Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex” as Want to Read:
Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  255 ratings  ·  26 reviews
An account of a ship's encounter with a great white whale.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Lyons Press (first published 1821)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 469)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
In November of 1820, the whaleship Essex sank after being repeatedly rammed by a sperm whale. The sailors salvaged food, water, and supplies, then they took off for land, hoping to be picked up by another ship along the way. The men spent months on the open ocean in three small boats, and only eight out of the original twenty five crew members survived.

This short book was written by Owen Chase, the first mate of the Essex, soon after he arrived home in Nantucket. Chase describes what happened a
A good account of the wreck of the Essex and their subsequent struggle for survival. Includes accounts by Owen Chase, Captain Pollard, and an account by Thomas Chapple from a religious tract. Along with Herman's notes (unreadable) and the transcription.
A very strange foreword by Tim Cahill includes this:
The reader who wishes to compare the destruction of the fictional Pequod with the historic Essex may conclude that Herman Melville stacked the metaphysical deck. The Pequod, for instance, was on
I was really surprised that I found the story interesting...but it touches on aspects of the whaling industry that I honestly didn't really have any knowledge of...digresses into an explanation of the effect of dehydration...even into the impact the ships crew had on one of the islands of the Galapagos.

It's better then Moby Dick could have been because of the facts the author provides...I really had a good sense of the horrible conditions the crew suffered...and how far the survivors had to come
This is the account of one of the survivors of the Whaleship Essex that was to inspire Melville to write Moby Dick. This was a very interesting read about survival at sea and how they did it for so long. Also the amazing eye witness account of how a sperm whale purposefully rammed a whaleship, turned around and did it again till it sank. How to survive at sea? Drink urine, guard the food, and eat your dead friends.
This is the REAL story of what happened...Moby Dick was fictionalized...and this was told by a cabin boy whose tale does not reflect well on the officers...I DO love stories of the sea!
Setting out from Nantucket in 1819 the whaleship 'Essex' was off on just another whaling expedition. But what was to transpire was an epic tale of heroic endeavour with men constantly on the brink of danger and death.

A whale was to ram and destroy the 'Essex' and the 20 crew managed to escape, with some material saved from the ship, in three small boats. They were then to endure almost three months at sea with little food and water.

After many weeks at sea they landed on an island but found littl
Nancy Oakes
Including a glossary of terms, this book is only 106 pages long, but packs a wallop! Gary Kinder, himself an author, wrote the introduction to this small narrative, and his ending words were "As you sit in your chair, the subliminal thought recurs: My god, this really happened." I knew then I was in for a good read.

The first mate of the whaleship Essex, Owen Chase, set down a chronological narrative of events that happened to himself and the crew of the Essex, after the fact. In Novembe
Everett Darling
This is extreme reading. Chase, like Nickerson, captures the nail-biting (pun totally intended) Essex tale with such great immediacy, engulfing the reader in empathetic despair. My interest in this story has reached fever-pitch. Now after having read all available documentation, Philbrick´s award-winning read, and Moby Dick, inspired by the Essex tale, I can go on to reading about something else. I ask again however, if anyone knows or has heard of any writing from Captain Pollard. Melville make ...more
...finished it... quick read.
"in the heart of the sea" was a much more compelling version of the same story, although i appreciated the real experience perspective in this one. now back to fiction :)

taking a break from the toddler parenting / sleep books... i'm not a big historical fiction person, but i'd read "in the heart of the sea" years ago... it's interesting so far to hear the story from another perspective, although the un-modern language is a bit dry at times. the
Nov 27, 2011 Yuki rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yuki by: Carol Birch, author of Jamrach's Menagerie
"I turned around and saw him about one hundred rods directly ahead of us, coming down apparently with twice his ordinary speed and, it appeared to me at that moment, with tenfold fury and vengeance in his aspect. The surf flew in all directions about him, and his course towards us was marked by white foam a rod in width which he made with the continual violent thrashing of his tail. His head was about half out of water, and in that way he came upon and again struck the ship." (12)

