In Search of Moby Dick : Quest for the White Whale, Paperback

In Search of Moby Dick : Quest for the White Whale Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Herman Melville's novel MOBY DICK immortalised the concept of a battling white sperm whale, but did such a creature really exist?

Acclaimed explorer and writer Tim Severin travelled to the islands of the Pacific to find out. From Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas archipelago to Pamilacan and Tonga, Severin compares myth with reality in a fascinating journey of discovery.

Along the way he investigates the real extent of Melville's whaling experience, and unearths other potential sources for his famous story; encounters the extraordinary whale-jumpers, who even now make their living by leaping on the backs of whales to ram home their spears; and observes a retired harpooner re-enact the curious ballet of a kill -- transporting himself to his youth in the process, like a shaman from a forgotten age. Superb travel writing combined with personal and historical anecdote make this a hugely enjoyable and enlightening exploration of one of the ocean's enduring myths.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256 pages, Section: 8, Integrated: 30, Col & 30 integrated
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Travel writing
  • ISBN: 9780349112336



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Severin writes an interesting book and describes the rarely written about lives of sperm whales and their historic meetings with man. He delves into the mythic and literary past and finds the sources and inspirations for Herman Melville and others who wrote about these whales. Along the way he tells of modern day primitive whaling and fishing in parts of the southwest Pacific. Slow in places and too much in love with some of the natives but a good book about things I did not know. The best kind.I give it a 3.75

Review by

The "quest for the white whale" - tale of modern traditional whale hunters.Read in Samoa Jan 2003

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