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Hardcover Ahab's Trade: The Saga of South Seas Whaling Book

ISBN: 0312228090

ISBN13: 9780312228095

Ahab's Trade: The Saga of South Seas Whaling

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good*

*Best Available: (missing dust jacket)

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Book Overview

Gladiator one minute, galley slave the next. Danger, abuse, excitement and tedium, these were the lot of open boat whalemen in the South Seas for two centuries. The Nantucketers, the first and the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

A Gem of a Book About Whaling

Mawer's splendid "Ahab's Trade" tells the incredible story of South Seas (i.e. Pacific) whaling during the 19th and 20th centuries. The principal character in this book does not have a particular name; the names themselves shift from voyage to voyage - but the constant heroic icon that keeps appearing is the longboat's crewman; the sailor who ventures out onto the high seas in little but a glorified rowboat, harpoon in hand, ready to do battle with a beast that could easily smash the boat to bits. Whatever you think of whaling, you can't deny the bravery of these men. Mawer does not stop with a strict rendition of whaling, however: he takes the opportunity to share with the reader many a story about the Pacific in general during this fateful period, from the discovery of the Bounty mutineers on Pitcairn island, to the "ExEx" expedition of the 1830s (recently given its own entire history), to the exploits of Confederate raiders during the 1860s. The narrative ends with the (comparatively recent) international ban on whaling - a ban that Mawer does not entirely embrace. Immaculately researched and superbly written.

Great whaling history.

This is a really good piece of work. I'm a maritime history buff and I enjoyed it a lot. If you're at all interested in the early history of the New England states or especially interested in Nantucket and the way people there made their fortunes, I'd give this book a try. It's a good history that reads like a good novel in places. Highly recommended.
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