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Extended Audio Sample Moby-Dick Audiobook, 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 (256,994 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Herman Melville Narrator: Anthony Heald Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9781455192052
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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.

Download and start listening now!

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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.”

    AudioFile

  • “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 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 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 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 Tracy | 2/17/2014

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

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Karen Katz | 2/7/2014

    " Can't seem to finish this one entirely, even after it being a required reading for two different classes....oops. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Landes | 2/5/2014

    " Simply amazing. I was utterly intimidated after reading he first page - this guy can write "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Catherine | 1/26/2014

    " First few chapters were good. But as soon as the ship sailed every chaper was about whales, whaling, and life on a whaling ship. The story seemed to get lost in the the whaling descriptions and doesn't show up again until the last few chapters. Even then it didn't come back very strongly. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Randy Zahorchak | 1/25/2014

    " If you eliminated 2/3's of the book it would be great "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim Ballard | 1/22/2014

    " My favorite. If you don't like it I don't like you. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ray Irving | 1/20/2014

    " Inspired to finally read this by a film version I watched with the kids, I did enjoy this Great American Classic. It is an epic and you do need to pick up some momentum to get through it - I used the dictionary in my e-reader frequently and although I enjoyed the rambling soliloquies exploring the minutiae of whaling and whales and other digressions, not everyone might. The story is good: everyone knows the crazed pursuit of Moby Dick by the mad Captain Ahab. I was sorry that thanks to the film version I already knew the end, but in spite of that it did manage to be gripping. The whole thing feels like a trip back in time to another era - I wish we'd done this one at school - the in depth analysis would be interesting... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Don | 1/18/2014

    " i guess I am one of the few people who don't get this book. too much minutiae on whaling for my taste. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gabby | 1/18/2014

    " Now I know what it means to say that a person has written a self-indulgent book. We are led to believe that Moby Dick is about Captain Ahab's pursuit of the great white whale. Frankly that's a lot like saying the Bible is about apples and gardening. Moby Dick is mostly about whales. If you're interested in taking apart a whale head to toe, then this is the book for you. But if, like me, you thought to read an adventure story about a man's obsession with one particular whale, forget Moby Dick. What little story there is about Ahab and his preoccupation with one whale and how his quest put his whole crew at risk, you've got to be very patient and plow through pages and pages and yet more pages of drivel. I do not understand why this book is rated as a classic unless qualification as a classic at one time meant nearly unreadable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 1/14/2014

    " Long in the middle but it is an amazing classic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Costantino Lanza | 1/13/2014

    " The legend of Moby Dick far exceeds the totality of this book. Reading the unabridged version is laborious with meanderings that are often amazing in their content. I often thought "did Melville really just waste paper, words and my time reading this total nonsense? The real story could have been covered in one sixth the words. I did find descriptions of the whaling industry fascinating, however, his attempts at reasoning through behaviors and subjects were painful. This book definitely fits the category -- never to be read again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Morris | 1/12/2014

    " Ok, ok, it's way too long. The first however many chapters are probably superfluous to be kind, long-winded to be honest, but it's still a remarkable novel worthy of attention. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ron | 1/11/2014

    " Okay, I decided as an educated man that I could not go to my grave without having read the great American classic Moby Dick. Avast! This was 822 pages of pain. While well -written, and an interesting look back at the science and biology of the 19th century, as a narrative tale this was so painfully slow and plodding that only share dedication can carry you through chapter after chapter of irrelevant dribble and uninteresting detail. By the way, the whale doesn't show up until the last 100 pages. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynnnadeau | 1/9/2014

    " Loved it! A story interupted by digressions, poetry throughout, a meandering, long, journey which invaded my dreams. Details, metaphors, thoughts, brilliance, erudition - history, geography, art, ... and all this before google. Melville must have hunkered down in a library and swilled the books there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom Wolfe | 1/2/2014

    " This is the foundation stone of American literature. A cautionary story of where American monomania and obsession can take take us all. Written in language so evocative and lyrical that it begs to read out loud. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Liz Long | 1/1/2014

