In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the Sea

The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

by Nathaniel Philbrick
Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
List Price: $17.00 Sale Price: $14.45
“Hope was all that stood between them and death.”

This is a fantastic story but it's not for the faint of heart (or stomach.) The sinking of the whaleship Essex haunted the nineteenth century like the Titanic would haunt the twentieth. When the wooden whaling ship left the harbor of Nantucket with twenty men aboard their motive was oil. But the prey turned on the hunters when an enormous sperm whale attacked their ship and left them stranded on open sea, 1500 miles from land, in three tiny whaling boats.

The lengths these men would go to survive was chilling and haunted the popular imagination for years, including that of Herman Melville. The story of the enormous white whale, and first mate Owen Chase's obsession with it, inspired Moby Dick.

On the new movie: it messes with the timeline of the events for dramatic effect but on the whole it's a great movie. A little slow paced but well worth it. It brings in Herman Melville as a framing device, having one of the survivors tell him the whole story, which makes for a surprisingly uplifting ending.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
Did you find this review helpful?