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

Philbrick, Nathaniel
Penguin 2001
ISBN 0670891576
Date finished: 2002-03-29

(Recommended to me by Aldon Cole via e-mail; thanks, Aldon!) Explores a little-known byway of American history, the ordeal of the survivors of the Essex, a Nantucket whaling ship that was rammed by a whale in 1820. The sailors attempted to cross the thousands of miles that separated them from South America, and ended up spending 93 days on the water before rescue, resorting to cannibalism in order to survive. The story provided inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick, and Philbrick tells it well, covering everything from Nantucket's insular culture to the physiology of starvation. The book is a model of what a good historical popularization should be. (Note to self: add Moby Dick to my reading list, and add Nantucket to the list of places I'd like to visit.)

Tagged: maritime history


%T  In the Heart of the Sea
%@  2002-03-29
%A  Philbrick, Nathaniel
%G  ISBN 0670891576
%K  maritime history
%S The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
%D 2001
%I Penguin

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