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Leviathan; The History of Whaling in America

Dolin, Eric Jay

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ISBN 10: 0393060578 / ISBN 13: 9780393060577
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2007
Condition: Very good Hardcover
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About this Item

479, [1] pages. Notes. Select Bibliography. Illustration Credits. Index. Signed by the author on the title page. Eric Jay Dolin (born 1961) is an American author who writes history books, which often focus on maritime topics, wildlife, and the environment. He has published eleven books, which have won numerous awards. Dolin has worked as a program manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; an environmental consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton (MD) and Environmental Resources Limited (London); an intern at the National Wildlife Federation, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, and for Senator Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. on Capitol Hill; a fisheries policy analyst at the National Marine Fisheries Service; a technical writer for the National Transportation Safety Board; a PEW research fellow at Harvard Law School; and an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow at Business Week. Derived from a Kirkus review: Dolin compellingly examines whaling's importance to America's early growth and wealth. The author traces the industry's development, from whale hunting by eighth-century Basques to the introduction of whale products throughout Europe by the 17th century. The American settlers saw Indians cutting up pilot whales and soon tried "drift" whaling themselves. Nantucket took the lead first in drift whaling and then in shore whaling, rowing out to harpoon leviathans swimming near the coast. The island's hardworking settlers launched sea hunting for the sperm whale and its three lucrative components: oil for clean lighting, spermaceti for medicinal elixirs and candles, ambergris as a fixative for perfumes. Dolin goes through the facets of sperm-whale hunting, detailing the life aboard whaling vessels, then moving on to describe the dangerous chase for an elusive prey, followed by the processing of its carcass. By the early 1850s, whaling entered the golden age Herman Melville depicted in Moby-Dick. The discovery of crude oil during the late 1850s produced kerosene that soon supplanted whale oil as the principal source of lamp fuel. Dolin ends with the final voyage of New Bedford's last whaling ship in 1924. First Edition [Stated], First Printing [Stated]. Bookseller Inventory # 74590

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Leviathan; The History of Whaling in America

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, New York

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


A Los Angeles Times Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007
A Boston Globe Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007 Editors pick as one of the 10 best history books of 2007
Winner of the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History, given by the North American Society for Oceanic History

“The best history of American whaling to come along in a generation.”―Nathaniel Philbrick

The epic history of the "iron men in wooden boats" who built an industrial empire through the pursuit of whales. "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme," Herman Melville proclaimed, and this absorbing history demonstrates that few things can capture the sheer danger and desperation of men on the deep sea as dramatically as whaling. Eric Jay Dolin begins his vivid narrative with Captain John Smith's botched whaling expedition to the New World in 1614. He then chronicles the rise of a burgeoning industry―from its brutal struggles during the Revolutionary period to its golden age in the mid-1800s when a fleet of more than 700 ships hunted the seas and American whale oil lit the world, to its decline as the twentieth century dawned. This sweeping social and economic history provides rich and often fantastic accounts of the men themselves, who mutinied, murdered, rioted, deserted, drank, scrimshawed, and recorded their experiences in journals and memoirs. Containing a wealth of naturalistic detail on whales, Leviathan is the most original and stirring history of American whaling in many decades. 32 pages of illustrations

About the Author:

Eric Jay Dolin is the author of the bestselling Leviathan: The History of Whaling In America, which was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by The Los Angeles TimesThe Boston Globe, and The Providence Journal, and was chosen by's editors as one of the top ten history books of 2007. Leviathan also won the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History, and the 23rd Annual L. Byrne Waterman Award, given by the New Bedford Whaling Museum, for outstanding contributions to whaling research and history. His last book, Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, was chosen by New West, The Seattle Times, and the Rocky Mountain Land Library as one of the best nonfiction books of 2010, and it also won the 2011 James P. Hanlan Book Award, given by the New England Historical Association. A graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in environmental policy, he lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.

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