Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex

by Nathaniel Philbrick

Nathaniel Philbrick presents an excellent revision of his successful adult title,... read more

Nathaniel Philbrick presents an excellent revision of his successful adult title, In the Heart of the Sea , in this captivating adaptation for young readers. Maps, diagrams, photographs, and illustrations add dimension to the gripping narrative, which draws heavily on primary sources. In 1820, the Nantucket whaleship Essex was attacked by a sperm whale while voyaging in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was sunk, and its 20 crew members set out to sail over 1,500 miles to the South American coast, in three small whaleboats, with minimal provisions. The author's description of the men's suffering, as they are reduced to daily rations of 2 ounces of hardtack and a sip of water each, is both horrible and mesmerizing. Dehydrated and starving, the men eventually resort to cannibalism as their shipmates die, or are killed for food. When two of the boats finally reach South America, over three months have passed, they have traveled over 4,500 miles from the spot where the Essex was sunk, and over half of the men are dead. This volume is guaranteed to fascinate a wide range of readers, including disaster aficionados, history buffs, and lovers of a good adventure story. (Ages 11‑15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

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