In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, by Nathaniel Philbrick

This is the story of the real life inspiration for “Moby Dick,” the sinking in 1820 of the “Essex” due to being rammed by an enormous sperm whale. Philbrick fills the reader in on the 19th century whaling industry, the economy on Nantucket and the lives of the individual Essex crew members. After the sinking the sailors faced a horrific journey of 4,500 miles in three tiny boats which over the next three months, not all of them survivied. I enjoyed the local history angle and learning more about whaling.

Winner of the National Book Award in 2000.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good
Reviewed by: kh

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You can also read reviews here of two of Nathaniel Philbrick’s other books:
Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery: The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

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Filed under Award Winners, Non Fiction, Staff Picks

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