Customer Reviews for

Moby Dick or The Whale

Average Rating 3.5
( 142 )
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5 Star

(64)

4 Star

(17)

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(21)

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(23)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

It's a ponderous chain...

It's hopeless. I'm absolutely trapped and captivated by Moby Dick. A while ago I bought a cheap copy out of deference to what I understood to be an American classic. When I was about halfway through, it hit me, and I knew I'd have to start it again as soon as I finishe...
It's hopeless. I'm absolutely trapped and captivated by Moby Dick. A while ago I bought a cheap copy out of deference to what I understood to be an American classic. When I was about halfway through, it hit me, and I knew I'd have to start it again as soon as I finished. I don't know if Melville intended it to be this way, but the book itself is a metaphor for a multi-year whaling voyage. You've got to be patient, just like a whaling crew. Melville chats about seemingly unrelated things, just like a crew would chat as it was anticipating its next whale. Wouldn't a crew become frustrated as it's waiting for something to happen? It's not a page-turner, so Tom Clancy fans beware. It's a vast, utterly expansive book that is best read while smoking your favorite pipe. Don't go back and re-read the parts that confuse you, you're going to have to read it again anyway to capture the whole thing. Once I had my Moby Dick epiphany, I began poring over all the special editions that have been produced over the years. I finally settled on this U of C, Barry Moser edition. It's perfect. Moser's illustrations are spooky, but not overbearing. None of the captions are specific to the story which still allows you to use your imagination. For instance, there's a beautiful cut of a whaler, but it's not labeled, 'The Pequod', it's just called, 'Whaling Ship.' It's a huge block of a book too, which perfectly fits the scale of the story. The only book that has had a more profound effect on me than Moby Dick is my King James Bible. Strangely, therein lies a clue to Melville's work. Why does Melville speak in parables so as to confuse some? Because it has not been given to them to understand.

posted by Anonymous on December 11, 2003

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Amazing Book, TERRIBLE Copy

"Moby Dick" is a classic for a reason. It's an amazing piece of literature and every person needs to read this before our society forgets how to read prose so beautiful.

However, I highly encourage everyone to spend the $0.99 to get a good copy. This particular cop...
"Moby Dick" is a classic for a reason. It's an amazing piece of literature and every person needs to read this before our society forgets how to read prose so beautiful.

However, I highly encourage everyone to spend the $0.99 to get a good copy. This particular copy (in more than one volume... don't get excited, "Moby Dick" much longer than 345 pages) is rife with horrendous errors that make it very difficult to read. Some words have random numbers in the middle of them in place of letters, whole sections in Vol. II Look like this: Ere*&#*(^B IIQIUEIUIOJ Che whale and Ah8987(*&(*&.

This copy is absolutely horrendous.

posted by 13496408 on July 3, 2012

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    OK

    Some typos but still readable. This is ONLY Volume 1.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2002

    A Classic but...

    I have nothing against Herman Melville. I have nothing against Ishmael. I have nothing against the Pequod, or Ahab, or Moby Dick himself. But I do have a lot against the endless facts about whales that occupy a huge majority of this book. It's just one thing after another. Only about one-third of the book is the story. The rest is a practical encyclopedia about whales and their habits. He should have written "Whales for People Who Like Endless Facts about Them" or something else of that nature, so that poor little school children could just read a good story without unnecessary details riddling the plot line. No doubt, this book is a classic: I'm the last person to say otherwise. But "classic" doesn't always mean "interesting". The positive characteristics of this book are undeniable. I just had a hard time getting through it. A VERY hard time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2001

    AMBITIOUS BUT FLAWED

    I consider myself well read but there are books I feel guilty about never having read. Moby Dick WAS one of these books. Of course the plot of the book is set down forever in pop culture. Captain Ahab sacrifices his morality to kill the white whale who took off his leg. The book starts off promising but in his zeal to write the ultimate novel Melville blends the styles of drama, non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and essay. With this ambition comes some successes and some failures. The characters introduced in the beginning are overshadowed by the gross anatomy of whales. In some scenes, normal speech is abandoned in place of Shakesperean style dialogue. As long as he stays with the characters, the novel is as great as anything that has ever been written. But in his encyclopedic digressions, the book is sunk. Along with Huckleberry Finn, I think this is a bad choice to be seen as 'The Great American Novel'. Both books are nothing extraordinary. But the difference is that Moby Dick had the potential to be great. Who knows, if the novel had experienced financial success, Melville might have been encouraged to write another book in its style with more mastery over it. This novel seemed to be groping and the author was unsure of what he wanted to make. If there was an option to give it 3 and a half stars I would. There are some parts worth reading, but as a whole I don't think anyone is missing anything if they don't read it.

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    Posted January 29, 2011

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