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The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale (Penguin Classics) Paperback – May 1, 2000
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About the Author
Nathaniel Philbrick is a leading authority on the history of Nantucket Island. His In the Heart of the Sea won the National Book Award. His latest book is Sea of Glory, about the epic U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838–1842. His other books include Away off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890 (which Russell Baker called "indispensable") and Abram's Eyes: The Native American Legend of Nantucket Island ("a classic of historical truthtelling," according to Stuart Frank, director of the Kendall Whaling Museum). He has written an introduction to a new edition of Joseph Hart's Miriam Coffin, or The Whale Fisherman, a Nantucket novel (first published in 1834) that Melville relied upon for information about the island when writing Moby Dick.
Philbrick, a champion sailboat racer, has also written extensively about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor (1987) and the forthcoming Second Wind: A Sunfish Sailor's Odyssey. He was editor in chief of the classic Yaahting: A Parody (1984).
In his role as director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies, Philbrick, who is also a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association, gives frequent talks about Nantucket and sailing. He has appeared on "NBC Today Weekend", A&E's "Biography" series, and National Public Radio and has served as a consultant for the movie "Moby Dick", shown on the USA Network. He received a bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Master of Arts in American Literature from Duke. He lives on Natucket with his wife and two children.
Top Customer Reviews
After having killed off the whale population in the Atlantic, the New England whale ships pushed farther into the ocean to find their prey - the spermacetti whale. Hunting grounds in the Pacific were discovered and, after a year's journey rounding South America in which it lost half of its boats in a sudden gale, the whale ship Essex set out to fill its hold with the valuable whale oil armed with only 3 small boats. During a hunt, one of the boats was stove by the death throes of a speared sperm whale and returned to the ship. While enacting repairs, the pings of the first mate's hammer attracted the attention of a large bull sperm whale, a creature uniquely designed for ramming. The bull made two charges, collapsing the bow of the ship on either side of the keel, and 20 men found themselves alone, in 3 open boats, deep in the heart of the blue Pacific, with only faint hopes of rescue.
The Essex did not sink immediately, and the men were able to salvage a few casks of water, some navigational instruments, and hard biscuits (which would later be fouled by ocean spray and induce dehydration in the men). The first mate also had paper and pencil, which he used for keeping a daily diary of their attempts to survive the ravages of storms, thirst, hunger, and attacks by killer whales and large sharks.
I read this book prior to reading "In The Heart of The Sea", also by Nathaniel Philbrick, and I was glad I did. The first-person narratives really bring home the tale, and Philbrick's other book helps fill in the historical background.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent. All the first hand accounts as well as other documents related to the disaster. Very well put together.Published 7 months ago by Smart Shopper
Great read - what really happened to the Essex - grist for Melville's mill & "the Heart of the Sea"Published 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
A great book with harrowing details. This will keep you on the edge of your seat.Published 11 months ago by Travis Grimler
great story and history...I bought this for my husband who loves books like this on Whales and Nantucket history. He loves it...Published 12 months ago by Sandy M.
Very interesting and a great companion piece to "In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick.Published 17 months ago by Amazonian