Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America - Eric Jay Dolin

Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America

By Eric Jay Dolin

  • Release Date: 2008-07-17
  • Genre: United States

Description

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.

Reviews

  • Leviathan The History of Whaling in America

    5
    By 1smartlady
    This fascinating book covers 300 years of whaling in the U.S. As a sailor now, and as a history major at the University of Wisconsin years ago, I was surprised by the extent to which whaling influenced the course of The American Revolution, as Dolin reports it. This book will give you a different point of view on a long swath of early American history. Whaling wasn't just a way to make a living. It was also an industry that illuminated the civilized world with bright light before there were filament light bulbs, now becoming extinct, or natural gas pipelines coursing through our major cities.