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Owen Chase


Owen Chase (1798 - 1869) of Nantucket sought a traditional career as a whaling captain. However, at age 22, while serving as first mate of the Essex, his ship was sunk in a horrific, unprecedented attack by a sperm whale. Chase's short account of the attack (thought by some to be ghost-written) captivated the nation and inspired Melville, forming the basis of Moby Dick.

Books by Owen Chase on Riapress.com

Narrative of the Wreck of the Whale-ship Essex

By: Owen Chase

The true story that inspired Melville's Moby Dick, sensational in its time and still a mortal tale of the sea.

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Related Books on Riapress.com

Moby Dick

By: Herman Melville

Ishmael signs onto the whaler Pequod, led by Ahab, who turns the voyage into an obsessive quest for revenge against the whale who took his leg.

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A Voyage to the South Sea

By: William Bligh

Muntineers interrupt a breadfruit voyage, in a classic true tale of temptation, seamanship, and leadership.

download or read online

Author Web Sites of Interest

Owen Chase websites of interest:
Nantucket Historical Association
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Nantucket Atheneum
Sperm whale info
PBS page on the Essex

Author Bibliography

Short Owen Chase bibliography:
Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea. 2001.
Thomas F. Heffernan, Stove by a Whale. 1981.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick. 1851.
Richard Ellis, The Book of Whales. 1985.
Paul Schneider, The Enduring Shore: A Hisory of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. 2000.