    " I know - it's a classic. I hated it. It bored me. I finally had to force myself to finish before I could read anything else. My desire to read ANYTHING else was the only reason I got through it all. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mo | 12/14/2013

    " Required reading in high school. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roxanne Russell | 11/28/2013

    " I love this book so much that I have refused to finish it so that I can drag it out as long as possible. I have read and re-read many sections of it, but I have never read the last chapter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil Leach | 11/25/2013

    " Good story albeit rather verbose. I dedicate this reading to my high school lit teacher Tom Patten. This book was assigned reading for me 30 odd years ago. I never read it at the time - I did get a B on the test though. Not sure how well I would do now though :/ "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sarah | 11/19/2013

    " I couldn't even get through the Cliff Notes. Maybe if Melville hadn't been paid by the word, this would be a bit easier to get through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dianaw800gmail.com | 11/15/2013

    " A classic. I rated it three starts only because I found the lengthy description of whaling vessels and the workings of them hard to get through. In truth, though, I read this book in high school English class, so I probably should read it again. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kat Toft | 11/4/2013

    " I really hated this book - I really felt it was just full of pointless descriptions and went nowhere. Worst read ever. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Richard Temple | 11/4/2013

    " I got an abridged audiobook version (don't even remember where I got it). The actor was a bit off for me. Great book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/27/2013

    " Not for the light reader nor those who own lessor dictionaries. The tale of the white whale meanders and circles for well over 500 pages stalking the lesson we have all heard. A book that must be read in latter years and more than once. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Richard Nelson | 10/17/2013

    " The longest dirge I've ever been involved. Never again "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Travis | 10/17/2013

    " Some parts were great, other parts were difficult to get through. Melville spends too much time on the anatomy of whales. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 10/12/2013

    " A very difficult read. I feel like a frustrated and solitary man on the ocean reading this. Perhaps that is the point? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hannah Cosper | 8/25/2013

    " Long excerpts on whaling but well worth the ending "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne Laure | 8/20/2013

    " My first classic book when I was 6... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen Hooley | 8/14/2013

    " Very good book! Will read it again one day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg Savage | 8/5/2013

    " What an epic.So much effort is required to read this but when all of ones concentration powers are going full steam, the writing is amazing. Be warned though. This bloke can drone on mesmerizingly about a piece of rope. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Evie | 7/19/2013

    " this is my all time favorite book...go away "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dale | 7/18/2013

    " This book needs to be read aloud. The beauty of the book and the language will be lost if read silently. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mel | 7/6/2013

    " I don't even want to go into this, it was that awful. Briefly: it rambled, it dragged, it was boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rosa Gonzalez | 5/30/2013

    " It was okay. I need to read it slow the second time around to frm a better opinion of this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kenneth Rolland | 5/27/2013

    " No one needs to hear so much about the color white. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rusty | 5/8/2013

    " This book could serve as a textbook for a class on whaling. While many think it tedious, it is a must read. The book is too often referenced to ignore. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Justin Hall | 3/31/2013

    " Very great classic, but it does run long and I didn't think the climax was that climaxy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evan | 3/29/2013

    " I gave it three stars because I am an uncultured moron who learned a great deal about the symbolism of the religions at play, and whaling. Mostly about whaling and how to extract oil from a whales head. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bakhtiar Kasi | 2/26/2013

    " "There is magic in it." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linsen Loots | 2/24/2013

    " Wow. Dry is not the word... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 niloy | 1/30/2013

    " Mammoth book. Not sure if it was worth the effort ... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam Swanson | 1/15/2013

    " I don't know why everyone thinks this book is so terrible. I loved it. Maybe it's because people are forced to read it in high school. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chirpy | 12/9/2012

    " Oh god. One word: vacuous "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon Neary | 11/21/2012

    " 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. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Samnang Suom | 11/19/2012

    " I'm one of those people that just looks at a book like this and say "Too long". A friend of mine says that this book takes a REALLY long time to get to the action of the book, and that it mostly explains (stuff). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ned Lindau | 10/14/2012

