|Country United States|
Subject New England, whaling
Publisher Viking Press
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 whaler 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 was adapted into a film of the same name, which came out in late 2015.
The Essex, an American whaleship from Nantucket, Massachusetts, sank after a sperm whale attacked it 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.
In the Heart of the Sea won the 2000 U.S. National Book Award for Nonfiction.
The story was adapted into a feature film by director Ron Howard, starring Chris Hemsworth, Ben Whishaw, and Cillian Murphy. Advertising for the film points out that the historical story inspired the Moby Dick mythology.
The film was scheduled for release in the US on December 11, 2015, but was released in major markets like Brazil, Russia, India and 37 other countries, as well as parts of the US, on December 3, 2015 to avoid competition from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.