A National Book Award Winner, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick is a well-written and focused telling of the circumstances which surrounded the final sailing of the doomed whaleship, the Essex. From Nantucket, the story stretches across the Atlantic and up into the Pacific, where the men meet a whale which inspired the story of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. Unlike other sperm whales, this large bull faces and attacks the ship which has been sent to find his kind. However, while the sinking is given due coverage, much of the book then looks at the 90+ days which the crew then faced in small whaleboats on the open ocean. While not a book which everyone would find interesting, as there are similarities between it and the Donnor Party, it is still, nevertheless, an important piece in the recorded history of whaling. Philbrick does a good job of pulling together the accounts of several survivors, as well as the insights of men like Melville.
Ishmael joined the crew of the whaling ship Pequod expecting a simple whaling voyage. Little did he know that the captain of the ship is thirsty for revenge against Moby Dick, the great white whale responsible for his missing leg. As the crew sails the ocean, Captain Ahab searches unceasingly for Moby Dick, ignoring warnings and prophecies of doom. When the white whale is finally spotted, a battle ensues that makes this novel by author Herman Melville one of the most epic sea stories of all time. This is an unabridged version of the American classic, which was first published in 1851.