Nataniel Philbrick was born in Boston, Massachusetts, acquired a B.A in English from Brown and an MA in American Literature from Duke University. He worked for four years at Sailing World magazine; was a freelancer for a number of years, during which time he wrote/edited several sailing books, including Yachting: A Parody, for which he was the editor-in-chief. During this time he was also the primary caregiver for his two children. After moving to Nantucket in 1986, he became interested in the history of the island and wrote Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People. He was offered the opportunity to start the Egan Maritime Institute in 1995, and in 2000 he published In the Heart of the Sea, followed by Sea of Glory and Mayflower. The Last Stand was published in May 2010. He is presently at work on a book about Boston during the early years of the Revolution.
Philbrick has won the National Book Award in non-fiction for In the Heart of the Sea and the Massachusetts Book Award for Mayflower, was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in History, and has received numerous other awards for his books and contributions to various museums and historical institutes.
From the author's website
This biography was last updated on 12/21/2010.
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An Interview with Nathaniel Philbrick
Why do you believe the tale of the Essex needed retelling? Why is it
important to tell now?
Except for at a few old whaling ports such as Nantucket and New Bedford, the story of the Essex was known, if it was known at all, as the story that inspired the climax of Moby-Dick. It seemed to me that the Essex was something more than the raw material for Melville's miraculous art; it was a survival tale that also happened to be an essential part of American history. Back in the early nineteenth century, America had more frontiers than the West; there was also the sea, and the Nantucket whaleman was the sea-going mountain man of his day, chasing the sperm whale into the distant corners of the Pacific Ocean. Americans today have lost track of the importance the sea had in creating the nation's emerging identity. It wasn't all cowboys and Indians; there was also the whalemen and Pacific. More than a decade before the Donner party brought a story of frontier cannibalism to the American public, there was the Essex disaster.
You brought a historic tale to life with vivid detail and emotional content that rivals narrative fiction. Did it feel ...
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