Title Profile & Character Information

In the Heart of the Sea

Annotation
"The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the Titanic disaster was in the twentieth. Nathaniel Philbrick now restores this story - which inspired the climactic scene in Herman Melville's Moby Dick - to its rightful place in American history." "In 1819, the 238-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, the unthinkable happened: in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, the Essex was rammed and sunk by an enraged sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew, fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, decided instead to sail their three tiny boats for the distant South American coast. They would eventually travel over 4,500 miles. The next three months tested just how far humans could go in their battle against the sea as, one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear." "Nathaniel Philbrick brings an incredible story to life, from the intricacies of Nantucket's whaling economy and the mechanics of sailing a square-rigger to the often mysterious behavior of whales. But it is his portrayal of the crew of the Essex that makes this a heartrending book. These were not romantic adventurers, but young working men, some teenagers, just trying to earn a living in the only way they knew how. They were a varied lot; the ambitious first mate, Owen Chase, whose impulsive nature failed at a crucial moment, then drew him to a more dangerous course; the cabin boy, Thomas Nickerson, whose long-lost account of the ordeal, written at age seventy-one, provides new insights into the story; and Captain George Pollard, who was forced to take the most horrifying step if any of his men were to survive."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Awards
2000  National Book Awards
2000  New York Times Notable Books of the Year
2001  Ambassador Book Awards
2001  Alex Awards

GenreNonFiction
Historical
Adventure
    --Nautical
TopicsShipwrecks
Sea adventures
Seafaring life
Whaling ships
Whale hunting
Expeditions
SettingUnited States
Mexico
Sea