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Book reviews for "Heffernan,_Thomas_Farel" sorted by average review score:

Stove by a Whale: Owen Chase and the Essex
Published in Hardcover by Wesleyan Univ Pr (1981)
Authors: Thomas Farel Heffernan and Hefferman
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The Inspiration for Moby-Dick
This excellent book contains about the completest history of the sinking of the Essex by a whale in 1820, which provided Melville the idea for his climax in the novel. Not only does it contain all the information known on the Essex's crewmen, but it also contains, unabridged, Chase's Narrative, along with the accounts of the survivors and their rescuers, plus Melville's marginalia in his copy of Chase's Narrative. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the Essex, 19th century whalers, or Herman Melville.

Mutiny on the Globe: The Fatal Voyage of Samuel Comstock
Published in Hardcover by W.W. Norton & Company (29 April, 2002)
Author: Thomas Farel Heffernan
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Not as Good as Some Other Recent Nautical Books
There has been quite a glut lately of books about nautical disasters, both recent and historic. Some like "The Perfect Storm" and "In the Heart of the Sea" have been excellent. Others have been less so. Unfortunately, "Mutiny on the Globe," while not awful, belongs in the latter category. It faces some tough competition, being one of two books released this year on the savage mutiny led bed Nantucket whaleman Samuel Comstock in 1822. It is also in competition with "Batavia's Graveyard," another book released a couple of months ago about a historical mutiny which is far superior to this one.

Part of the problem is that only a brief portion of "Mutiny on the Globe" is devoted to the voyage and the mutiny itself. Author Thomas Heffernan spends a long time detailing the early life of Smauel Comstock, which is not all that interesting and pales by comparison to "Batavia's Graveyard"'s gruesome accounts of life at sea during the so-called golden age of sail. The book is also strangely lacking in details about Nantucket whaling, which were so memorable in "In the Heart of the Sea" (the events of which took place around the same time). The last third of the narrative is devoted to the stories of the survivors of the mutiny, though the accounts of the two sailors who were forced to live in captivity among Marshall Island natives for two years before being rescued are also not worth the amount of narrative space they are given.

Heffernan is a decent storyteller and tries his best to liven up his tale. The main problem seems to be that the material he had to work with seems more suited to a long magazine article than a full length book.

Horror On The High Sea
I read this book while sitting on a beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As I gazed at the ocean in the direction of Nantucket, the bloody horror of this mutiny sent chills up my spin. Mutiny On The Globe is not for the weak at heart. It's a graphic and telling story of life, death and survival. Heffernan brings this horrifying story to you full force. The Fatal Journey Of Samuel Comstock is for most New Englanders interested in our old whaling history and tales of the high seas. Fine Job Heffernan!

History that reads like a rippin' good maritime tale
First let me say I was very impressed with Heffernan's meticulous scholarship. This is a well documented history, complete with end notes and appendicies.

That being said, where this book excells is in the telling of the tale. Heffernan is a master storyteller. He brings the story of Samuel Comstock to life, beginning with his early days in Nantucket and later in New York city, showing how his early obsession with war gaming versus other New York gangs stayed with him until his untimely death at 20 years old. Comstock really was a tragic figure in the classic sense: his own mania which was responsible for his leadership (although a usurped one) led to his downfall. The mutiny is a bloody horrowshow. The time spent among the natives of the Mili atoll is sumptuous as well as nerve-wracking for the marooned survivors.

While I can't compare "Mutiny" to Melville's classic "Moby Dick," I would have to say that were Melville alive today, he would heap praise upon this soon-to-be classic of seafaring documentay/drama.

Wood Quay: The Clash over Dublin's Viking Past
Published in Hardcover by Univ of Texas Press (1988)
Author: Thomas Farel Heffernan
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