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Why Read Moby-Dick?by Nathaniel Philbrick
Synopses & Reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of seagoing epics now celebrates an American classic.
Moby-Dick is perhaps the greatest of the Great American Novels, yet its length and esoteric subject matter create an aura of difficulty that too often keeps readers at bay. Fortunately, one unabashed fan wants passionately to give Melville's masterpiece the broad contemporary audience it deserves. In his National Book Award- winning bestseller, In the Heart of the Sea, Nathaniel Philbrick captivatingly unpacked the story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex, the real-life incident that inspired Melville to write Moby- Dick. Now, he sets his sights on the fiction itself, offering a cabin master's tour of a spellbinding novel rich with adventure and history.
Philbrick skillfully navigates Melville's world and illuminates the book's humor and unforgettable characters-finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times. A perfect match between author and subject, Why Read Moby-Dick? gives us a renewed appreciation of both Melville and the proud seaman's town of Nantucket that Philbrick himself calls home. Like Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life, this remarkable little book will start conversations, inspire arguments, and, best of all, bring a new wave of readers to a classic tale waiting to be discovered anew.
"Answering the negative of Philbrick's titular question is easy: Moby-Dick is intimidatingly large, scientifically rigorous, esoteric, and to some, may seem outdated. While the size of The Whale cannot be debated, Philbrick's entreaty is as approachable as it is persuasive. In this cogent and passionate polemic for Melville's masterpiece, Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea) combines a critical eye and a reader's adoration to make a case for Moby-Dick. The plights of the Pequod, Ishmael and Ahab may seem irrelevant (or worse, quaint) compared to today's troubles, but Philbrick opines that within the pages of this American classic lie timeless archetypes whose relevance stretches across human history. Upon the loom of Melville's narrative run numerous threads of insight and argument dealing with subjects as diverse as multiculturalism, homoeroticism, and transcendental experiences of the natural world. Less lit-crit and more readers' guide, this tome will remind fans why they loved the book in the first place, and whet the appetites of trepid potential readers." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A brilliant and provocative” (The New Yorker) celebration of Melvilles masterpiece—from the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea
One of the greatest American novels finds its perfect contemporary champion in Why Read Moby-Dick?, Nathaniel Philbricks enlightening and entertaining tour through Melvilles classic. As he did in his National Book Awardwinning bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, Philbrick brings a sailors eye and an adventurers passion to unfolding the story behind an epic American journey. He skillfully navigates Melvilles world and illuminates the books humor and unforgettable characters—finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times. An ideal match between author and subject, Why Read Moby-Dick? will start conversations, inspire arguments, and make a powerful case that this classic tale waits to be discovered anew.
Unabridged, 2 CDs, 2.5 hours
Read by the author
One of our great chroniclers of American history celebrates an American classic.
About the Author
Nathaniel Philbrick is the author of numerous acclaimed bestsellers about American history. He is the founding director of the Egan Maritime Institute on Nantucket Island and a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association. He is a champion sailboat racer and lives on Nantucket.
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