Leviathan : The History of Whaling in America

3.99 (915 ratings by Goodreads)
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The epic history of the "iron men in wooden boats" who built an industrial empire through the pursuit of whales. "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme," Herman Melville proclaimed, and this absorbing history demonstrates that few things can capture the sheer danger and desperation of men on the deep sea as dramatically as whaling. Eric Jay Dolin begins his vivid narrative with Captain John Smith's botched whaling expedition to the New World in 1614. He then chronicles the rise of a burgeoning industry-from its brutal struggles during the Revolutionary period to its golden age in the mid-1800s when a fleet of more than 700 ships hunted the seas and American whale oil lit the world, to its decline as the twentieth century dawned. This sweeping social and economic history provides rich and often fantastic accounts of the men themselves, who mutinied, murdered, rioted, deserted, drank, scrimshawed, and recorded their experiences in journals and memoirs. Containing a wealth of naturalistic detail on whales, Leviathan is the most original and stirring history of American whaling in many decades.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 140 x 211 x 33mm | 400g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0393331571
  • 9780393331578
  • 372,068

Review quote

"Mr. Dolin handles this long, complex tale with great skill, both as a historian and as a writer (the bibliography and illustrations are splended too)...Leviathan is thoroughly engaging." -- John Steele Gordon - The Wall Street Journal "Starred Review. Engrossing account...at once grand and quirky, entertaining and informative." -- Publishers Weekly "Leviathan is an exhaustive, richly detailed history of industrial American whaling...Dolin succeeds admirably at what he sets out to do: tell the story of one of the strangest industries in American history." -- Bruce Barcott - New York Times "...perfect summer reading, especially if you happen to be spending the summer by the sea, or on it." -- Adam Kirsch - New York Sun
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About Eric Jay Dolin

Eric Jay Dolin is the best-selling author of
Leviathan and Brilliant Beacons. He and his family
live in Marblehead, Massachusetts, from which the
pirate John Quelch departed in 1703, and returned
to in 1704, only to be hanged in Boston.
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Rating details

915 ratings
3.99 out of 5 stars
5 31% (283)
4 44% (399)
3 21% (188)
2 3% (32)
1 1% (13)
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