Customer Reviews for

Moby Dick or The Whale

Average Rating 3.5
( 141 )
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(62)

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(18)

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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

10 out of 10 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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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 4
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2003

    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 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.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2010

    Kite511

    This book is very good. Everyone should get it, especially because it is free. The book itself is also great.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    Call me Salli

    Great read...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Gripping classic

    Excellent readable electronic version

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

    Great book. Any body who likes exitment and adventure should read it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2010

    good book

    this is a good book it has good details ans a good number of stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2005

    ohmygosh

    Who am I to criticize Melville? But after reading, and chuckling, over some of my peer reader's reviews, I'm compelled to balance stars. I'm neither a critic nor literary scholar. I'm just someone who loves good literature, classic or not. Granted, Moby is long and detailed, but I contend it's all necessary and part of the story's framework. The themes are skillfully packaged in abstruse metaphors. And I agree that I had to use lexical aids to get through some of the dated vernacular. I even put down my cheap paperback for a Norton critical edition, but it was worth it. The language is beautiful and artistic. Read a benign chapter to a child and watch their expressions change as their imagination takes over their visage. Moby provides insight into today's archetypes found in pop-culture's 'Spongebob' or 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. Perhaps Moby isn't for everyone. Those who aren't interested in ages long past, historically accurate depictions of bloody exploitation, or ocular criticism of social hypocrisy, should probably stick to the bestseller lists. Entertain your brain. Every chapter is a piece of Melville's puzzle. When taken holistically, it all fits. Slow your monkey mind. Mindfully read. Open your eyes. Moby is still relevant today, especially to you good folks who think you live on that fabled 'City on the Hill'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2004

    ...greatest literature of this or any century

    Visiting the melville home in mass...put it all in perspective for me...not necessary for first time readers. Sat at his desk, and looked at Mt. MANSFIELD.Perhaps it was the inspiration for this great work. Amazing on so many levels.If nothing else, the rich and highly evolved vocabulary is awesome and inspiring. DON'T watch the MOVIE before you read the work...least your brain be fried, and your heart be stopped...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2003

    The Famous White Whale

    Moey Dick is a fasinating story about the famous White Whale who took the leg of a revengous captian Ahab. The captian is certain that he willl hunt down the whale and kill him as revenge. This stroy tells the tale of alife frok the eyes of school teacher who decides to go off on this adventure for fun but little does he know this fun vaction will turn into a dangerous fight over a whale.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2003

    Call Me Ishmael

    Aye, Moby Dick is a well spun yarn, told by a sailor with a keen intuition and an eye for detail. Melville writes like a poet and sets sail a story larger than the sea. The whales are made magnificent through his lyrical descriptions and massive researches into their physical anatomy. The characters are in a way so flawlessly constructed that at the end of the novel we remember them all. We can also recount their physical traits and emotional tendencies. There is Queequeg, a tattooed savage who is a universal symbol of discrimination. We believe at first that this man painted in frightening colors with a physique strong enough to crush bones can only cause evil, until we see the inner makings of his heart, and discover the innocence which makes him a better man than the others. Told in first person, the story recounts the experiences of a sailor who has decided to enter into the whaling business after dull service as a hand on a merchant vessel. He befriends Queequeg, a veteran whaler, and gives him first choice of a ship for embarkation on the narrator¿s first voyage in hunt of leviathan. They make the terrible decision in signing on as hands aboard the Pequod and become victims under the whims of a monomaniacal commander, Captain Ahab, who uses them as instruments in his fervid hunt of a white Sperm Whale coined with the name of Moby Dick. The realistic dialogue is marked with flamboyant epitaphs and through the way the characters speak and act, we see them lift from the pages and become real people. The story is always exciting and never holds a dull moment. Although Melville¿s style is difficult to read at first, after a hundred pages his words begin to flow smooth as silk as the mind softens to his dialect and we soon discover the masterpiece in his work. Regarded as the greatest sea novel ever written, the story throws the reader into the boat, makes them row closer and closer towards the climax. When we come in sight of the white whale, we take firm grip on the oars and start paddling with reckless abandon until the prow slams into Moby Dick¿s massive jaws. Be prepared for the last one hundred pages, for it will knock you into the water with its awesome suspense. Recommended: Entire unabridged text that include three of his other novels in the Library of America Edition

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2002

    Great Book. Movie was good too.

