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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 (967 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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4.4 (576 )
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (575 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jesse Chicagoland, Illinois USA 01-25-15
    Jesse Chicagoland, Illinois USA 01-25-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, great reader, not great audio quality"

    The book was great, super compelling. The performance was good, but the editing was terrible. The end of each chapter was cut off and the sound was very uneven. This is such a good book, it's such a shame that the audio quality is so bad. Still worth listening to, but the publisher really needs to fix these files.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David R. Belowich ca usa 01-22-15
    David R. Belowich ca usa 01-22-15 Member Since 2015

    TheDave

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very informative"

    I liked this book. It was my first non fiction. I'm into much different books than this type of book. But I found it interesting. From the point the story actually began, about a 1/3 into the book it started getting interesting. So the last 2/3 was awesome. Lol

    It makes me wanna go to Nantucket Isle now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert William Messner 01-22-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, choppy playback"

    I loved the story and the historical facts in the book. However there are times when it feels like the playback ends mid sentence and starts on the next chapter. Doesn't ruin the book, just annoying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G-Force 01-21-15
    G-Force 01-21-15

    Serving God For His Glory!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    98
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Story
    "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
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    84
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Jack Sallay Seattle, WA 01-17-15
    Jack Sallay Seattle, WA 01-17-15 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    2
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    Story
    "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
    3
    Overall
    "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

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