Synopses & Reviews
Nathaniel Philbrick, the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Mayflower, brings his prodigious talents to the story of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution.
Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residentsand#160; have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord.and#160; In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.
Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warrenandrsquo;s fiancandeacute; the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control.
With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscapeandmdash;geographic and ideologicalandmdash;in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.
"The story of this expedition is by definition a big one, in terms of both its objectives and accomplishments, and it is rendered here in all its largeness. Couched in the author's fluid prose style, it cannot fail to absorb readers in all of its detail." Booklist
Fascinating and meticulous... A wonderful retelling. (The New York Times Book Review
A breathtaking account of one of historyÆs greatest adventures. (Entertainment Weekly)
A worthy successor to In the Heart of the Sea. (The Wall Street Journal)
Sea of Glory is a grand saga of scientific and nautical accomplishment. (Newsweek)
“Gracefully written [with an] infectious enthusiasm…”—New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant and provocative…”—The New Yorker
“[A] slim, passionate manifesto…”—Chicago Tribune
“A slim, easy-to-read argument on why you should definitely put [Moby-Dick] on your bucket list.”—History Wire
“WHY READ MOBY-DICK? reels in a compelling case… short, lucid, intelligent… Philbricks more like a literary color analyst, helping readers see the novel better while also creating a sense of excitement about it.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“This slender volume is packed with reasons why you might want to read the whaling classic.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“This slender, pleasant, sincere book by the maritime historian and naval enthusiast is more than a respectable tribute unencumbered by academic prose. Approaching Moby-Dick from outside the academy is refreshing, and Philbricks enthusiasm is contagious….So put me down for a reading of Moby-Dick in 2012, and count Philbricks book a success.”—The New Republic
“Philbrick does the literary world great service by bringing Moby-Dick back into popular attention and also by his skill in keeping American history fresh and alive.”—Aspen Daily News
“Sure to swell the readership of Melvilles masterpiece.”—Booklist (Starred review)
“In this cogent and passionate polemic for Melvilles masterpiece, Philbrick… combines a critical eye and a readers adoration to make a case for Moby-Dick… 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
“A slim celebration of the elements of a literary masterpiece…Philbrick is an enthusiastic salesman for a sometimes daunting novel.”—Kirkus
“So you liked Philbricks In the Heart of the Sea, which re-created the wreck of the whaleship Essex, inspiration for Herman Melvilles Moby-Dick? Then youll love Philbricks new book… From a wonderful and knowing writer.”—Library Journal, pre-pub alert
Like the award-winning In the Heart of the Sea, Sea of Glory combines meticulous history with spellbinding human drama as it circles the globe from the palm-fringed beaches of the South Pacific to the treacherous waters off Antarctica and to the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and, finally, to a court-martial aboard a ship anchored off New York City.
In 1838, the U.S. government launched the largest discovery voyage the Western world had ever seen 6 sailing vessels and 346 men bound for the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Four years later, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, or Ex. Ex. as it was known, returned with an astounding array of accomplishments and discoveries: 87,000 miles logged, 280 Pacific islands surveyed, 4,000 zoological specimens collected, including 2,000 new species, and the discovery of the continent of Antarctica. And yet at a human level, the project was a disaster not only had 28 men died and 2 ships been lost, but a series of sensational courts-martial had also ensued that pitted the expedition's controversial leader, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, against almost every officer under his command.
Though comparable in importance and breadth of success to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Ex. Ex. has been largely forgotten. Now, the celebrated Nathaniel Philbrick re-creates this chapter of American maritime history in all its triumph and scandal.
Like the award-winning In the Heart of the Sea, Sea of Glory combines meticulous history with spellbinding human drama as it circles the globe from the palm-fringed beaches of the South Pacific to the treacherous waters off Antarctica and to the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and, finally, to a court-martial aboard a ship of the line anchored off New York City.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 415-436) and index.
