Why were there so many desertions from the ship? Joan Druett looks beyond the sensational stories of the time to the journals and logs of the crew to piece together the story. It was an easy read, much easier than the oft-mentioned Moby Dick! This is the account of the cruise of the whaleship 'Sharon' out of Fairhaven Mass.
Whose Captain was murdered a year later by three of the crewmen. And then the ship being almost single handedly being retaken by the third officer. The story mostly unfolds through the journals and letters of the Third Officer Benjamin Clough and the ships cooper Andrew White. Also other ship logs from other ships that crossed their path. Two things make this simple account very interesting; One, it reveals the sinister side of the whaling industry.
At this time, whaling at it's height with over American ships hunting for whales. This leads to ships being manned by sailors with little or no experience. This also seems to be the case with many captains as well as many were given this post at very young ages with only one or two cruises under their belts. This inexperience and youth seems to be a factor in the violence of many Captains to their crews.
Two, these years to were the same ones that Melville was sailing the same waters. Where he jumped ship the whaleship Acushnet. He had seen many of these same conditions that are described in the book on his ship. Also as there were over 20 deserters from the Sharon he might have heard tales about the Mad Captain who flogged a seaman to death. The author Joan Druett references Melville many times during this narrative. She also dwells on the reasons that this chapter in whaling history is not well known. All in all a very readable and interesting history.
I've read two of her earlier books about females at sea and greatly enjoyed them. Recently I discovered that Druett has begun to write a mystery series featuring a character who's a member of the U. Exploration Expedition. I reviewed a book about this expedition earlier this year. Since I'm fascinated by the Expedition and I enjoy Druett's writing, I couldn't wait to get my hands on one of these mysteries, so I scurried over to Barnes and Noble's website.
In its day, the murder of Captain Howes Norris by three native sailors aboard the whaleship Sharon was sensational stuff, but the entire story was never told and interest died out rather quickly.
Recently journals written by men on board the Sharon were unearthed, Druett read them and wrote this book. I gobbled it up. The story began in Martha's Vineyard in the late s. Druett sets the scene by explaining how the entire whaling industry began and why it eventually centered in New Bedford. When the Sharon sets out on this voyage, Druett gives enough particulars about how to go whaling and life aboard a whaler to keep you fascinated without going into overkill.
Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, weaves in and out of the picture. He was at sea during the same time, knew some of the sailors on board the Sharon, and experienced many of the same things they did. Fortunately, he did not experience Captain Howes Norris. One of the many tidbits I learned while reading this book is that New Zealand was a center of the American whaling industry and, for a while, had more Americans living there than practically any other nationality.
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Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms. Members Reviews Popularity Average rating Mentions 5 , 3. In , Massachusetts whaleship Sharon set out for the whaling grounds of the northwestern Pacific. Twelve men deserted the ship, and three Pacific Islanders joined the crew. The story of the mutiny, the murder and the ship's eventual recapture unfolds in breathless detail. An aspiring young writer of the time eagerly followed this true story: his name was Herman Melville.
No current Talk conversations about this book. In the Wake of Madness is half-baked.
In the Wake of Madness: The Murderous Voyage of the Whaleship Sharon
In the early to midth century, the whaling industry offered much profit for those daring enough for the challenge. This was quite an interesting book, with a realistic look at what a whaling ship was like and all things considered, I'm quite happy I never shipped out on a whaling vessel! Radella Jan 12, You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
Herman Melville. This was indeed a mystery.
The Murderous Voyage of the Whaleship Sharon
It was only much later when his shipboard behavior was revealed, that all sympathy toward this man is lost. This author wrapped things up very nicely for the reader and I enjoyed listening to the story unfold. I especially liked the reader. I will look for more books read by Dennis Boutsikaris. Nicely done. I give it 4 Stars. Some of the events became unwieldy, and others leave the reader in a bit of a quandary, which was probably intended.
In the Wake of Madness : The Murderous Voyage of the Whaleship Sharon
I feel this could have stood a bit more editing, but overall a very good, well read book. Hidden Story A good book that might belong in the true crime section. America was producing serial killers way before we thought. I always feel bad never to have read Moby Dick ………. This book gives you a very good picture of whaling. By: Joan Druett.
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Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris. Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins. Publisher's Summary The gripping true story of one of the 19th century's bloodiest mutinies, written by an award-winning maritime historian. Critic Reviews "Manages a perfect balance between telling the story in an unfussy yet dramatic manner and honoring its complexity.
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