10 books like In the Heart of the Sea

By Nathaniel Philbrick,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like In the Heart of the Sea. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Endurance

By Alfred Lansing,

Book cover of Endurance

It’s the name of the book, it’s the name of the ship, and there isn’t a more accurate descriptor imageable for this horrific, and amazing story of survival. Time after time after time, just when you think something is finally going to go right for the crew of the Endurance, everything gets worse. Yet they continue on, against all conceivable odds. Lansing’s masterpiece recounts Ernest Shackleton’s well-known and ill-fated journey to Antarctica, and the multi-year survival of him and his crew. A true nonfiction thriller, you really cannot imagine what is in store for these poor men. How they made it home is truly shocking. You’ll never feel cold again.

Endurance

By Alfred Lansing,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Endurance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed between two ice floes. With no options left, Shackleton and a skeleton crew attempted a near-impossible…


Moby-Dick

By Herman Melville,

Book cover of Moby-Dick

Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is a book that only became understandable after multiple readings. When I was younger, I was bored struggling through this book; I didn’t enjoy the whaling history or whale biology and none of it added up to a novel. Still, I wanted to know why so many people believed it was the finest novel ever written. And now, having read the book at least a dozen times, I see that Melville’s wild construction justifies the epic confrontation between whale and man. I see the relationship of the Old Testament God to the White Whale that Ahab cannot best. I can honestly say that I love this book I once hated.

Moby-Dick

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Moby-Dick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Melville's tale of the whaling industry, and one captain's obsession with revenge against the Great White Whale that took his leg. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes a biography of Herman Melville and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom or at home to further engage the reader in the work at hand.


We, the Navigators

By David Lewis, Derek Oulton,

Book cover of We, the Navigators: The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific

This is really a one-of-a-kind scientific textbook. Though technical, it reads like an adventure novel. Lewis was part scientist, part adventurer, part sailor, and an excellent author. The book is full of charts, sketches, and photographs that take you to the South Pacific atolls of Polynesia and Micronesia. This book is not for the day sailor. Written in 1972, Lewis learns and masters the art of ocean navigation from native-born seafarers, like Tevake, who in the middle of nothing knew exactly where he was. He and others learned the skills from their fathers, using only the stars, wind patterns, reflective waves, sea swells, currents, birds, and cloud formations. Lewis learned to sail from one island to another without the aid of modern navigation instruments. Lewis makes the skill of natural navigation into a true adventure.

On a personal note, in the 1970s, I paid many visits to Kwajalein Atoll in…

We, the Navigators

By David Lewis, Derek Oulton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We, the Navigators as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This new edition includes a discussion of theories about traditional methods of navigation developed during recent decades, the story of the renaissance of star navigation throughout the Pacific, and material about navigation systems in Indonesia, Siberia, and the Indian Ocean.


The Perfect Storm

By Sebastian Junger,

Book cover of The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

This is one of the nonfiction books I read as a teenager that convinced me to become a professional writer. The author, Sebastian Junger, doesn’t just describe the titular storm (which hit the U.S. East Coast in 1991) in terrifying detail—he also manages to assemble all of the weather-driven chaos into a real, gripping narrative. We don’t know a lot about what actually happened to the Andrea Gail, the fishing boat at the center of the narrative, but Junger recreates its final hours in a way that feels bracingly real—and heartbreaking.

Even if you don’t like nonfiction books, The Perfect Storm has the pacing and heart of a novel. I consider it one of the finest—maybe the finest—disaster narrative ever written, and it’s a perfect choice of book if you’re trapped inside by a raging storm.

The Perfect Storm

By Sebastian Junger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Perfect Storm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high-a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm." In a book that has become a classic, Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched. The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that makes us feel like we've been caught, helpless, in the grip of a force of nature beyond our understanding or control.

Winner of the American Library Association's 1998 Alex…


Into the Raging Sea

By Rachel Slade,

Book cover of Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro

In most nautical disaster stories, we’re left to speculate what went through the minds of the victims as their fates unfolded. However, when the container ship El Faro steamed into the teeth of a hurricane in 2015, the voices of its crew were captured for posterity on a shipboard “black box” which was later recovered by divers. Author Rachel Slade was able to accurately reconstruct the fatal combination of bad luck, outdated technology, and outright hubris that brought this huge ship and its crew to their terrible end. A fascinating account of maritime disaster in the modern age. 