America?s first frontier was not the West; it was the sea?and no one writes more eloquently about that watery wilderness than Nathaniel Philbrick. In his bestselling In the Heart of the Sea
Philbrick probed the nightmarish dangers of the vast Pacific. Now, in an epic sea adventure, he writes about one of the most ambitious voyages of discovery the Western world has ever seen?the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838? 1842. On a scale that dwarfed the journey of Lewis and Clark, six magnificent sailing vessels and a crew of hundreds set out to map the entire Pacific Ocean?and ended up naming the newly discovered continent of Antarctica, collecting what would become the basis of the Smithsonian Institution, and much more.
A brilliant and provocative” (The New Yorker) celebration of Melvilles masterpiecefrom 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 charactersfinding 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.
The riveting and critically acclaimed bestseller, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Ron Howard
Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson will star in a new film based on this National Book Awardwinning account of the true events behind Moby Dick.
In 1820, the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale, leaving the desperate crew to drift for more than ninety days in three tiny boats. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents and vivid details about the Nantucket whaling tradition to reveal the chilling facts of this infamous maritime disaster. In the Heart of the Seaand now, its epic adaptation for the screenwill forever place the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.
About the Author
Nathaniel Philbrick grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a BA in English from Brown University and an MA in America Literature from Duke University, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. He was Brown Universitys first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978, the same year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI. After working as an editor at Sailing World
magazine, he wrote and edited several books about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor, Second Wind
, and Yaahting: A Parody
In 1986, Philbrick moved to Nantucket with his wife Melissa and their two children. In 1994, he published his first book about the islands history, Away Off Shore, followed by a study of the Nantuckets native legacy, Abrams Eyes. He was the founding director of Nantuckets Egan Maritime Institute and is still a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association.
In 2000, Philbrick published the New York Times bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book is the basis of the forthcoming Warner Bros. motion picture Heart of the Sea,” directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker, Ben Wishaw, and Tom Holland, which is scheduled for release in March, 2015. The book also inspired a 2001 Dateline special on NBC as well as the 2010 two-hour PBS American Experience film Into the Deep” by Ric Burns.
His next book was Sea of Glory, published in 2003, which won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. The New York Times Bestseller Mayflower was a finalist for both the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, won the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction, and was named one the ten Best Books of 2006 by the New York Times Book Review. Mayflower is currently in development as a limited series on FX.
In 2010, he published the New York Times bestseller The Last Stand, which was named a New York Times Notable book, a 2010 Montana Book Award Honor Book, and a 2011 ALA Notable Book. Philbrick was an on-camera consultant to the two-hour PBS American Experience film Custers Last Stand” by Stephen Ives. The book is currently being adapted for a ten-hour, multi-part television series. The audio book for Philbricks Why Read Moby-Dick? (2011) made the ALA's Listen List in 2012 and was a finalist for the New England Society Book Award.
Philbricks latest New York Times bestseller, Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution, was published in 2013 and was awarded both the 2013 New England Book Award for Non-Fiction and the 2014 New England Society Book Award. Bunker Hill won the 2014 book award from the Society of Colonial Wars, and has been optioned by Warner Bros. for feature film adaptation with Ben Affleck attached to direct.
Philbrick has also received the Byrne Waterman Award from the Kendall Whaling Museum, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for distinguished service from the USS Constitution Museum, the Nathaniel Bowditch Award from the American Merchant Marine Museum, the William Bradford Award from the Pilgrim Society, and the Boston History Award from the Bostonian Society. He was named the 2011 Cushing Orator by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and has an honorary doctorate from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where he delivered the commencement address in 2009.
Philbricks writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. He has appeared on the Today Show, the Morning Show, Dateline, PBSs American Experience, C-SPAN, and NPR. He and his wife still live on Nantucket.
Table of Contents
Preface: Young Ambition
- The Great South Sea
- The Deplorable Expedition
- Most Glorious Hopes
- At Sea
- The Turning Point
- Commodore of the Pacific
- A New Continent
- The Cannibal Isles
- Massacre at Malolo
- Mauna Loa
- The Wreck of the Peacock
- Homeward Bound
- This Thing Called Science