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In the Heart of the Sea Audiobook
In the Heart of the Sea
Written by: 
Nathaniel Philbrick
Narrated by: 
Scott Brick
 >   > 
In the Heart of the Sea Audiobook

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

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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 (1753 )
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4.4 (1300 )
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4.3 (1297 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jason Cimino 06-25-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too much narrative for a great story"

    The story itself is a tale of the impossible. It's incredibly grim, depressing, heroic, and pathetic. Very descriptive and horrific. Yet, the narrator speaks with an upbeat, cordial tone throughout while describing people literally starving to death and resorting to cannibalism in order to live like he's talking about an adventure story on an exotic island. His voice doesn't adequately capture the desperate nature of the event. The real story is only a small portion of the book. The first part is a detailed manual on how to be a whaler, then the last 3+ hours is the epilogue, aftermath, and life as a whaler in Nantucket. The ordeal is only about 2 hours of the whole book. Pretty disappointed. Watch the movie instead of this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dorothy Aydelotte 06-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Too long"

    The story finished with about 3 hours left and I got bored with the epilogues, afterwords, etc. I finally gave up with about 1 hr 48 minutes left. The reader was ok, but not great.

    0 of 0 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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rioux Clan 07-25-15
    Rioux Clan 07-25-15 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book!"

    What an amazing account of the whalers of the Essex! I almost felt like I was there, but am most grateful I wasn't! Not only did I feel I enter erred that period of history, I came to really care about these men and their incredible struggle.....and also had sympathy for whales. The incredible perseverance and indomitable will so often shown was awe-inspiring even while the grim, feral nature this also took was appalling. It raises interesting moral questions, too.
    The narrator was quite good, which is a necessity because even an excellent audiobook on a variety of levels will be sunk by an annoying narrator..and probably faster than the Essex was.
    As an aside, Philbrick's Mayflower was equally excellent, if not a bit better.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt San Francisco, CA 06-03-15
    Matt San Francisco, CA 06-03-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Captivating Whale of a Story"

    Wonderful narration. Amazing story. Highly recommended. I vote: listen to this after reading Moby Dick, since most of the action takes place after the whale attack - the place where Moby Dick ends- this book is a sort of coda to that story. High marks all around. Can't wait to see the Ron Howard movie. (Although, I'd wager he doesn't quite go into all the gory detail. Note: don't listen to parts of this audiobook while eating anything but vegan food.)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Ineffable Pangolin The Empire State 03-24-15
    The Ineffable Pangolin The Empire State 03-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Incomplete Audiobook"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The audiobook was supposed to be over 10 hours. Instead it was barely 8, and full of audio glitches, with strange voice and pacing issues, chapters that abruptly cut off mid-narrative (and sometimes mid-sentence), and missing material. Heck, the final word of the narrator's "This has been a [X Publisher] Audio production" is cut off half-way through. A real shame, since the book itself is really gripping! Or at least, what i heard of it was...


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    ...Character? They really need to stop auto-generating these questions.


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

    ...This was clearly a "form" question, since this question has nothing to do with the book.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from In the Heart of the Sea?

    I would have restored the 2 hours apparently cut haphazardly out of this glitch-filled version of the audiobook.


    Any additional comments?

    I expect better from Audible.com.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taylor J Weigand 03-15-15 Member Since 2008
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    "Good story, inconsistent narration"

    Once the story got going, it was gripping.

    The narration sounded like it was done in several studios with completely different setups, and the narrator sounded like he was telling the story to children.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike R. 03-05-15
    Mike R. 03-05-15
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    "Fascinating"

    Great story! Great narration! It provides a thorough education of the whaling industry in New England in the first half of the nineteenth century. My only complaint is that throughout the recording, the volume would spike as each new section began.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Tumwater, WA, United States 02-26-15
    Dave Tumwater, WA, United States 02-26-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Essex Disaster Inspires Melville!"
    If you could sum up In the Heart of the Sea in three words, what would they be?

    Inspiring Survival Story


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

    Drawing lots while starving at sea to see who would sacrifice his life so the rest of the crew could live.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When the whaling ship was rammed by a pissed off whale and eventually sank.


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

    The actual story was spellbinding, but the last hour and a half consisted of author footnotes on his research. Tedious.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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