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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

Wow

If you like history and are intrigued by the sea, then please give this book a listen. I learned so much about the history of trade, as well as the whaling industry. The book is a fast listen, and a story that couldn't have been written better as fiction. The narrator did a fine job as well.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Vincent
  • Sauquoit, NY, United States
  • 12-10-08

Very Interesting

I bought this one on a whim not having much to do with or knowledge of Nantuckett or whaling. I found it very captivating and quite entertaining. The historical accounts of the surviving crew members and Nantuckett in general was a great touch to the main portion of the book. Made me want to visit the museum.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

unreal

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Great story of human spirit

What three words best describe Edward Herrmann’s performance?

Great voice

Any additional comments?

I did not care for music, Sometimes it played as story went on.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jim
  • Beaufort, NC
  • 03-31-10

Excellent

Well worth the listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Moby-Dick Without All That Riveting Whale Taxonomy

This book has it all: shipwrecks, sharks, and cannibalism. And it’s all true! The Essex is the whaleship that inspired Herman Melville’s classic (and one of my favorite books), Moby-Dick, and its real-life tale is stranger than fiction. After an 80 ton sperm whale repeatedly rammed and sank their ship, 20 crew members were left stranded in three tiny boats in the middle of the ocean. Spoiler: not everyone makes it.

This book is a doozy of a page-turner, and Philbrick does an incredible job digging into all of the nuances of life before, during, and after surviving such a mind-boggling tragedy. In the Heart of the Sea is a perfect companion piece to Moby-Dick, or a great stand-alone read for anyone who’s ever wanted to read Moby-Dick but can do without all that riveting whale taxonomy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story- excellent narration

The descriptions of the whaling ships and the process of breaking down a whale will stick with me for a long time!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Riveting story that I just couldn't turn off

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

The reader was fantastic. He made you beleive that you were actually there seeing what he was reading to you about.

What did you like best about this story?

The believeablilty of the reader

Which character – as performed by Edward Herrmann – was your favorite?

Any of the boatmen. They all had a tale to tell that was just engulfing.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was just so involved in the story and the whalemen and the events that happened I could almost smell the salt sea air as Edward had us sailing along on the Essex. Fantastic!<br/>

Any additional comments?

This is a keeper that I will listen to again and again. I always learn more each time I re-listen to a book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent

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

Well recorded. We listened to it while driving from Maryland to North Carolina. The story provoked much conversation.

  • Overall
  • Performance

It was short and nice listen

I did not realize this was a abridged version. I listened to it and it was over quickly. A quick survival story that is not easily known, Philbrick uses rare journal to create a real vision of the Essex sinking. I wish it had been longer.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing

Great listen!
One of the best stories I've heard. Recommend the audible "unbroken" if you like this. The narrator is perfect for this book.