Leviathan

The History of Whaling in America

Eric Jay Dolin (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book
 

A Los Angeles Times Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007
A Boston Globe Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007
Amazon.com Editors pick as one of the 10 best history books of 2007
Winner of the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History, given by the North American Society for Oceanic History

"The best history of American whaling to come along in a generation." —Nathaniel Philbrick

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-1800s when a fleet of more than 700 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.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • July 2008
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33157-8
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 512 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“...perfect summer reading, especially if you happen to be spending the summer by the sea, or on it.” — Adam Kirsch, New York Sun

Leviathan is an exhaustive, richly detailed history of industrial American whaling...Dolin succeeds admirably at what he sets out to do: tell the story of one of the strangest industries in American history.” — Bruce Barcott, New York Times

“Starred Review. Engrossing account...at once grand and quirky, entertaining and informative.” — Publishers Weekly

“Mr. Dolin handles this long, complex tale with great skill, both as a historian and as a writer (the bibliography and illustrations are splended too)...Leviathan is thoroughly engaging.” — John Steele Gordon, The Wall Street Journal

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