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

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

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Nathaniel Philbrick

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  • Publisher: Penguin USA
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 201mm x 20mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 1 May 2001
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0141001828
  • ISBN 13: 9780141001821
  • Edition statement: Reissue
  • Sales rank: 26,628

Product description

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, and directed by Ron Howard. 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 twenty 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 ninety 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.

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Author information

Nathaniel Philbrick grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a BA in English from Brown University and an MA in America Literature from Duke University, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. He was Brown University's first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978, the same year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI. After working as an editor at "Sailing World" magazine, he wrote and edited several books about sailing, including "The Passionate Sailor, Second Wind," and "Yaahting: A Parody." In 1986, Philbrick moved to Nantucket with his wife Melissa and their two children. In 1994, he published his first book about the island's history, "Away Off Shore," followed by a study of the Nantucket's native legacy, "Abram's Eyes." He was the founding director of Nantucket's Egan Maritime Institute and is still a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association. In 2000, Philbrick published the "New York Times" bestseller "In the Heart of the Sea, "which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book is the basis of the forthcoming Warner Bros. motion picture "Heart of the Sea," directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker, Ben Wishaw, and Tom Holland, which is scheduled for release in March, 2015. The book also inspired a 2001 Dateline special on NBC as well as the 2010 two-hour PBS American Experience film "Into the Deep" by Ric Burns. His next book was "Sea of Glory," published in 2003, which won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. The New York Times Bestseller "Mayflower "was a finalist for both the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History and the "Los Angeles Times" Book Award, won the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction, and was named one the ten Best Books of 2006 by the "New York Times Book Review." "Mayflower" is currently in development as a limited series on FX. In 2010, he published the "New York Times" bestseller "The Last Stand," which was named a "New York Times" Notable book, a 2010 Montana Book Award Honor Book, and a 2011 ALA Notable Book. Philbrick was an on-camera consultant to the two-hour PBS American Experience film "Custer's Last Stand" by Stephen Ives. The book is currently being adapted for a ten-hour, multi-part television series. The audio book for Philbrick's "Why Read Moby-Dick?" (2011) made the ALA's Listen List in 2012 and was a finalist for the New England Society Book Award. Philbrick's latest "New York Times" bestseller, "Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution," was published in 2013 and was awarded both the 2013 New England Book Award for Non-Fiction and the 2014 New England Society Book Award. "Bunker Hill" won the 2014 book award from the Society of Colonial Wars, and has been optioned by Warner Bros. for feature film adaptation with Ben Affleck attached to direct. Philbrick has also received the Byrne Waterman Award from the Kendall Whaling Museum, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for distinguished service from the USS Constitution Museum, the Nathaniel Bowditch Award from the American Merchant Marine Museum, the William Bradford Award from the Pilgrim Society, and the Boston History Award from the Bostonian Society. He was named the 2011 Cushing Orator by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and has an honorary doctorate from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where he delivered the commencement address in 2009. Philbrick's writing has appeared in "Vanity Fair," the "New York Times Book Review," the "Wall Street Journal," the "Los Angeles Times," and the" Boston Globe." He has appeared on the Today Show, the Morning Show, Dateline, PBS's American Experience, C-SPAN, and NPR. He and his wife still live on Nantucket.

Customer reviews

By Chrissy 27 Oct 2013 4

Did I enjoy this book: I did. It was long and detailed. I read it over the course of six weeks where I put the book down to read some lighter comedy or chick lit. But the book continued to beckon my attention.

Smithsonian.com describes In the Heart of the Sea as the, �??�?�¢�?�¢?�?�¬�???true life horror that inspired Moby Dick.�??�?�¢�?�¢?�?�¬�??? Indeed, Melville himself documented in his masterpiece meeting the Captain of the Essex and described him as, �??�?�¢�?�¢?�?�¬�???the most impressive man . . . that I ever encountered.�??�?�¢�?�¢?�?�¬�???

Ok -enough with the name dropping. This book gets off to a slow start but mightily rewards the reader who sticks it out to the end. Great stories force us to examine some aspect of ourselves, our beliefs, and/or the culture around us. In the Heart of the Sea deals with the depths of human suffering and ultimately how we survive the unsurvivable. This novel sails somewhere south of Viktor Frankl�??�?�¢�?�¢?�?�¬�?�¢?�?�¢s Man�??�?�¢�?�¢?�?�¬�?�¢?�?�¢s Search for Meaning but never quite reaches the depths of depravity that we see in Joseph Conrad�??�?�¢�?�¢?�?�¬�?�¢?�?�¢s Heart of Darkness. But that undefinable grey area frequently described as �??�?�¢�?�¢?�?�¬�???situational morality�??�?�¢�?�¢?�?�¬�??? makes this story memorable and worth exploring.

Would I recommend it: Yes.

Will I read it again: I will not.

As reviewed by Belinda at Every Free Chance Book Reviews

Review quote

"A book that gets in your bones...Philbrick has created an eerie thriller from a centuries old tale....Scrupulously researched and eloquently written...it would have earned Melville's admiration." The New York Times Book Review "Fascinating...One of our country's great adventure stories...when it comes to extremes, In the Heart of the Sea is right there." The Wall Street Journal "Spellbinding." Time "[Told] with verve and authenticity...a classic tale of the sea." San Francisco Chronicle "Nathaniel Philbrick has taken one of the most horrifying stories in maritime history and turned it into a classic....One of the most chilling books I have ever read." Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm