In the Heart of the Sea

The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

Philbrick, Nathaniel

Book - 2001
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
In the Heart of the Sea
In 1819, the 238-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage to hunt whales. Fifteen months later the Essex was rammed and sunk by an enraged sperm whale. Fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, the 20-man crew set out in three small boats for South America, almost 3,000 miles away. Three months later, only eight were left alive. This book shares a fantastic saga of survival and adventure, steeped in the lore of the whaling tradition, with deep resonance in literature and American history, and in the life of the Nantucket community. - Back cover.

Publisher: New York : Penguin, 2001
ISBN: 0141001828
Branch Call Number: 910.45 P545i 2001
Characteristics: xvi, 301 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill., maps ;,21 cm


From Library Staff

List - Sea voyages gone wrong by: multcolib_tamaf Jun 23, 2014

The brilliantly written true story behind Melville's Moby Dick. That's right, it really happened. And this is better than Moby Dick. I read this at the coast a couple years ago and it blew my mind.

Recounts the story of the 1820 wreck of the whaleship Essex, which inspired Melville's classic "Moby-Dick," and describes its doomed crew's ninety-day attempt to survive whale attacks and the elements on three tiny lifeboats.

From the Publisher's Weekly Review: "With a gracefulness of language that rarely falters, Philbrick spins a ghastly, irresistible tale."

From the critics

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Jan 12, 2015
  • LMN1988 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Best book I've read in a long time. This haunting, true story had me captivated from the very first page. Also renewed my interest in reading Moby Dick.

Jun 30, 2014
  • Lexxuss3o rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Oh My Gosh! So much I could say about this true story of whaling. You will learn about the voyage of the Whaleship Essex, hear about the whale and its attack, and finally, the sinking. What follows the sinking is for you to read in the quiet of night. It warrants no further comment except the likely outcome for you that you will not be able to put the book down.
This is a very well-researched and beautifully written book, You, simply, will not be able to put it down.

Mar 20, 2014
  • KCLSRecommends rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The true (& unique) story that inspired Melville's classic "Moby Dick"! Hard to believe how one whale could act with such intelligence and (well-deserved) malevolence in wrecking this whaling ship -- and how it seemingly had never happened to any whaling ship before or since!

Aug 23, 2013
  • sess430 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is a gripping & horrifying story of survival of the ship-wrecked sailors in the Pacific Ocean that took place in 1820 after the Essex was attacked by a whale. I read online that Ron Howard is set to begin filming the story in September. I'm not sure I'll have the courage to see the horror enacted on the big screen.


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