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Publisher's Summary

Can a whale attack a ship? The shipwrecked crew of the whaleship Essex was living proof that it could when a whale displayed a fury never before witnessed, ramming and sinking their vessel in a matter of minutes in November 1820. The story of their survival is one rarely spoken of by Nantucketers even to this day, but National Book Award-winning author Nathaniel Philbrick courageously brings every shocking detail into the light. The result is this unforgettable and riveting account of the horrors of survival at sea.

Award-winning performance artist and poet Taylor Mali again brings another exciting and important slice of American history alive.

©2002 Nathaniel Philbrick; (P)2005 Audio Bookshelf

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, Children's Spoken Word

"One of our country's great adventure stories. (The Wall Street Journal)
"A compelling saga of desperation and survival." (School Library Journal)
"Mali makes sure that listeners ride the waves of exhilaration, fear, tragedy and joyous relief as he introduces the crew and their plight." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    5

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    22
  • 4 Stars
    11
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    5
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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Bellevue, WA, USA
  • 02-15-07

So great I want to hear the longer version.

This ranks my second favorite book on audible so far. My first is "Endurance: Shackelton's Incredible Voyage". Only bad part of the book was I felt as if I was missing some material because at the end of the audio book it said "Edited for children" and there is also 3 hour longer unabridged version(In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (Unabridged)). Nevertheless, the story is top notch. Highly recommended!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jonathan
  • Wilton, NY, United States
  • 04-18-05

Revenge of the Whale

Outstanding. One amazing story, coupled with the fact that it is well written and easy to read (or listen to in this case).

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Mobey Dick??

This was a very interesting story of a true whale encounter, followed by a story of courage, luck, and survival.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

One of the best books I've listened to.

This book is one of the best Ive heard on audible. It gives a complete picture of whaling in general and keeps you riveted until the last word. I highly recommend you give it a listen.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A lean diet indeed!

Couldn't put it down. Neither will you. The research by Philbrick is masterful. The life and death decisions will make you ponder your own response. Bon Apertit!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fact is better than Fiction

Would you consider the audio edition of Revenge of the Whale to be better than the print version?

Don't know, I only did the Audio version, not the print version

What did you like best about this story?

That it is a true story, that it is history, and that my ancestors had a part in it.

What about Taylor Mali’s performance did you like?

Kept the story interesting & engaging, I couldn't put it down.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Moby Dick has nothing on this tale (tail :-)

Any additional comments?

This story, the real story, is so much better than Moby Dick. I originally read it because it is about my ancestors & I wanted to know the story before the movie (In the Heart of the Sea) came out. Now I want to get all of Nathaniel Philbrick's books. I don't know anyone else that can write history as captivating as fiction.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mr
  • 04-29-13

No need for an Albino Whale

What does Taylor Mali bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Pronounces the 'H' in Whale... a minor annoyance

Any additional comments?

Great true story. If you want a maritime adventure of survival and a historical account of the yester-year whaling days, together with the power a true story envokes, this is for you.

  • Overall
  • Steven
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 12-31-05

Incredible Story

Such an amazing story would be outstanding if handled as a novel rather than as a matter of fact bit of history. A bit of literary license could have moistened this somewhat dry lump of hard tack.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • S. Morris
  • 01-06-15

An Incredible Story

This is one of those stories that captures the imagination and if it were not for the fact that it is a true story, you might think a work of fiction or an old sailors yarn.

This account of what happened to the men of the Whaler Essex was the basis for Herman Melville's Moby Dick. However, where Moby Dick ends is the start of the harrowing story of the Essex crew. A tale of survival while at sea in small boats after their 87 foot long whaler vessel was rammed and sunk by an 85 foot bull sperm whale in a deliberate and frighteningly calculating attack.

A riveting telling of the plight of the 20 men left to fend for themselves in three small whale boats and how thirst and starvation gripped them as days at sea hundreds of miles from anywhere turned into weeks and then resorting to cannibalism in order to survive. I would like Audible to obtain the unabridged version which is some three hours longer for a fuller account at some point in the future. The unabridged version entitled "In The Heart of The Sea" has now become a Ronald Howard movie scheduled for release in March 2015 and if it tells the story nearly as well as this book should be a very powerful film.

An incredible tale and one that will leave you wondering how the survivors ever coped.

Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful