In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

Nathaniel Philbrick

Read June 2001

I knew nothing about the New England whaling trade: three-year whaling expeditions from New England to the Pacific; the Quaker involvement; or how Nantucket was once the energy capital of the western world. Now I do. A case of fact being far more fascinating than fiction. The book is ostensibly about a particular ship's story (and we should care, presumably, because this was the model for Moby Dick), but it's worth reading it just as a history of the region and trade, and ignoring the dramatic elements.