Final Voyage: A Story of Arctic Disaster and One Fateful Whaling Season
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Final Voyage: A Story of Arctic Disaster and One Fateful Whaling Season

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  13 reviews

In the summer of 1871, thirty-two whaling ships, carrying 12-year-old William Fish Williams, son of a whaling captain, and 1,218 other men, women, and children, were destroyed in an Arctic ice storm. In a rescue operation of unparalleled daring and heroism, not a single life was lost, but the impact on America's first oil industry was fateful and catastrophic.

The harvesti

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by Putnam Adult
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The full title of the book is “Final Voyage: A Story of Arctic Disaster and One Fateful Whaling Season,” so my expectations were for a story of survival, leadership, human reactions under stress, and perhaps interactions between cultures. There is very little about the title event. The book SHOULD be called, “A history of the rise and fall of the whaling industry in New England. “ Perhaps with different expectations I would have reacted more favorably towards this rambling, disorganized, poorly...more
G.L. Tysk
This was the most depressing whaling history book I've ever read, and I own and have read quite a few books about whaling. Like a lot of other people who have reviewed the book here on Goodreads and Amazon, I think the description is a bit misleading. The blurb promises an adventure story of survival a la Nathaniel Philbrick's "In The Heart of the Sea" while in actuality "Final Voyage" is definitely at its heart a history of New Bedford, Quakerism, and the decline of the whaling industry and som...more
Paul Pessolano
This book tells several stories. The first story deals with the people and the cities that brought about the incredible wealth gained from whaling. The second story deals with one of the largest maritime diasters in history. The third story deals with the collapse of this empire and those that survived.

The whaling industry was centered in the town of New Bedford, Massachusetts. New Bedford was probably the wealthiest town in the United States at this time. New Bedford was primarily settled by th...more
Kate  K. F.
Two historical stories are intertwined in Final Voyage; the whaling season of 1871 in which the majority of the fleet was lost after becoming trapped in the Artic ice and the story of the birth of the whaling industry in New Bedford. The story in New Bedford focuses on a family named Howland, who at one point owned one of the most profitable whaling businesses and their history as Quakers as well as looking at the decline of whaling through them.

This is a pleasant read that moves quickly using t...more
Final Voyage is a good book for what it is, but it did not turn out to be at all what I had expected or wanted. I ordered this book because the product description led me to think that it would be an incredible story of personal challenge, sacrifice, and survival in the Arctic. Don't get me wrong, this book has hints of those dimensions, but the book is mainly about the history of the New England whaling industry and the establishment, rise, and economic fall of whaling ports like Nantuckett and...more
More than an adventure story about one disastrous whaling season, Fatal Voyage traces the origins of New Bedford, the ascetic Quaker underpinnings that strongly influenced whaling culture, and the ever-increasing lengths to which whalers would go to hold on to the only way of life many of them had ever known. Arctic disasters or not, whaling was doomed as soon as oil was discovered in Pennsylvania. This was a fascinating peek into a little-known religious community and the lives of men at sea.
Linnéa Lilleøien-schützén
Agreed. The title really is misleading. This is a history book about whalers and Quakers and their fate. Not at all exciting, unless you're into that stuff.
Sounded like it would be a gripping book of an Arctic adventure. NOT. Oh well. Was very informative and educational, but it took me ages to slog through. It had maybe one chapter of details of the ships trapped in the ice in the Arctic, but even that wasn't terribly compelling. They made it out. All fine. Lots of historical background about the whaling industry in New England from colonial times through the late 1800s. Again, informative but not wildly interesting.
Interesting reading, dramatic re-telling of the loss of much of the New Bedford whaling fleet in Arctic ice. I have read lots recently about this period, so there was little new material, but the some, and the presentation is very good. Lots of stories of actual people, some logbook
entries and so on. I was reading fast, skimming somewhat for information that would shed further light on world of Hetty Howland Robinson Green.
Interesting story with important lessons for managing our remaining natural resources. Found the story a little hard to follow sometimes and the author took some tangents, which were interesting, but this book covers much more than just one fateful whaling season.

Narration is good.
This is really the history of whaling -- its rise and fall. Nichols has researched his topic well. I don't know what he could have left out, but about 3/4 of the way through his book, I needed to hurry him along.
Ed Budden
I agree with others who have reviewed this book. It is a good history of New Bedford whaling but not really the adventure story you would expect from reading the title of the book.
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