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Publisher's Summary

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-1800s, when a fleet of more than 700 ships hunted the seas and American whale oil lit the world, to its decline as the 20th 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.
©2007 Eric Jay Dolin (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Engrossing....This account is at once grand and quirky, entertaining and informative." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Eric Jay Dolin's Leviathan is the best history of American whaling to come along in a generation." (Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jesse on 08-06-07


In the beginning I thought it would be long and boring.Was I wrong. Suddenly there was a lively story. It is a history beautifully narrated in the language of the times. First it was interesting, then a fasinating chronology full of descriptive adventure. Whaling was such an important part of our heritage.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By john on 02-15-09

Excellent Text, Horrendous Narration

This book is an amazing piece of work, Well researched, detailed and still incredibly entertaining even when detailing mundane actions and events. I can't think of any other book with so much information all brought together so well. I picked up the printed book so as to have a reference handy.

The naration was awful, If the text had not been so incredible I would have given up within 20 mins, "William Shakespeare's Henry IV" was being quoted and was read by the narator as "William Shakespeare's Henry Four"...I mean any 3rd Grader knows to add the "th" to a title...This and many other weird actions throughout the reading made me want to fling my MP3 player aganst a wall, He repeatedly dragged me out of the story.

This is the kind of audiobook that would win awards if given a competent Narator.

I would gladly give the book 100% but this is an audiobook website and the narration drags it down hard...

Please let a decent narrator try again, Ill buy it again with a good narrator

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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