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Read Owen Chase's memoir which inspired Moby-Dick and In the Heart of the Sea, the major motion picture from Ron Howard, released December 2015.
Owen Chase was the first mate on the ill-fated American whaling ship Essex, which was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the southern Pacific Ocean in 1820. The crew spent months at sea in leaking boats and endured the blazing sun, attacks by killer whales, and lack of food. The men were forced to resort to cannibalism before the final eight survivors were rescued. Herman Melville based his 1851 novel, Moby-Dick, on the sinking.
Chase recorded the tale of the ship's sinking and the following events with harrowing clarity in the Wreck of the Whale Ship Essex.
"I turned around and saw him about one hundred rods [500 m or 550 yards] directly ahead of us, coming down with twice his ordinary speed of around 24 knots (44 km/h), and it appeared with tenfold fury and vengeance in his aspect. The surf flew in all directions about him with the continual violent thrashing of his tail. His head about half out of the water, and in that way he came upon us, and again struck the ship." - Owen Chase.
Filled with art, photographs, maps, and artifacts, this is a richly illustrated edition of Chase's memoir, augmented with memoirs of other participants, as well as the perspectives of historians, contemporary and modern.
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