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

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9780756966355: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy Ofthe Whaleship Essex
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In the Heart of the Sea Now available in paperback, this true-life bestseller tells the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship "Essex"--an event that served as the inspiration for Melville's "Moby Dick". of illustrations. Full description

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Product Description:

Now available in paperback, this true-life bestseller tells the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex--an event that served as the inspiration for Melville's Moby Dick. of illustrations.

Review:

The appeal of Dava Sobel's Longitude was that it illuminated a little-known piece of history through a series of captivating incidents and engaging personalities. Nathaniel Philbrick's In The Heart of the Sea certainly covers the same area, by examining the 19th-century Pacific whaling industry through the arc of the sinking of the whaleship Essex by a boisterous sperm whale. The story which inspired Herman Melville's classic, Moby Dick, has a lot going for it--derring-do, cannibalism, rescue--and Philbrick proves an amiable and well-informed narrator, providing both context and detail. We learn about the importance and mechanics of blubber production--a vital source of oil--and we get the nuts and bolts of harpooning and life onboard whalers. Neither are we spared the nitty gritty of the open boats and sucking human bones dry.

By sticking to the tried and tested Longitude formula, Philbrick has missed a slight trick or two. The epicentre of the whaling industry was Nantucket, a small island off Cape Cod; most of the whales were in the Pacific, a huge journey around the southernmost tip of America. We never learn the reason for this distance and why no one ever tried to create an alternative whaling capital somewhere nearer. Similarly, Philbrick tells us that the story of the Essex was well known to Americans for decades but he never explores how such legends fade from our consciousness. Philbrick would no doubt reply that such questions were beyond his remit and you can't exactly accuse him of skimping on his research; 50 pages of footnotes is impressive by any standards and to give him his credit he wears his learning light. Unlike many academics, he doesn't get bogged down in turgid detail and the narrative rattles along at a nice pace. And when the story line is as good as this, you can't really ask for more.--John Crace

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780141001821: In the Heart of the Sea

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0141001828 ISBN 13:  9780141001821
Publisher: Penguin, 2001
Softcover

9780670891573: In the Heart of the Sea

Viking, 2000
Hardcover

9780143126812: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

Pengui..., 2015
Softcover

9780008126834: In the Heart of the Sea: The incredible True Story that Inspired Moby-Dick

Willia..., 2015
Softcover

9780006531203: In the Heart of the Sea: The Epic True Story that Inspired 'Moby Dick'

Harper..., 2005
Softcover

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