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In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex - Preface Summary & Analysis

Nathaniel Philbrick
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Preface Summary

During the summer of 1821, sperm whales were hunted in the Pacific Ocean for their oil. For the men on the whaleships, harvesting a whale was a tough task. When a whale was sighted, six men would approach it, harpoon it, and then try to kill it with a lance. As sperm whales can reach upwards of sixty tons, it had the potential to destroy the whaleboat. Once a whale was killed, its blubber was ripped off and boiled for the high-grade oil that lit streets and lubricated machines. This was all done at sea. The tiny island of Nantucket, twenty-four miles off southern New England, had been the center of the global oil business for a century.

The Nantucket whaleship, Dauphin, was traveling up the Chilean coast when its lookout saw a tiny boat on the ocean. The captain soon realized it was a whaleboat. As they...

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This section contains 398 words
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Buy the In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Study Guide
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