Beneath the Heart of the Sea: The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex - Owen Chase

This is the same book that was originally published in 1821 as Narratives of the Wreck of the Whale-Ship Essex. It's fantastic. I'm immediately recommended it to my husband as a quick and engrossing non-fiction book.  Herman Melville based a good deal of Moby-Dick on this narrative.  I read it because I'm doing a historical presentation on Moby-Dick.  I'll probably read it again just for the fun of it.

This is the first-person account of the disaster of the Essex by the first mate.  The Essex was sunk by a whale and all hands had to escape in the whale boats 1000 miles from land.  Chase's narrative is straight forward but wow, he has you in the boat with him.  The hardships they endured are astounding but so is the ingenuity and will to live that the sailors displayed.  They dealt with hunger, thirst, heat, sharks and eventually had to make very tough decisions to stay alive.  Eight of the initial crew of 20 made it home.  If you love a good adventure story or a good survival story or just a good story, this is it.  For having been written in 1821, the language is very accessible.  Highly recommended.

I was fortunately able to get this book from Netgalley in exchange for review.