The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale   -     By: Thomas Nickerson, Owen Chase
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The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale

Penguin Classics / 2000 / Paperback

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Product Description

In 1820, the Nantucket whaleship Essex, thousands of miles from home in the South Pacific, was rammed by an angry sperm whale. The Essex sank, leaving twenty crew members floating in three small boats for ninety days. The incident was the Titanic story of its day, and provided the inspiration for Melville's Moby-Dick. The Narrative of the Wreck of the Whaleship Essex, by the ship's first mate, Owen Chase, has long been the fundamental account of the Essex's doomed voyage. But in 1980, a new account of the disaster was discovered, penned by Thomas Nickerson, the fifteen-year-old cabin boy who was steering the ship when the whale attacked. Now, Nickerson's harrowing tale can be read alongside Chase's in one authoritative edition, which includes more than a dozen other accounts from articles and newspapers, many of which have never appeared in book form.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 2000
Dimensions: 7.75 X 5.06 X 0.48 (inches)
ISBN: 0140437967
ISBN-13: 9780140437966
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

The gripping first-hand narrative of the whaling ship disaster that inspired Melville’s Moby-Dick and informed Nathaniel Philbrick’s monumental history, In the Heart of the Sea.
 
In 1820, the Nantucket whaleship Essex was rammed by an angry sperm whale thousands of miles from home in the South Pacific. The Essex sank, leaving twenty crew members drifting in three small open boats for ninety days. Through drastic measures, eight men survived to reveal this astonishing tale.
 
The Narrative of the Wreck of the Whaleship Essex, by Owen Chase, has long been the essential account of the Essex’s doomed voyage. But in 1980, a new account of the disaster was discovered, penned late in life by Thomas Nickerson, who had been the fifteen-year-old cabin boy of the ship. This discovery has vastly expanded and clarified the history of an event as grandiose in its time as the Titanic
 
This edition presents Nickerson’s never-before-published chronicle alongside Chase’s version. Also included are the most important other contemporary accounts of the incident, Melville’s notes in his copy of the Chase narrative, and journal entries by Emerson and Thoreau.

Author Bio

Thomas Philbrick is professor emeritus of English at the University of Pittsburgh.


Nathaniel Philbrick, is a leading authority on the history of Nantucket Island. His In the Heart of the Sea won the National Book Award. His latest book is Sea of Glory, about the epic U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838–1842. His other books include Away off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890 (which Russell Baker called "indispensable") and Abram's Eyes: The Native American Legend of Nantucket Island ("a classic of historical truthtelling," according to Stuart Frank, director of the Kendall Whaling Museum). He has written an introduction to a new edition of Joseph Hart's Miriam Coffin, or The Whale Fisherman, a Nantucket novel (first published in 1834) that Melville relied upon for information about the island when writing Moby Dick.

Philbrick, a champion sailboat racer, has also written extensively about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor (1987) and the forthcoming Second Wind: A Sunfish Sailor's Odyssey. He was editor in chief of the classic Yaahting: A Parody (1984).

In his role as director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies, Philbrick, who is also a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association, gives frequent talks about Nantucket and sailing. He has appeared on "NBC Today Weekend", A&E's "Biography" series, and National Public Radio and has served as a consultant for the movie "Moby Dick", shown on the USA Network. He received a bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Master of Arts in American Literature from Duke. He lives on Natucket with his wife and two children.

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