Nathaniel Philbrick biography

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Nathaniel Philbrick
Photo by Ellen Warner

Nathaniel Philbrick

Nathaniel Philbrick Biography

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. The book is the basis of the forthcoming Warner Bros. motion picture Heart of the Sea, directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Ben Wishaw, and Tom Holland, which is scheduled for release in December, 2015. The book also inspired a 2001 Dateline special on NBC as well as the 2010 2-hour PBS American Experience film Into the Deep by Ric Burns. He also wrote Sea of Glory, Mayflower and The Last Stand (The book is currently being adapted for a ten hour, multi-part television series.).

Philbricks latest New York Times bestseller, Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution, was published in 2013 and was awarded both the 2013 New England Book Award for Non-Fiction and the 2014 New England Society Book Award as well as the 2014 Distinguished Book Award of the Society of Colonial Wars. Bunker Hill has been optioned by Warner Bros. for feature film adaptation with Ben Affleck attached to direct.

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.

Philbricks writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. He has appeared on the Today Show, the Morning Show, Dateline, PBSs American Experience, C-SPAN, and NPR. He and his wife still live on Nantucket. He has two upcoming novels Saratoga planned for 2016 and Yorktown for 2018.

Link to Nathaniel's website

This biography was last updated on 09/05/2015.

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Interview

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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Books by this Author

Books by Nathaniel Philbrick at BookBrowse
Valiant Ambition jacket Bunker Hill jacket The Last Stand jacket Mayflower jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Nathaniel Philbrick but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Susan Casey

    Susan Casey

    Susan Casey is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks. She served as creative director of Outside Magazine, where she was part ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    In the Heart of the Sea

    Try:
    The Devil's Teeth
    by Susan Casey

  • Abby Geni

    Abby Geni

    Abby Geni is a graduate of Oberlin University and the Iowa Writers Workshop as well as the recipient of an Iowa Fellowship. Her work won first place in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open and was listed in The Best American ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    In the Heart of the Sea

    Try:
    The Lightkeepers
    by Abby Geni

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