Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America

Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America

Eric Jay Dolin

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 0393331571

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A Los Angeles Times Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007
A Boston Globe Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007
Amazon.com Editors pick as one of the 10 best history books of 2007
Winner of the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History, given by the North American Society for Oceanic History

"The best history of American whaling to come along in a generation." ―Nathaniel Philbrick

The epic history of the "iron men in wooden boats" who built an industrial empire through the pursuit of whales. "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme," Herman Melville proclaimed, and this absorbing history demonstrates that few things can capture the sheer danger and desperation of men on the deep sea as dramatically as whaling. Eric Jay Dolin begins his vivid narrative with Captain John Smith's botched whaling expedition to the New World in 1614. He then chronicles the rise of a burgeoning industry―from its brutal struggles during the Revolutionary period to its golden age in the mid-1800s when a fleet of more than 700 ships hunted the seas and American whale oil lit the world, to its decline as the twentieth century dawned. This sweeping social and economic history provides rich and often fantastic accounts of the men themselves, who mutinied, murdered, rioted, deserted, drank, scrimshawed, and recorded their experiences in journals and memoirs. Containing a wealth of naturalistic detail on whales, Leviathan is the most original and stirring history of American whaling in many decades.

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Take up these obligations, no better time than the present will ever offer. To be sure the war terminated disastrously to our cause, but we are, therefore, so much the more in need of any trifling sums that may be owing to us. The above amounts, therefore, may be sent to me, care of my publisher, who is hereby authorized for receipt for the same.57 Ever since leaving Australia the Shenandoah had been virtually cut off from the outside world, leaving Waddell and his men to wonder and worry about.

Philadelphia—1785” (from the American Museum, Philadelphia, 1789), quoted in Crosby, Nantucket in Print, 87. 46. Starbuck, History of the American Whale Fisheries, 77. CHAPTER ELEVEN: Up from the Ashes 1. “The Whale Fishery,” North American Review, 38 (Jan. 1834), 102; Stackpole, The Sea Hunters, 95; Starbuck, History of the American Whale Fishery, 77–78; Bullard The Rotches, 35; and Zepheniah W. Pease, “The Brave Industry of Whaling,” Americana 12 (Jan.–Dec. 1918), 83. 2. Derek Jarrett, Pitt.

To the General Court of Massachusetts implying that Nantucket ships had been importing materials from Long Island that were ending up in British hands. “Surely,” said Trumbull, “such large Supplies of provisions to the favorites of Administration looks suspicious & ought to be duly watched.”12 Although Trumbull was later persuaded by William Rotch that “nothing of that kind had taken place,” other accusers never revised their opinions. Indeed, for many colonists, Nantucket’s neutrality alone was.

Was, not surprisingly, fraught with danger, for the ships that the Nantucketers used to shuttle back and forth were long and narrow, and built for speed not stability and durability in rough seas. Even when Nantucket’s ships arrived at the mainland, they faced yet another obstacle. Many colonists despised the island’s supposed Tory leanings and would not trade with the Nantucketers, causing some ships to be “sent back empty.”18 Miserable weather only added to Nantucket’s woes. During the summer.

To say the least. The Americans built a small fort, became embroiled in wars involving three local tribes, and Porter, in a fit of patriotic and imperialistic ardor, took possession of the Marquesas on behalf of the United States, renamed them Madison Islands in honor of the recently reelected president, and christened one of the islands’ main harbors Massachusetts Bay (despite Porter’s actions, the Marquesas later became French possessions). Then, just as Porter was planning to depart, he headed.

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