In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex - Nathaniel Philbrick

Herman Melville got inspired by this story to write his novel "Moby Dick" and it is truly a remarkable tale. In the Heart of the Sea tells the true story of the whaleship Essex that has been sunk by a sperm whale in the middle of the pacific and its crew being shipwrecked in the aftermath of this attack.


I love good written non-fiction. Real life sometimes comes up with the most exceptional stories and I really like the additional tidbits of informations that the authors of non-fiction books are giving to the readers. As for this book I learned quite a bit about Nantucket and its whale hunting business, the effect this business and the seafaring men had on the ecosystems all around the world and what dehydration and especially severe starvation would do to a human being.

But be warned, this is not a light read. There are some really gutwrenching scenes in this book and I had to take a deep breath more than once while reading it. It´s due to the top-notch writing and the intensity of this narrative that I couldn´t put it down, even though it sometimes was hard to bear reading about the hardship the Essex crew had to endure.

But overall I can highly recommend it and if you want to read a brilliant piece of non-fiction you should pick up a copy of "In the Heart of the Sea".


A bit of advice: should you consider to watch the movie, be aware that they have changed a lot of the story up to the point where the real story of the Essex is barely recognisable. The strenght of the book doesn´t lie in the attack by the whale but in the things that are happening after the whale attack, being stuck on small boats for about three months almost without any kind of food. And they certainly changed a lot regarding the whale and its doings. I haven´t been entirely happy with all the changes they have made.

Putting that aside and looking objectively on the movie it´s a great piece of cinema with some stunning cinematography. But don´t expect it to be the true story. Then you are going to enjoy the movie as a good piece of entertainment. And FYI, Chris Hemsworth still looks dashing after three months of starvation ;).