    The other day I saw a documentary about how Moby Dick was based on true story of whalers who's ship was sunk by a whale. The book was changed and made into fiction however. Melvill is a fabulous writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2002

    Excellent choice for the serious reader

    I enjoyed this book very much. If you enjoy classic literature, I can't see you going wrong with Moby Dick.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    Long, but well worth it

    Admittedly, the book Moby Dick is pretty long, and not just because of the amount of pages, but some parts honestly did seem to drag on. However, to expect anything else is unrealistic. Every book is going to have some slow points, the buildup to something better. If it didn't have these, there'd be nothing to look forward to or to anticipate. And trust me when I say all the buildup is worth it. Melville stretches out the plot of his book so that it has the maximum effect on the reader. A scene described in a line offers almost no imagery or depth and cannot possibly be anywhere as effective as a scene described just to the point where all the necessary details have been covered. Even the chapters solely devoted to describing whales made them more real to the story and advanced or introduced themes. Every aspect of the book has been engraved in my mind and the ideas behind it are as well. And just in Melville's defense, when the book was written, authors were paid by the word, so, can you blame him if it's a brick ?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2002

    Has thou seen the white whale?

    Without a doubt Moby Dick is the greatest piece of fiction ever created. Upon the Pequod you will take a psychological metaphysical and philosopical journey searching for the 'white whale.' Just read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2001

    My favorite book of all time!

    Melville is a philosopher and a poet. He shares with us his deep insight into the 'human condition' in a way that a few others have approached (e.g., Shakespeare and Doesteovsky and Hawthorne and Conrad), but none have equaled. His characters are real people with flaws and virtues and needs and fears -- people that we all know in one way or another. The characters say and do things that make us THINK and make us FEEL. Herman Melville challenges us to face our own mortality and to cherish our positions as live human beings on this wonderful blue planet. He encourages us, through his characters, to try to make our lives special and interesting and fulfilling. Let yourself be putty in this master's hands! He will mold you into an improved version of a human being. If you read and savor and heed the wisdom expounded in this book, you will be a better person -- both for yourself and for others. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2001

    A whale of a tale (lol)

    This is such a great book. Like most books you have to read a few chapters before it gets juicy. I started to read it and I was just hooked.It is filled with adventure, comedy and suspense. A really good read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2001

    WOW!

    I thought that this book was great! I am 15 and I thought that it was great! Let me tell you, it was a bit of an akward format, but that is what makes it interesting. I read most of this book in 5 days. Anyone that says that this book is awful better get their head on straight. So much knowledge from one book! It made me feel as if I had been on a whaling ship! Isn't that what a book is supposed to do? - Take you where the story takes place? This book does that and more! Give it a chance!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2000

    The Greatest American Novel

    The Greatest American Novel? -Definetely. The Greatest Single Story Ever Told? -Quite Possibly. The Easiest and Most Fun Read? -Definetely Not. Casual readers beware, this is not the curl up and read short story that has all the action of a Clancy debauchery or a King farce. 'MOBY DICK' is a tough, tough read, no doubt about it. But if one is interested in a novel with the calliber of 'THE GREAT GATSBY' or 'THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA' then this is the book for you. Without a doubt one of the greatest novels ever written in the history of mankind, 'MOBY DICK' is a master work that has stood the test of time,and will continue into the next millenium as the great American novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2000

    'Burst an artery will ye?'

    Though seemingly a rather slow narrative, the result of its reading is a trim consciousness in the audience's mind wholly synthesized by the fictive and nonfictive elements generouslly scattered throughout the book. And thus the whole cumulation of the minute details all work to buttress the final climatic, though awfully predictable, scene. The question for the reader is whether the 'artery bursting' trip to that sublime finale be worth it. For this reader, the end reward outweighed the arduous journey a thousandfold.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2000

    A Whale of a Book!

    Although Melville, like some of his fellow contemporary writers, including Thoreau and Hugo, does at times take extensive opportunities to spear into a whale of a dissertation of socio-historical aspects of his subject (for example: his categorizing of the different types of whales), this book is otherwise a great classic with a robust and micromanaged narrative that won't leave you dry from lack of adventure! I still say the story is metaphorical for masturbating though.

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