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  1. 5.6 hrs • 9/15/2015 • Unabridged

    In the Heart of the Sea brings to new life the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex—the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick. In a harrowing page-turner, Nathaniel Philbrick restores this epic story to its rightful place in American history. In 1819 the 240-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage. Fifteen months later, in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, it was repeatedly rammed and sunk by an eighty-ton bull sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew, fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, made for the 3,000-mile-distant coast of South America in three tiny boats. During ninety days at sea under horrendous conditions, the survivors clung to life as one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear. In the Heart of the Sea tells perhaps the greatest sea story ever. Philbrick interweaves his account of this extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men with a wealth of whale lore and with a brilliantly detailed portrait of the lost, unique community of Nantucket whalers. Impeccably researched and beautifully told, the book delivers the ultimate portrait of man against nature. At once a literary companion and a page-turner that speaks to the same issues of class, race, and man’s relationship to nature that permeate the works of Melville, In the Heart of the Sea will endure as a vital work of American history.

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    In the Heart of the Sea, Young Reader’s Edition by Nathaniel Philbrick
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  2. 7.1 hrs • 12/14/2004 • Unabridged

    From the time man first took to the seas until only one thousand years ago, sight and winds were the sailor’s only navigational aids. It was not until the development of the compass that maps and charts could be used with any accuracy—even so, it would be hundreds of years and thousands of shipwrecks before the marvelous instrument was perfected. Its history up to modern times is filled with the stories of disasters that befell sailors who misused it. In fascinating detail, Alan Gurney brings to life the story of the perfection of the essential navigational device—the instrument Victor Hugo called “the soul of the ship.”

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    Compass

    Read by John Lee
    7.1 hrs • 12/14/04 • Unabridged
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  3. 3.3 hrs • 10/2/2001 • Abridged

    Sometimes it pays to be in the right place at the right time. Certainly the mariners in Amalfi in the twelfth century were. Here the compass was first invented and used in navigation, eventually helping to make Italians the world’s greatest sailors. But the story of the compass is shrouded in mystery and myth. It begins in ancient China around the time of the birth of Christ. A mysterious lodestone whose powers affected metal was known to the Emperor. This piece of metal suspended in water always pointed north and was put to excellent use in feng shui, the Chinese art of finding the right location. However, it was the Italians who unleashed the compass’s formidable powers on ships at sea. Throughout the ancient world, sailors navigated by wind, and stars, and the routes of migrating birds, but bad weather and winter storms impeded their travels. When the compass migrated to Italy, the modern world began: Venice, trade with the East, the Age of Discovery. The compass made it all possible, and this is its fascinating story.

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    Riddle of the Compass

    3.3 hrs • 10/2/01 • Abridged
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