Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant and provocative” (The New Yorker
) celebration of Melville's 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 Philbrick's enlightening and entertaining tour through Melville's 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 Melville's 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.
“So you liked Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea, which re-created the wreck of the whaleship Essex, inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby-Dick? Then you'll love Philbrick's new book….From a wonderful and knowing writer.” Library Journal
“Gracefully written [with an] infectious enthusiasm…” New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant and provocative…” The New Yorker
“A slim celebration of the elements of a literary masterpiece…Philbrick is an enthusiastic salesman for a sometimes daunting novel.” Kirkus
“Sure to swell the readership of Melville's masterpiece.” Booklist (Starred review)
“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
About the Author
Nathaniel Philbrick, is a leading authority on the history of Nantucket Island. His In the Heart of the Sea
won the National Book Award. His latest book is Sea of Glory
, about the epic U.S. Exploring Expedition of 18381842. His other books include Away off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890
(which Russell Baker
called "indispensable") and Abram's Eyes: The Native American Legend of Nantucket Island
("a classic of historical truthtelling," according to Stuart Frank
, director of the Kendall Whaling Museum). He has written an introduction to a new edition of Joseph Hart
's Miriam Coffin, or The Whale Fisherman
, a Nantucket novel (first published in 1834) that Melville
relied upon for information about the island when writing Moby Dick
. Phillbick's Why Read Moby-Dick?
was a finalist for the New England Society Book Award.
Philbrick, a champion sailboat racer, has also written extensively about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor (1987) and Second Wind: A Sunfish Sailor's Odyssey. He was editor in chief of the classic Yaahting: A Parody (1984).
In his role as director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies, Philbrick, who is also a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association, gives frequent talks about Nantucket and sailing. He has appeared on "NBC Today Weekend", A&E's "Biography" series, and National Public Radio and has served as a consultant for the movie "Moby Dick", shown on the USA Network. He received a bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Master of Arts in American Literature from Duke. He lives on Natucket with his wife and two children.