Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex by Owen Chase Foreword by Tim Cahil
l As adventure narratives go, this is certainly one of the purest. In 1821 the whale ship Essex was stove in and sunk by a vengeful sperm whale while the vessel was in the Pacific Ocean, several thousand miles in any direction from civilization. The crew then survivedsome of them anywayan open-boat journey to South America. The fact that the ship was deliberately destroyed by a whale, and served as the direct inspiration for Melville’s Moby Dick, is story enough. But in the best tradition and spirit of desperate struggle, the crew ate their less stalwart boat mates to stay alive. Of the 20 original crew aboard Essex, eight survived the 3,000-mile journey. The story has been revived, apparently now that our attention has been focused on extreme stories, and added to with commentary by veteran adventurer Tim Cahill and publisher Paul Lyons, who explains the tale’s historic significance.212-620-9580; $12.95; 142 pages.