This is the epic history of the “iron men in wooden boats” who built an industrial empire through the pursuit of whales.
“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme,” Herman
Melville proclaimed, and this absorbing history demonstrates that few
things can capture the sheer danger and desperation of men on the deep
sea as dramatically as whaling.
Eric Jay Dolin begins his vivid
narrative with Captain John Smith’s botched whaling expedition to the
New World in 1614. He then chronicles the rise of a burgeoning
industry—from its brutal struggles during the Revolutionary period to
its golden age in the mid-eighteen hundreds, when a fleet of more than seven hundred ships
hunted the seas and American whale oil lit the world—to its decline as
the twentieth century dawned. This sweeping social and economic history
provides rich and often fantastic accounts of the men themselves, who
mutinied, murdered, rioted, deserted, drank, scrimshawed, and recorded
their experiences in journals and memoirs. Containing a wealth of
naturalistic detail on whales, Leviathan is the most original and stirring history of American whaling in many decades. Download and start listening now!