In the Heart of the Sea

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For the film adaptation, see In the Heart of the Sea (film).
In the Heart of the Sea
In the Heart of the Sea -- book cover.jpg
Hardcover edition
Author Nathaniel Philbrick
Country United States
Language English
Subject New England, whaling
Genre History
Publisher Viking Press
Publication date
May 8, 2000
Media type Print, e-book
Pages 320 pp.
ISBN 0-670-89157-6
OCLC 608132810
The Essex struck by a whale — a sketch by Thomas Nickerson

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex is a book by American writer Nathaniel Philbrick about the loss of the Whaleship Essex in the Pacific Ocean in 1820. The book was published by Viking Press on May 8, 2000, and won the 2000 National Book Award for Nonfiction. It is being adapted into a film of the same name, scheduled for release in 2015.


The Essex, an American whaleship from Nantucket, sank when it was attacked by a sperm whale in the Pacific Ocean in November 1820. Having lost their ship, the crew of the Essex attempted to sail to South America in whaleboats. After suffering from starvation and dehydration, most of the crew died before the survivors were rescued in February 1821.

In retelling the story of the crew's ordeal, Philbrick utilizes an account written by Thomas Nickerson, who was a teenage cabin boy on board the Essex and wrote about the experience in his old age; his account was lost until 1960 but was not authenticated until 1980 before being published, abridged, in 1984. The book also utilizes the better known account of Owen Chase, the ship's first mate, which was published soon after the ordeal.[1]


In the Heart of the Sea won the 2000 U.S. National Book Award for Nonfiction.[2]

Film adaptation[edit]

The story is being adapted into a feature film by director Ron Howard, starring Chris Hemsworth, Ben Whishaw, and Cillian Murphy.[3] The film is scheduled for release on December 11, 2015.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Philbrick, Nathaniel (2001). In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. Penguin Books. pp. xiv–xv. ISBN 0-14-100182-8. 
  2. ^ "National Book Awards – 2000". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  3. ^ Browne, Julie (29 October 2013). "Cillian Murphy’s ‘Peaky Blinders’ Renewed for a Second Season". The Irish Film & Television Network. 

External links[edit]