Why Read Moby-Dick?

Although Hemingway said that all modern American literature comes from Huckleberry Finn, a case might be made for Moby-Dick as the model for everything that followed in fiction. If Nathaniel Philbrick stops just short of such an assertion, he nevertheless launches a spirited defense of Melville’s notoriously unwieldy book. Having unpacked the real-life incidents behind Moby-Dick in his National Book Award-winning In the Heart of the Sea, Philbrick focuses here on the transformative magic employed by Melville in his creation of Ahab’s quest.