Nathaniel Philbrick on "Moby Dick"

December 1, 2011

According to Nathaniel Philbrick, Melville’s classic “Moby Dick,” will always be worth our time and attention, no matter the age.  He makes the case for reading what he calls a kind of "American Bible."  Philbrick tells Jim Fleming why "Moby Dick" still matters.


I'm looking for this Moby Dick read by Carl Schmitt; any help?

Sadly, there is no Karl Schmidt reading - he just read an excerpt for us. Amazing, eh?

I agree that the reading in this segment was quite amazing -- I think of it and those sentences "Whenever I find myself growing grim..." now and then as being evocative of restlessness.

There's a project going on right now called the Moby Dick Big Read that is having different people reading each chapter in the book and putting the audio on the internet for free download (link: or point your podcast downloader at Moby Dick Big Read).

For those interested in the age of whaling, I'd recommend Eric Jay Dolin's "Leviathan" , an engrossing history of the American whaling industry (the beginning is a little slow, but then it gets really good), and the PBS American Experience show "Into the Deep" about the American industry and the sinking of the Essex (a possible inspiration for Moby Dick).

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