The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by A WhaleBook - 2000
In 1820 the Nantucket whaleship Essex, thousands of miles from home in the South Pacific, was rammed by an angry sperm whale. The Essex sank, leaving twenty crew members drifting in three small open boats for ninety days. The Titanic story of its day, the incident also provided the inspiration for Melville's Moby-Dick .
The Narrative of the Wreck of the Whaleship Essex, by Owen Chase, has long been the essential account of the Essex's doomed voyage. But in 1980 a new account of the disaster was discovered, penned late in life by Thomas Nickerson, who had been the fifteen-year-old cabin boy of the ship.
This edition presents Nickerson's never-before-published chronicle alongside Chase's version. Also included are the most important other contemporary accounts of the incident, Melville's notes in his copy of the Chase narrative, and journal entries by Emerson and Thoreau.