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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 (918 )
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4.2 (531 )
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Performance
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  •  
    G-Force 01-21-15
    G-Force 01-21-15

    Serving God For His Glory!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Full of facts"

    The author appears to have done his research. He adds medical facts about starvation and survivor trauma. A good read, but the audio quality was not the best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LL edmonds, washington, United States 01-21-15
    LL edmonds, washington, United States 01-21-15 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Uneven Production"
    What aspect of Scott Brick’s performance would you have changed?

    Scott Brick's narration was solid but the production was very uneven with changes in speed and quality, particularly noted at about the halfway point when he suddenly sounded like he had a slight dose of helium. I deducted a star for that issue, not for Mr. Brick's work on the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ErinEli 01-20-15
    ErinEli 01-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    2
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    "I Can't Believe I Waited So Long to Read This Book"

    This book was unbelievably good! My dad had been after me to read it for years and I kept thinking it was his thing - not mine. How wrong I was. This isn't just about whaling. It's about life in Nantucket in the 1820's. Survival, triumph, action. The book had it all.

    Also, if you have not listened to Scott Brick read a book you are absolutely missing out. After the four books I've listened to him read I might be in love...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A.K.Walter Summit, NJ, United States 01-19-15
    A.K.Walter Summit, NJ, United States 01-19-15 Member Since 2013
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    3
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    "In the heart of the sea"

    Every now and than parts would get cut off. It is well read. Fascinating story but it gets a little gross.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kris Hill Los Angeles, CA United States 01-19-15
    Kris Hill Los Angeles, CA United States 01-19-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A Good Read, Highly Recommended"

    I thought the author did a good job of telling an interesting story while also giving the reader plenty of context in order to fully appreciate the degree of the tragic events told in this book. Often the author will take time aside from the narrative thrust to compare the sorts of decisions the men of the Essex had to make with similar situations. In particular, I enjoyed Philbrick's comparison between the captain of the Essex and Ernest Shackleton regarding leadership decisions in a crisis situation.

    One thing that bothered me about this audiobook version of the book is that it had these moments where the audio seemed to jump forward, the reader seemingly cutting himself off. It was strange and it happened multiple times throughout the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katy J. Berner Amherst, NY United States 01-18-15
    Katy J. Berner Amherst, NY United States 01-18-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't wait for the movie"

    The book is great! I absolutely loved the story. I am stunned about the Essex and am interested to see how the movie handles pieces of the text. My only complaint is that the recording is really sloppy. The change in volume and intonation when the narrator must have stopped and restarted is so obvious it almost sounds like a different narrator and it is jarring. Even so, listen to the book or read it because the book is so interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Sallay Seattle, WA 01-17-15
    Jack Sallay Seattle, WA 01-17-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Fantastic"

    Best book that I've read in a year. Production was just so so but still Id give it six stars if I could.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Happy Customer 01-12-15 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    "Good book - bad recording"

    I very much enjoyed the book despite the annoying cut-offs between chapters. Someone should reassemble and correct the recording.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Pierson Washington state 01-12-15
    Larry Pierson Washington state 01-12-15 Member Since 2015

    Tactic

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    "Essex Review"

    Good story. Excellent narrator.anxious to get more books by this narrator.good changes in voice for various characters. Diction was perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 11-23-14
    Tim United States 11-23-14 Member Since 2011

    Putting books on the back burner.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Holy Jeez"

    I think that I was a fisherman in my previous life because subconsciously I've read a lot of books about the sea. Like "Moby Dick", "Endurance" and "Perfect Storm", and I gave them all solid stars. I've also read “Railsea” by China Mieville, which is somewhat like Moby Dick and Mad Max. That is a good one also, if you like science fiction.

    When my friend told me that I need to read "In the Heart of the Sea", about Essex the whale boat, I put it off. I should had trusted my friend a lot sooner because Nathaniel Philbrick's book about the whaleship and the crew is beyond 5 solid stars. It is something that you have to read before the movie.

    Holy jeez, most of the crew turned to cannibalism and started to eat their own to survive?

    No matter how bad it gets, you never hear about man eating man nowadays to live. More importantly, Herman Melville would have never written about the great white whale if the wreck of the Essex didn't happened.

    This has to be the best survival story that has been untold. Maybe because most of the crew that were eaten were mostly Black, that we don't talk about the Essex?

    As for the technical side of this audiobook, Scott Brick does a good job, but I agree, it needs to be recorded with better bit rate. It seemed like Penguin Audiobooks converted from a cassette tape. They might want to record this one over before the movie is out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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