Staff Pick – Laura Jean– IN THE HEART OF THE SEA by Nathaniel Philbrick, DB 50271

The recent theatrical release of the movie In the Heart of the Sea, featuring Chris Hemsworth and directed by Ron Howard, has generated new interest in the book that inspired it. Author Nathaniel Philbrick won the National Book Award for nonfiction for this exploration of the 1820 sinking of the Whaleship Essex, the event which inspired Herman Melville to write the classic novel, Moby Dick.

Written in a compelling literary style, The Heart of the Sea delves into the survivors’ long journey and fight for survival. Philbrick compares their story to that of the mutiny on the Bounty and other survivals at sea. Taking a scholarly approach, he examines various studies about leadership traits that result in successful outcomes during times of crisis. In addition, Philbrick investigates Herman Melville’s interest in the story and subsequent writing of Moby Dick.

NLS Annotation for IN THE HEART OF THE SEA: THE TRAGEDY OF THE WHALESHIP ESSEX by Nathaniel Philbrick (DB 50271): Relying mainly on the cabin boy’s journal discovered in 1960, the author recounts the disastrous 1819 voyage of the whaling ship Essex. He describes the attack of an eighty-five-foot bull sperm whale, and the ensuing starvation, dehydration, and cannibalism that befalls the shipwrecked survivors. Bestseller.

If you have already read this book or enjoy true life nautical survival adventures you may also like IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE: THE GRAND AND TERRIBLE POLAR VOYAGE OF THE USS JEANNETTE by Hampton Sides (DB 79535). Or if you prefer a fictional sea adventure, you might try TERROR by Dan Simmons (DB 63124).