The Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex is the harrowing narrative of an unfortunate vessel’s calamitous encounter with a great white whale, and the crew’s perilous fight for survival on the open sea. This Explorer’s Club edition faithfully reproduces Owen Chase’s original 1821 narrative, in which he chronicles the great whale’s attack on the ship, the Essex’s subsequent sinking, and the more than exhausting months at sea that followed, in which the fraction of the crew that survived desperately clung to life. Struggling against a relentless sea, the insufferable climate, and ever-increasing hunger, Chase was one of only eight crew members who survived the ordeal.
Evocating all of the passion and terror of the greatest adventure stories, The Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex is a thrilling tale that captures both man and beast’s most shocking and raw natural impulses. Filled with terror and suspense, it is no wonder that the great American novelist, Herman Melville, chose it as his inspiration for one of the most iconic works of literature in American history.
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