The Revenge of the Whale

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Overview

This book recounts the 1820 sinking of the whaleship Essex by an enraged sperm whale and how the crew of young men survived against impossible odds. Abridged version of In the Heart of the Sea.

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Overview

This book recounts the 1820 sinking of the whaleship Essex by an enraged sperm whale and how the crew of young men survived against impossible odds. Abridged version of In the Heart of the Sea.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ahoy! From the first strains of the sea chantey that opens this solid program, listeners will be swept back to an exciting and busy time in maritime history. Mali performs a keen reading that matches the gripping tone of Philbrick's work about the wreck of the Nantucket whaler Essex in November 1820 and the amazing tale of some of the crew's survival and rescue several months later. As Philbrick writes, the sinking of the Essex by an enraged sperm whale in the Pacific inspired the dramatic ending of Melville's Moby Dick. But this history-filled volume, which often sounds like a novel, is the real thing, culled from accounts of people who were actually on the ship. Philbrick employs copious detail from the notebooks of the Essex's cabin boy Thomas Nickerson and a previously published account of first mate Owen Chase to great effect. Mali makes sure that listeners ride the waves of exhilaration, fear, tragedy and joyous relief as he introduces the crew and their plight. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Nathaniel Philbrick's Revenge of the Whale (Grosset, 2002), an abridgement of his adult title, In the Heart of the Sea (Viking, 2000), is the true story of hardship and survival on the last voyage of the whale ship Essex in 1820. Using the accounts of two of the crewmen who survived, Philbrick tells the story of the crew's struggles to stay alive after the ship was rammed by a whale and damaged beyond repair in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. While Taylor Mali's narration provides little vocal excitement, the electrifying details of cannibalism and the attacks by whales and sharks is enough to hold students' attention. Mali's reading makes it difficult to distinguish between the two crew members' accounts or any other quoted source used by Philbrick. While there are some dramatic changes in his tone when climatic scenes build, there is not enough suspense in his voice to keep students interested until the next thrilling moment. The sea songs at the beginning and end are catchy, and students will learn a great deal about whaling in the early 1800's. Although this is not a rousing read, middle school students who like sea stories will be engaged by the descriptive passages of the hardships encountered by the crew of the Essex.-Anita Lawson, Otsego High School, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756929589
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,002,377
  • Product dimensions: 4.80 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nathaniel Philbrick
Nathaniel Philbrick
NATHANIEL PHILBRICK is the author of the international bestsellers In the Heart of the Sea, winner of the National Book Award, Mayflower, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Sea of Glory, winner of the Roosevelt Naval History Prize. His newest book is The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His writing has also appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. He has appeared on the Today Show, the Morning Show, Dateline, PBS’s American Experience, C-SPAN, and NPR. He lives on Nantucket Island.

Biography

Champion sailboat racer Nathaniel Philbrick is one of the premier authorities on New England's Nantucket Island, and an all around aficionado of maritime activities. Ever since he published his first book, a short, humorous take on sailing titled The Passionate Sailor, Philbrick has been sharing that passion with readers. Whether exploring his beloved Nantucket or tracing tragedies and triumphs on the open sea throughout history, Philbrick is the writer of some of the most illuminating and harrowing histories to come sailing across bookshelves in the past decade.

While Philbrick broke into publishing with the lighthearted The Passionate Sailor, he truly established his role as a chronicler of Nantucket—the one-time whaling capital of the world—with his second book, Away Off Shore. Instead of focusing on the colorfully quaint legends that hardly scrape the surface of Nantucket's rich history, Philbrick chose to take a more sober look at the island and how it rose to success. He brought that same objectivity to subsequent books such as Abram's Eyes, which delves into the vast Native American population of Nantucket, separating folklore from historical evidence, and his breakthrough In the Heart of the Sea. Here, Philbrick takes a fascinating look at the legendary sinking of the Essex, a tale that would form the backbone of Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick. If anything, the true story of a wayward ship's encounter with a giant whale is even more terrifying and gripping than anything in Melville's imagination. In the Heart of the Sea is at its core a tragedy rife with painful ironies, fatal decisions, cannibalism, and a final encounter with a furious sperm whale.

The key to this National Book Award winner is that it is told with all the flair and suspense of any fictional story. "What I really like is narrative-driven non-fiction," Philbrick explained to Barnes & Noble.com. "A story is important for anyone to engage with what happened in the past." Just as Philbrick used this tactic to relate the tragedy of the Essex, he used it to tell of the triumphant U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838 in Sea of Glory. No less engaging than its predecessor, Sea of Glory is almost like the yang to the shadowy yin of In the Heart of the Sea, gloriously recounting a grander ocean expedition than that of Lewis and Clark, a quest to map the entire Pacific Ocean that would lead to the discovery of Antarctica.

Philbrick's next book retells a story with which most American schoolchildren are familiar but only through a filter of benign Thanksgiving pageants. The story of the pilgrim's journey to Plymouth Rock told in Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War is quite a different tale. Philbrick was not exactly burning to revisit this well-traveled chapter in history, saying of the Mayflower's voyage, "what could be more boring?" However, once he peeled away the holiday wrapping, he discovered a dark web of violence, starvation, illness, death, and war to rival the tragedy of In the Heart of the Sea. It is as if the pilgrim and Indian's story, as well as their true nature, is being revealed for the very first time, with provocative depictions of a bloody-thirsty Miles Standish and a duplicitous Squanto.

The Library Journal boldly declared that Mayflower was "clearly one of the year's best books" of 2006, and it is certainly one of the most riveting, a historical work that reads like great fiction written by a master at the peak of his abilities.

Good To Know

When Philbrick was a young boy, his father, a professor of English literature with a focus on Maritime fiction, would tell him about the Essex's tragic sea voyage as a sort of grim bedtime story.

Nathaniel Philbrick served as a consultant on USA television's 1998 adaptation of Moby Dick starring Patrick Stewart.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Nat Philbrick
    2. Hometown:
      Nantucket, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 11, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A., Brown University, 1978; M.A., Duke University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2007

    Attacked By A Whale?

    What whould a crew do when a whale destroys there ship? Then Stranded in a desert sea with little food? well you'll probably starve to death in 1 week. You'll probably wonder if they survive or not. but to find out you must read the book. Its a good adventure book and has a lot of stuff you'll learn about boats. They talk about how to use lunar stuff to see what coordinate your at.So if your interested check it out. Also have you ever heard of people eating dead human? I know it sounds gross but its pretty interesting once you read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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