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Beneath the Heart of the Sea The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex by Owen Chase

Beneath the Heart of the Sea The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex

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First published in 1821 and the inspiration for 'Moby Dick', this is an absolutely fascinating true story, detailing a subject that will make you wince, grimace and wonder. Owen Chase the author, was the First Mate aboard the Whaleship Essex, a ship that was rammed and sank by a whale, leaving 20 men fighting for their lives. Travelling back in time, in language, in livelihoods; this most definitely makes for an uncomfortable read at times. It’s worth having a map by your side, as the distance travelled by the men of the Essex is quite remarkable. This is a tale of ultimate survival that will no doubt leave you wondering what you would do, if left face to mesmerising face with death. ~ Liz Robinson

The film adaptation, starring Chris Hemsworth is released in the UK on Saturday 26 December 2015. Click below to view the trailer.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Owen Chase was the First Mate on the Essex, a whaling ship that left New England in the summer of 1819 and rounded Cape Horn to go whaling in the South Pacific. Attacked and sunk by a Sperm whale, the crew took to the small open boats and Chase was one of only eight men to survive the four-month ordeal that saw them survive starvation, dehydration and insanity before reaching safety in South America. This is his gripping account of that voyage, written within months of his return to Nantucket, a tale that inspired Her-man Melville to write his epic novel, Moby Dick.
~ Anthony Lafferty


Beneath the Heart of the Sea The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex by Owen Chase

Discover the amazing true story behind the inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick and the new feature film Heart of the Sea. A tragic yet riveting narration of life and death and man against the elements, Beneath the Heart of the Sea is an extreme account of shipwreck survival.

On the morning of November 20,1820, in the Pacific Ocean 2,000 miles from the coast of South America, an enraged sperm whale rammed the Nantucket whaleship Essex. As the boat began to sink, her crew of twenty, including first mate Owen Chase, grabbed what little they could before piling into frail boats and taking to the open seas. So began their four-month ordeal and struggle for survival. A bleak story, only eight men survived having endured starvation and dehydration, giving in to cannibalism, murder and insanity. Owen Chase recorded the extraordinary account in his autobiography, originally published in 1821, which Hesperus is proud to reissue in a stylish new edition. With the Hollywood film Heart of the Sea, directed by Ron Howard and featuring Chris Hemsworth in the role of Owen Chase hitting cinemas in March 2015, readers will be enthralled to discover the intense, original story behind the film.


'Testament to the extraordinary horrors that those men of the Essex suffered, out on the infinite deep'
Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Owen Chase was born in Nantucket. First Mate on board the Essex, he was rescued from its wreckage on 18 February 1821. He was later appointed Captain of the Carroll in 1832 and was to undertake two trips to the South Pacific before his career came to an end. He died in March 1869, aged seventy-one.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th February 2015


Owen Chase

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Hesperus Press Ltd


89 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Books Behind TV & Film
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Autobiography: historical, political & military
Maritime history
Australasian & Pacific history
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900



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