In Nantucket: Moby Dick Revisited

On November 20, 1820, the Nantucket whaling ship Essex was attacked by a sperm whale, and sank in mid-Pacific. The incident provided Herman Melville the ending for Moby Dick. It also sent the 20-man crew of the Essex zigzagging across open ocean for three months in three 23-ft. whaleboats. Eventually they resorted to cannibalism to survive. For more than 100 years the only known account was that of the first mate, Owen Chase. But this spring 100 pages written by Thomas Nickerson, who shipped on the Essex as a boy of 16, were...

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