Ken's Reviews > In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
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's review
Mar 27, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: true-adventure, favorites
Read in February, 2004

This is a great nautical introduction for the landlubber. Philbrick does a great job of telling the straight story of Nantucket, of whaling, of this journey, of what happened to the men, and of what happened to their legend.

Philbrick especially does a great job of filling-in-the-blanks when the historical record is thin. When the men are adrift with minimal food for weeks, he uses WWII-era experiments to speculate what probably happened to the men’s physiology and psychology. He interviews contemporary whale experts to evaluate the likelihood of the reputed whale behavior.

Overall, a great story well-told and well-researched, and deserving of the National Book Award. It inspired me to make a trip to the New Bedford Whaling museum!
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