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


I’m going to be honest here. I bought this book after watching the movie and I thought the book was going to be historical fiction, I mean I knew about the Essex and that it was the inspiration for Moby Dick (which I will be reading again shortly). But I thought the book would read like the movie played out, with characters and lots of dialog and scenery described in metaphor. That wasn’t exactly the case.

After my initial disappointment I went ahead a read the book and I’m happy I did. It was an interesting and enjoyable read. I learned a few things about ships and the seafaring way of life. For instance, a coxswain is someone who is in charge of the steering and navigation of the boat or ship.

The sinking of The Essex was a huge deal at the time, it made and broke men’s careers. And the men did things in order to survive that they probably weren’t proud of. We often see things in movies or read them in books and we say we could never do those things. But put in a situation where I had to eat a shipmate so that I could live, I’m probably going to eat him. Being hungry is an awful feeling….starving would be something close to torture I think.

Anyway, if you haven’t read it, give this book a chance. I loved it. And the movie was good too.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

PS. The image above is from the movie poster. I used it because I thought it was cool.

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