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Extended Audio Sample Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (256,996 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Herman Melville Narrator: Anthony Heald Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Moby Dick is one of the great classics of American literature. It went unappreciated during the lifetime of Herman Melville but its reputation was revived in the early twentieth century when people became more interested in myth. On the face of it, Moby Dick is the story of a man who goes on a whaling expedition and meets with many adventures to eventually become the sole survivor of the ship. But Moby Dick is anything but factual, being filled with philosophical ramblings and symbolism.

Ishmael, the narrator of Moby Dick, is an observer on board the ship Pequod which boasts a crew of many different nationalities. The Pequod is a melting pot, like America itself, and its captain, Ahab, is a man obsessed with finding the whale Moby Dick whom he has encountered before. Having lost a leg in that first skirmish with the great white whale, Ahab has become obsessed with gaining revenge. He blames the whale for everything bad that has happened to him and will not rest until he takes it down.

Throughout the whaling expedition, Ahab constantly seeks information about Moby Dick from other ships that the Pequod encounters. Although they come across several other whales, some of which get away and some of which are killed, Ahab keeps his eye on the prize, despite prophecies and dire warnings about the future from a member of the crew. Eventually, of course, Ahab’s obsession leads to his own destruction.

Melville himself went on a whaling expedition from which he took many of the details of Moby Dick. During his lifetime, however, the only person of note who appreciated his masterpiece was Nathaniel Hawthorne to whom Melville dedicated the book. Most people found it too philosophical and preferred Melville’s earlier books which were more factual in nature. Now, of course, Moby Dick is a permanent fixture in the American literary canon and Melville’s philosophical meanderings, which were so unpopular in his day, are what make it a classic today.

Download the Moby Dick audiobook from The Audio Bookstore today and you’ll find yourself engrossed in a world of seafaring men who are all very different from each other but united in the common goal to find the white whale.

One of the great works of American literature, Moby-Dick is the epic tale of one man’s fight against a force of nature. The outcast youth Ishmael, succumbing to wanderlust during a dreary New England autumn, signs up for passage aboard a whaling ship. The Pequod sails under the command of the one-legged Captain Ahab, who has set himself on a monomaniacal quest to capture the cunning white whale that robbed him of his leg: Moby-Dick. Capturing life on the sea with robust realism, Melville details the adventures of the colorful crew aboard the ship as Ahab pursues his crusade of revenge, heedless of all cost. This masterfully symbolic drama of the conflict between man and his fate has a special intensity that listeners will not soon forget.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The greatest of American novels.”

    Atlantic Monthly

  • “In this production of Herman Melville’s tale of a tragic whale hunt, narrator Anthony Heald not only creates vivid characterizations—Captain Ahab’s gruff mania, Starbuck’s doubtful sensitivity, the prophet Elijah’s visionary shakiness—he also dramatizes the many moods of the Pequod crew and the mercurial ocean itself. Heald’s voice has the range of a piano, and he uses it like a virtuoso. In one minute his reading can move from slow and languid, reflecting a dreamy day at sea, to alert and brisk, evoking the suspense of a whale sighting. Heald’s voice bristles dryly with humor or sinks with dread—a range necessary to tell this complex story of a man’s obsession with conquering an enigmatic white whale.”


  • “A work tantalizingly subversive, and yet somehow if not affirming at least forgiving of the blind destructiveness of human nature and of nature itself.”

    Elizabeth Hardwick

  • “Responsive to the shaping forces of his age as only men of passionate imagination are, even Melville can hardly have been fully aware of how symbolical an American hero he had fashioned in Ahab.”

    F. O. Matthiessen, literary critic

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by lyratheliar | 2/20/2014

    " i once read that moby dick was the most boring of all the great books. i agree with the 'boring' part, however, i still need convincing on the 'great' part. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sharon Neary | 2/18/2014

    " I read this novel in college. I loved it. I am reading it again for pleasure and I am still loving the characters and story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Steven Critelli | 2/17/2014

    " I have the Norton critical edition, and if you can get your hands on it, that is the one to read. With the first encyclopedic novel, Melville changed literature forever. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Tracy | 2/17/2014

    " Forcing kids to read this thing should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. "

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