Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890
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Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  18 reviews
History of Nantucket Island focuses on the real people (great and obscure, famous and infamous) behind one of America’s most extraordinary success stories: Nantucket, the tiny island that became the whaling capital of the world.
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Penguin Books (first published December 1993)
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Peggie Ross
I really enjoyed this book. Being a series of stories about individual people, it is one which is easy to pick up and read in short spurts. Yet, that said, there is also the cohesion of being chronological as well as the fact that the small population meant that families track through the entire book. I look forward to reading more books by this author.
Kay Robart
Philbrick relates the history of the island largely by focusing on a few colorful individuals and families, and principally on two antagonistic factions. Although that strategy makes the book interesting, I’m not sure it provides a true reflection of the island through time.

I felt that the book makes assumptions about the readers’ knowledge of Nantucket, as if it was written for the inhabitants or at least those who are frequent visitors. He often makes comments like "the house was located where...more
Justina
I looooove Nathaniel Philbrick. This book gave an excellent look into the history of Nantucket, an island that went from Revolutionary isolation, to worldwide fame, to becoming a tourist hotspot beginning in the late 19th century. Philbrick gives a fascinating look into the lives of some of Nantucket's most notable heroes and villains, exciting whaling voyages, the unique culture that fostered the autonomy of such memorable women as astronomer Maria Mitchell, and more. Highly recommended for any...more
Melanie Guerra
Another great read by Nathaniel Philbrick. A terrific look at the history of a tiny island that once was mighty. As always, Philbrick is scholarly but not tedious, thorough but not dull. He does the legacy of the once powerful Nantucket whalers incredible justice in the telling of their story, and how it came to be. He adds much-overlooked truth to the well-known stories of early settlers and their relationships with Native Americans, the abolitionist movement, the Quakers and the American Revol...more
Zoe

A whaling history of Nantucket. I bought this book while visiting the island to get some perspective on what it was before it became a tourist destination for the very rich. The history of the (amazingly profit focused) Quakers and the history of strong women (who ran the island while the men were at sea) is interesting. The writing in the book is simple and eloquent and the chapters are a series of snapshots in a 300 year history.
Sara
An interesting and accssible history (there are many notes and references but they do not intrude on the narrative journey). Nathaniel Philbrick describes Nantucket from the days of the first English settlers and their interaction with the Native Americans to its development as the first American seaside resort, showing that there is more to the history of Nantucket than whales!
John
Great overview of the island's history, especially its rise and fall as a whaling port. Not sure how relevant, or easy to follow, it'd be for folks who've never been to Nantucket (disclaimer: I've spent a great deal of time there). So, particularly recommended for those with a strong interest in colonial-era New England (or at least pre-Civil War), or the whaling industry.
Melinda
This was great to read while I've been here in Nantucket on vacation, but I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much without the context. It really added something to my experience, though, and I'd recommend it to people who are traveling to Nantucket or who are into sailing/the history of whaling.
Gail
I loved it. I can't imagine too many people are so interested in the early history of Nantucket, but since the book details the arrival of Thomas Macy (my 9th great grandfather) and various Coffins, Starbucks, Gardeners, through to my 5th great grandparents, I found it fascinating.
Olivia
Skimmed through this while we were in Nantucket, and enjoyed learning more about the history of the island. I would have appreciated hearing more stories about daily life on Nantucket and the character of the people here - but the emphasis of the book seemed to be on the whaling voyages.
Terrell
Great book for fans of Nantucket! It profiles different prominent citizens from all walks of life. Philbrick is a great writer who really turns each story into a narrative both about the island and its inhabitants. I am hoping to read some of his other books soon.
McC
This is a great synopsis of the history of Nantucket. I found it quick enjoyable, but I wonder if it's due to my love of his subject. Without a close personal connection to the island, I'm not sure if a reader would find it worthwhile.
Gail
A good read on a subject that wouldn't necessarily be of general interest. From the forward it would seem that this book is the one that started Nathaniel Philbrick on his course of writing popular history, and that's a very good thing.
Avis Black
Definitely a local history, and as such its appeal is essentially limited. I have to admit my main interest in this book stems from the fact that he's writing about my ancestors and a bunch of other collateral relatives.
Seena
A very interesting book by the author of Mayflower. Tells of the people and whaling on Nantucket Island and the settling and Revolutionary War connection.
Nathan Caress
Loosely related and easily digestible, this book of short histories of Nantucket people epitomizes easy - yet not insubstantial - summer/beach reading.
Andrew
A nice history of Nantucket. Sags a bit in the middle, but the entire book is buoyed by Nathaniel Philbrick's lyric writing style.
Dannysoms
a little too much detail but not bad
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1641
Philbrick was Brown’s first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978; that year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI; today he and his wife Melissa sail their Beetle Cat Clio and their Tiffany Jane 34 Marie-J in the waters surrounding Nantucket Island.

After grad school, Philbrick worked for four years at Sailing World magazine; was a freelancer for a number of years, during whic...more
More about Nathaniel Philbrick...
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn Why Read Moby-Dick? Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842

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