain who went out of his way to find the 2 survivors on the island when he had been told the wrong island but decided to search other islands after the first one had no survivors.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    So very hard to choose but the scenes when they were struggling against the extreme weather elements were exciting.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When most of the main city on Nantucket burned down - fueled by the whale oil - as the author called it "The Revenge of the Leviathan".


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Downingtown, PA, United States 07-06-13
    Andrew Downingtown, PA, United States 07-06-13 Member Since 2011

    A Father, a Photographer and a Computer Geek in Chester County PA - #photography #restoration #science #physics #space @alseymour

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    "Amazing they survived!"
    Would you listen to In the Heart of the Sea again? Why?

    Yes because some of the details/facts are lost because one is absorbed with the hardships that these folks endured.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Even though I have read Moby Dick, and have been to both Mystic and Nantucket several times, there are things I missed that this book seems to fill in.


    Any additional comments?

    There were a couple of times when the playback seemed to skip ahead, and audio was not consistent, which cause some angst while listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Devin Shughart Citrus Heights, CA United States 06-04-13
    Devin Shughart Citrus Heights, CA United States 06-04-13 Member Since 2013

    Love Reading, happy I found Audible. Listen to books, on my way home, while working out, and at work. Been reading a lot of Non-Fiction history and science.

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    "Some times surviving is a worst fate"

    This is a great book, that not only brings to life the true and sad story of the Essex. But it dives in to the history and practices of whaling, it is not for the faint of heart. It is very well written and keeps to the story, never swaying to far to bring in backstory and fact. If you like history or tales about the sea you should definitely pick it up, but like I said it is not for the faint of heart. Whaling is a brutal profession, and surviving a ship wreck to be stranded at sea proved to be even worse. As far as the performance, I enjoyed the reader he set a great tone through out the book. There are issues between chapters, at times a following chapter would almost start on top of the previous, it was jarring at first but not a deal breaker.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron United States 05-14-13
    Aaron United States 05-14-13 Member Since 2011
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    "...and the fish vomited Jonah upon the dry land"


    The true story of the shipwreck of the Whaling Ship Essex. It is sadly everything we have come to think about, when we think about sailors who starve and thirst as they clinging to a life raft at sea.

    Lost in the Ocean for 90 days, the few survivors paint a grisly picture of the lengths they were willing to go to, to stay alive. The style of writing is more "journalistic" than other notable survival stories, and the reference to quotes and historical references, can at times seem cold and objective.

    Included in this history of the shipwreck, is: a background of Nantucket, Mass.; background of the whaling industry; complete character profiles of all involved- before and after; and how the shipwreck affected all involved.

    I would have preferred just the survival story as written from start to finish, but it was interesting, if not compelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Huntington Beach, CA, United States 04-10-13
    Laurie Huntington Beach, CA, United States 04-10-13 Member Since 2010

    Love to listen and walk or run and knit, knit knit

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    "An Informative and dramatic read"
    If you could sum up In the Heart of the Sea in three words, what would they be?

    engrossinginformativeabsorbing


    What did you like best about this story?

    The historical perspective and the ties to Moby Dick made it a read that is relatable. Of course, I was a Melville fan in college, but knowing that the basis of the Moby Dick was based on this story captured me.


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    Probably the captain Pollard, but others were equally brillinat


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    It went so fast. Never thought I would like this read, but I loved it. One of my best reads this year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Foobin Oregon 03-16-13
    Foobin Oregon 03-16-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Wow!....what an adventure"

    Besides an amazing true story, it was a great peek into the hardships of life in the 1800's.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 11-18-12
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 11-18-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "In the Heart of the Dea."

    I was hoping for more out of this Book but it just wasn't there. It is an OK Book. I guess you just have to take a chance at it, you might like it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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