We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
In the Heart of the Sea Audiobook

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

Regular Price:$28.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (2197 )
5 star
 (1091)
4 star
 (799)
3 star
 (254)
2 star
 (34)
1 star
 (19)
Overall
4.4 (1704 )
5 star
 (999)
4 star
 (498)
3 star
 (169)
2 star
 (27)
1 star
 (11)
Story
4.4 (1702 )
5 star
 (925)
4 star
 (566)
3 star
 (165)
2 star
 (31)
1 star
 (15)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Eric Leal 02-06-15
    Eric Leal 02-06-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story, horrible audio"

    Interesting story but the production value / quality of the audio is absolutely terrible. The volume and clarity of the narrator varies wildly even within chapters. Better to read this in book form vs audio.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Potter 02-13-15
    A. Potter 02-13-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Proof poor editing can ruin a great story"

    This is the worst edited audiobook I've ever heard. I tried to make it through it but couldn't. Even within the chapters, the sound quality and background noise level differed, which was distracting. But, the biggest problem is that each new chapter starts by cutting off the end of the previous one. The narrator will literary be mid-sentence when it cuts in with the start of a new chapter. It's disorienting and jarring -- each time it happened, I had to take time to collect myself and figure out what was happening. After about 4 chapters of this, I just gave up. It was too jarring, and I found myself on edge the entire book; it prevented me from getting into it.

    It would be like buying a book that has the last few sentences (or even more -- I have no way to know how much of each chapter is missing) cut off or that is missing a page or two throughout the book. If I ordered such a book, I would return it, and I'm thankful that audible allows returns. This one is going back. It's a shame the poor editing can ruin such a fascinating story.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-29-14 Member Since 2016

    miss_jessy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story - not great recording"
    Would you try another book from Nathaniel Philbrick and/or Scott Brick?

    yes


    What three words best describe Scott Brick’s performance?

    His performance is fine, but there was no equalizing his voice so it was loud and then soft. Bad recording and bad transitions.


    26 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    hermanous Frederick, MD, United States 05-19-11
    hermanous Frederick, MD, United States 05-19-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    86
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    142
    54
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Wonderful Nonfiction Tale/Horrible Mech. Editing"

    This is a fantastic, true tale of the Whaler Essex, its fate against an angry whale and the challenges facing the survivors. Amazing story. Well read by the narrator.

    The biggest flaw is the mechanical editing. Horribly spliced. Sections seem to run into each other, and volume levels are confusion. For such a fantastic story, carefully read, this is a sad and sloppy treatment of the story.

    Other than that, a great listen.

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 08-13-05
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 08-13-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    227
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    200
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    "Riveting"

    I don't listen to much non-fiction, preferring to lose myself in someone else's world. This book was recommended by a colleague and it sounded interesting so I got it. WOW - I couldn't stop listening to it. This is real life better than any fiction. An amazing story, set in the history of whaling, and Scott Brick was the perfect narrator for this book.

    33 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harry Seaward New York, NY USA 10-19-14
    Harry Seaward New York, NY USA 10-19-14 Member Since 2014

    Editor, FilmDrunk.com

    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    63
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, worst-produced audiobook I've heard."

    The book is great. The audiobook production is quite possibly the worst I've heard. The reader is fine, but the production cuts off the last two or three words of every chapter, and the next one will start with such a different room tone and EQ that it barely even sounds like the same person. Again, a great book, but someone needs to get in there and fix the audiobook ASAP. Few things as aggravating as every chapter cutting off.

    30 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 06-28-13
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 06-28-13 Member Since 2007

    The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1023
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    259
    217
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    70
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Read this first, then read Moby-Dick"
    Would you consider the audio edition of In the Heart of the Sea to be better than the print version?


    Any additional comments?

    This book was not on my radar until I read “Railsea” by China Mieville, which is a young adult science fiction redux of Moby-Dick. I had never read Moby-Dick but figured since I knew the general outline of the story that would be enough. However, as is my wont, while reading “Railsea” I got more and more curious about Moby-Dick and started to do some research. That research brought me to “In the Heart of the Sea” and thank goodness it did. <br/> <br/>“In the Heart of the Sea” is a fantastically well-written account of the true story of a whaling ship that was sunk by a whale in the 1820’s. It turns out that Melville knew the story of the Essex and the tale inspired some of the events in Moby-Dick. Philbrick has done his homework and gives the reader not merely the facts about the Essex, but also quite a bit of history about whaling in general and Nantucket whaling in particular. He also delves into research on how humans survive in extraordinary circumstances, which was shocking, horrifying and fascinating in equal measures. In addition to all this, Philbrick gives an overview of the life of Herman Melville and explains how Moby-Dick was written. <br/><br/>After finishing “In the Heart of the Sea” I was absolutely compelled to read Moby-Dick. I picked up an abridged audio version and was completely amazed by it. I thank Nathaniel Philbrick for penning his history and opening up my mind so that I was able to fully appreciate Moby-Dick.

    29 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 06-27-12
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 06-27-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    399
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    633
    99
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    26
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Riveting!"

    This tale, ultimately of survival, is fascinating. Philbrick does a great job educating us at to the financial driver of 1820s Nantucket - the whaling industry - and interweaving a fascinating story of a hellbent whale, unlucky decisions and what people will do to survive. Not to be missed.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Kearns, UT, United States 11-16-12
    Kimberly Kearns, UT, United States 11-16-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good book, poor editing ..."
    What would have made In the Heart of the Sea better?

    The editing was inconsistent. The story would stop randomly, not even at the end of chapters (cutting in the middle of a sentence). Then start again with a different sound and tone. Sometimes I wondered if it was the same narrator, the sound was so different.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Moved quickly, gave good context to the story and was intriguing.


    21 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" 10-20-14 Member Since 2016

    My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    39023
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1359
    1327
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    555
    13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "THE LARGEST TOOTHED WHALES IN EXISTENCE"

    I prefer Historical Fiction over History, but with Philbrick I make an exception. This is my fifth book by Philbrick and they all have been very readable and informative. This book would make a great companion to Moby Dick. NP always picks interesting topics. I started with Mayflower which gave me a complete new outlook on the history of New Amsterdam, I'm sorry I mean New York. My favorite is The Last Stand, which is about Custer.

    This is a history on Sperm Whaling and on Nantucket. Among other things I was surprised to find out that a lot of captains of whaling ships were in their mid twenties. Through years of tv watching, I figured them to be old white haired men. I believe that I felt more in the boat with the whalers in this book, then I did in Moby Dick and I really liked Moby Dick. I think NP does a great job of explaining just how dangerous this type of job was and how terrifying these huge beast could be. It becomes obvious that the main reason most whaling captains were young, was cause they did not live long enough to get old.

    One indirect sad truth that NP really does not talk about that much, was how many whales there were back in those days. Nantucket got into whaling, because of the of amount whales they could see from shore. In the beginning they could go out and catch one and still be insight of the island. Later they were traveling all the way to the pacific.

    If the subject interest you at all, you will enjoy this.

    Do not worry about FOSB, fear of Scott Brick, he does well in this. The production was a little weird. At times he sounds like he is talking through a cheerleaders megaphone. Sometimes the change from one paragraph to another is extreme and sounds like they squashed the recording to make the recording shorter, like some radio stations do to programs, so they can get in more commercials, but it is not bad enough to detract.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.