[KINDLE] ✾ Stove by a Whale: Owen Chase and the Essex By Thomas Farel Heffernan – Sharkmotorcyclehelmets.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Stove by a Whale: Owen Chase and the Essex

  1. says:

    It was pretty interesting, but kind of repetitive. I think the most excruciating bit of information is how close they were to Pitcairn, when they left what they thought was Ducie Island. The whole thing is so hard to fathom.


  2. says:

    "In 1819 a Nantucket whaleship put to sea for a voyage from which it never returned."

    The centerpiece of this book is the contemporary account of the sinking of the Essex by a whale, and the fate of the 19-man crew, by the first mate, Owen Chase. Upon his return to Nantucket, Chase published the story of the Essex in a small volume, and Heffernan quotes a large swath of that narrative. Chase's prose is spare and very compelling. Following Chase's narrative, Heffernan explores what happened to the survivors following their rescue after 92 days at sea in small boats. He examines how this narrative influenced Herman Melville and explores the many points of contact between the remaining crew of the Essex and Melville while Melville was crew on the Acushnet. Heffernan also inlcudes the notations that Melville made in his copy of Chase's narrative, and he includes the account of the saga by the captain of the Essex, George Pollard.

    This volume is part textual criticism and part historical examination. In addition to detailing the influence and effects on Herman Melville and his works, such as Moby Dick, Typee, and Billy Budd, Heffernan explores the extant source material on the Essex, which include many letters written by the ships involved in the rescue. In the course of the book, Heffernan also describes Nantucket and its whaling industry in the first few decades of the 19th century. There is a description of how the wars of liberation in Chile and Peru affected U.S. shipping at this time. There are also detailed descriptions of the state of Pacific navigation and the importance of various islands as stopping points to the Nantucket and New Bedford whalers.

    This was a very enjoyable and informative book which kept me interested and engaged throughout. For me the only question left unanswered is what could possibly have made a whale attack a ship.


  3. says:

    Great book! 19th c. whaling is an interesting subject; very different from modern whaling. Many captains took their wives with them on expeditions. There were even women captains! After visiting Nantucket I was really enthralled with the whole romance & adventure of it but also the economic impact of whaling. Sailors valentines & lightship baskets are two wonderful crafts that came out of whaling and being on ship that still survive today.


  4. says:

    After reading Nataniel Philbrick's excellent account of the sinking of the whale ship Essex I was hungry for more info on the event. This was one of the accounts he references. It's not an easy read but still provides not only a look at the events but also the mindset of a seaman at that time and alos the "English " spoken at that time.


  5. says:

    The narrative itself was interesting as it was told from an actual survivor only months after the incident. The rest of the story as told by the author was less imaginative. I didn't expect so much detail about how the story made its way through the 19th century world and it was interesting to see how some parts of the story or other changed depending on the source.


  6. says:

    The republished narration of the story of the sinking of the Essex by Owen Chase is pretty neat. As for the rest of the book, Nathaniel Philbrick wrote a similar and much better book, In the Heart of the Sea, ten years after Heffernan, using more resources and writing in a more engaging style.


  7. says:

    What I read was actually called The Sinking of the Essex by a Whale, I think, and it was a Penguin Classics book. And also it was cool.


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