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Download Final Voyage: A Story of Arctic Disaster and One Fateful Whaling Season Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Final Voyage: A Story of Arctic Disaster and One Fateful Whaling Season, by Peter Nichols Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (20 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Peter Nichols Narrator: Norman Diet Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In 1871, an entire fleet of whaling ships was caught in an arctic ice storm and destroyed. Though few lives were lost, the damage would forever shape one of America’s most distinctive commodities: oil.

New Bedford, Massachusetts, was fertile ground for this country’s first multimillion-dollar industry. Founded by assiduous Quaker merchants seeking refuge for their austere religion, the town also lent unparalleled access to the high seas. The combination would lead to what would become the most successful whaling industry in America, and with it, the world’s first oil hegemony. Oyl, or oil derived from whale blubber, revolutionized New England commerce. And as intrepid New Bedford whalers ventured farther into uncharted waters in search of untapped resources, the town saw incomparable wealth. But with all of the town’s resources tethered to this dangerous industry and the fickle sea, success was fragile.

Final Voyage is the story of one fateful whaling season that illuminates the unprecedented rise and devastating fall of America’s first oil industry. Peter Nichols deftly captures what New Bedford life was like for its Quaker inhabitants and, using a wealth of primary resources, has created a vivid picture of the evolution of whaling and how its demise was destined even before that devastating voyage.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Both an illuminating portrait of Quaker life and industry, and a heart-pounding tale of danger on the open sea.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Peter Nichols has crafted a terrifyingly relevant historical narrative. As he demonstrates in riveting and fascinating detail, America’s current addiction to petroleum was anticipated by its ultimately disastrous dependence on whale oil. Final Voyage is a terrific read.”

    Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Chris O'Brien | 5/16/2012

    " You've heard about peak oil? This book was about "peak whale." That is, the moment when the whaling industry, which was the source of most fuel and many other products in the 19th century, reached its peak, and then collapsed overnight. A fascinating economic and social history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nora | 1/20/2012

    " Interesting topic, but the author never explicitly makes the connection between whale oil and petroleum that he states in the opening pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rick | 8/6/2011

    " The Quakers of Massachusetts pretty much controlled the whaling industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. And they also oversaw its demise. My interest stems from the fact that a descendent of one of the families founded my hometown in Ohio. It's a very well written and well researched book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Joseph Bolton | 8/4/2011

    " I was born in New Bedford, so it a more interesting to me than it might be to others. Very good book. "

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