    " It's stupid to try to review Moby-Dick. I read it in the context of a class, which definitely helped. Soldier through it for any of its numerous tragic charms. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shauna | 9/18/2012

    " I'm still digesting, but my immediate reaction: some of the most beautiful, moving language interspersed with long passages meant to test your dedication as a reader. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel Mello | 8/19/2012

    " 5 Stars if only for the sake of it's extensive lexicon! Still working my way through, thesaurus in hand! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zach | 8/15/2012

    " That this book has anything below a 5 star rating on here is an absolute travesty. Melville is so ridiculously ahead of his time it is mind blowing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Don | 8/10/2012

    " i guess I am one of the few people who don't get this book. too much minutiae on whaling for my taste. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Finn Pennekamp | 8/6/2012

    " Thanks MobyDickBigRead.com! I'm only 1 years old and I know Moby Dick cover to cover! It was awesome too! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Graeme | 7/9/2012

    " One of the very few books i could not push through. Dry. Maybe I'll give it another go one day. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hope | 6/24/2012

    " it took over 500 pages to get to the titular whale and that is unacceptable in my opinion. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark Iwaasa | 4/6/2012

    " I know it's a classic, but the style of writing and the period in which it was written made it a very difficult read for me. Sorry, can't recommend it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat Brooks | 3/7/2012

    " Complicated language, but very engaging story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pwoodsidjeffco.k12.co.us | 1/19/2012

    " Last book I read in college. Loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam Sawyer | 12/6/2011

    " This is a classic that can be read again and again in order to fully comprehend all of the nuances within. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Declan Mcdermott | 7/17/2011

    " If you don't get excited and want to go challenge some unfathomable being to a duel when reading this, there's something wrong with you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Myles | 7/16/2011

    " One of the greatest meditations on the meaning of life and a tale of the sea unparalleled. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 6/1/2011

    " one of my favourite classics and possibly the biggest book ive ever read, when i was younger it seemed MASSIVE but as an adult i welcomed the challenge, it is a beautifully told story that will always remain timeless to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Qing | 5/31/2011

    " Masterpiece. Difficult to read... and I'm sure there are much more to be undiscovered "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steve | 5/30/2011

    " Oh - My - Gosh. I don't think I could finish the Cliff Notes version of this thing today. I read it in college and haven't looked back. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 5/29/2011

    " Moby Dick contains some of the best writing you'll ever read, a good adventure story, and some excruciatingly long passages on whaling and whale biology. I don't think I can adequately "review" it by saying anything further. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ken | 5/29/2011

    " An excellent graphic novel version of my favorite book of all time. I particularly liked the way Starbuck (the most interesting character, I think) was portrayed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keri | 5/27/2011

    " Merritt and I took about a year and a half to read this. She got more out of it than I thought she would (cuz she's a smart cookie!). I enjoyed it more reading it with her than I would have if I had just read straight through. Love the conversations we had about it!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marisa | 5/24/2011

    " Not only did I enjoy the story, but I learned a lot about whales. Whaling is such a big part of our history and this helped me to understand what exactly it all entailed and why it was such an important industry. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Guy | 5/23/2011

    " Not sure I can make it through this one . . . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 5/22/2011

    " The "War & Peace" or "Les Misérables" of whaling; unfortunately I think his execution meandered and failed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 5/22/2011

    " Wow. Best book I've ever read, no shit and much to my surprise. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shane | 5/21/2011

    " Frank Muller is a superb audio book reader. An epic reader for an epic story "

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About the Author
Author Herman Melville

Herman Melville (1819–1891) was born in New York City. Family hardships forced him to leave school for various occupations, including shipping as a cabin boy to Liverpool in 1839—a voyage that sparked his love for the sea. A shrewd social critic and philosopher in his fiction, he is considered an outstanding writer of the sea and a great stylist who mastered both realistic narrative and a rich, rhythmical prose. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumously published novella Billy Budd.

About the Narrator

Anthony Heald, an Audie Award–winning narrator, has earned Tony nominations and an Obie Award for his theater work; appeared in television’s Law & Order, The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Boston Public; and starred as Dr. Frederick Chilton in the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.