rod = 16.5'
This accounting of the sinking whale ship Essex in 1820 in the Pacific. This book is the first hand account of First Mate Owen Chases experience. Twenty crew members were left stranded on three boats after a sperm whale sunk their ship. They then fought the sun, storms, starvation, dehydration until the few survivors that remained were rescued. The accounting was the inspiration for the Herman Melville's classic novel "Moby Dick".
Terrific account of the trials and tribulations of the crew of the Whaleship Essex, who faced starvation and a drift across the ocean after a whale sank their ship. Chase's style, explaining the events and the lengths the crew had to go to to survive is plainly told making it very compelling. This is the book that inspired Herman Melville's "Moby Dick."
A first-person account of the unprecedented attack on a whaleship by its prey. The story includes incredible accounts of fear, deprivation, courage-- and only one exclamation point. Intriguing as a historical document, not particularly interesting as a piece of writing.
Amazingly written. These are the account of the survivors of the whaler ship Essex. How they've struggled in surviving the shipwreck, endured in cannibalism and remained calm with a little glimpse of hope till their last breathe. The real story where Moby Dick was fictionalized.
An incredibly heart-wrenching, detailed, haunting account of the whaleship The Essex, whose story became the inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Couldn't put it down. Lent to me during my recuperation from surgery by Katie Gilbert. Thanks!
Looking for adventure and history? This is an amazing story--I could not stop reading it!

This is the first-person account of the story that inspired "In the Heart of the Sea."
Hater Shepard
"Let's say I gotta' gun in my hand. Six slugs, six points of view. Materialism. Let's say I gotta book in my hand. 50,000 words, 50,000 translations. Idealism."
It's unfortunate that all of the books on this are so similarly named. I enjoyed the one I read, but I'm not absolutely certain that this was it.
Robert Carman
A truly great epic that occurs once in a thousand years. The true story that inspired the novel Moby Dick. Don’t miss it.
This is a riveting life-and-death saga of man against the deep that inspired the writing of Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
This is an amazing story of survival that is well told. I highly recommend this to those who like that type of story.
Michael Armstrong
Easy but engrossing read about the true life and death struggle that was the inspiration for Melville's Moby Dick.
Excellent book!
The true story of how man hunted whales and how a whale hunted man. Turn around is fair play.
Jeff Morgan
A very good read and a chilling event that was easily one of the epics of its day.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Basis for Melville's Moby Dick. I'm rooting for the whale!
Can't beat a true story like this!
Debra marked it as to-read
Dec 27, 2014
Patty Grooms
Patty Grooms marked it as to-read
Dec 25, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Second Quarter Book Review 1 2 Jan 31, 2014 05:47PM  
  • The Home Of The Blizzard: A True Story Of Antarctic Survival
  • Starlight and Storm
  • Travels Into the Interior of Africa
  • Cooper's Creek
  • The Royal Road to Romance: Travelers' Tales Classics
  • Everest: The West Ridge
  • No Picnic on Mount Kenya: A Daring Escape, A Perilous Climb
  • The Spirit of St. Louis
  • Kabloona
  • Journal of a Trapper: In the Rocky Mountains Between 1834 and 1843; Comprising a General Description of the Country, Climate, Rivers, Lakes, Mountains, ETC the Nature and Habits of Animals, Manners and Customs of Indians and a Complete View of the Life...
  • The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent
  • The Mountain of My Fear / Deborah : A Wilderness Narrative: Two Mountaineering Classics in One Volume
  • Minus 148 Degrees
  • North American Indians
  • My Life as an Explorer
  • Gipsy Moth Circles the World
  • Travels in West Africa
  • The Journals
The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex Il naufragio della baleniera Essex Beneath the Heart of the Sea: The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex: The Illustrated Edition

Share This Book