Into the Raging Sea

By Rachel Slade,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Into the Raging Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Perfect Storm and Into Thin Air, Rachel Slade's Into the Raging Sea is a nail-biting account of the sinking of the container ship El Faro, the crew of thirty-three who perished onboard, and the destructive forces of globalisation that put the ship in harm's way.

On 1 October 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the container ship El Faro whole, resulting in one of the worst shipping disasters in decades. No one could fathom how a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting could suddenly…


102 Minutes

By Kevin Flynn, Jim Dwyer,

Book cover of 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

102 Minutes chronicles the critical moments of the 9/11 attack on New York’s World Trade Center, introducing us to characters whose survival, as often as not, turn on simple luck-of-location and early decisions made by them. Authors Dwyer and Flynn know that it’s necessary to occasionally “press the pause button” between chapters of stomach-tightening tension. They understand that the reader simply cannot sustain this story’s relentless pace without some relief. (It’s a technique that I borrowed for Killer Show, interspersing “lesson chapters” about the economics of rock tours, the science of pyrotechnics, and developments in burn medicine with the narrative of the nightclub fire, itself.)

102 Minutes

By Kevin Flynn, Jim Dwyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 102 Minutes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At 8:46 a.m. that morning, fourteen thousand people were inside the World Trade Centre just starting their workdays, but over the next 102 minutes, each would become part of a drama for the ages. Of the millions of words written about this wrenching day, most were told from the outside looking in. "New York Times" reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn draw on hundreds of interviews with rescuers and survivors, thousands of pages of oral histories, and countless phone, e-mail, and emergency radio transcripts to tell the story of September 11 from the inside looking out. Dwyer and Flynn have…


Shadow Divers

By Robert Kurson,

Book cover of Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

Back before extreme sports were a thing, people found personal ways to test themselves. In this case, we have guys from New Jersey who did scuba diving to depths that were the edge of both human physiology and the technology of the time, while exploring sunken wrecks over 200 feet below the surface. For fun. Then they tripped over a lost Nazi submarine. Off the coast of New Jersey.  

It sounds like the worst kind of B-movie nonsense, but it’s true. Two of the men become driven to not only document the submarine’s provenance as an actual German vessel, but to identify it and contact the relatives of the perished soldiers. From wild-men who crawled inside sunken passenger liners for kicks, they became dedicated researchers determined to bring closure to those left behind, regardless of the risk to themselves.   

Shadow Divers

By Robert Kurson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Shadow Divers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller 

In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery–and make history themselves.

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the…


Into Thin Air

By Jon Krakauer,

Book cover of Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

Jon Krakauer lives to tell and write the tale of two misguided climbs up Mount Everest taking place the same weekend in May 1996. He’s there on a magazine assignment that morphs into a powerful book about bravery and also the hazards of hubris. Two world-class mountaineers (New Zealander Rob Hall and American Scott Fischer) take the risk of escorting commercial clients up Everest, some of whom have no business being there beyond the ability to pay about $60,000 apiece. Eight people perish in wicked weather, including Hall and Fischer. Seven others have to be rescued.

I recommend the paperback edition, which has an afterward not included with the hardcover. The book resonates on a personal level. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro on a Fischer-led trip two years before. Scott invited me on this expedition. I couldn’t go, so instead received a chilling phone message from his assistant at 2 o’clock…

Into Thin Air

By Jon Krakauer,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Into Thin Air as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The epic account of the storm on the summit of Mt. Everest that claimed five lives and left countless more—including Krakauer's—in guilt-ridden disarray. 

"A harrowing tale of the perils of high-altitude climbing, a story of bad luck and worse judgment and of heartbreaking heroism." —PEOPLE

A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. 

By writing Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons…


The Wooden World

By N.A.M. Rodger,

Book cover of The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy

This book is always on my desk when I am writing. Nick Rodger is the greatest living authority on the Age of Sail, with an astounding knowledge of his subject from the grand strategy of fleets down to the daily life of individual sailors. The book is a distillation of a lifetime of careful research into a highly-readable, single volume that lets the reader step through a door into a vanished world.

The Wooden World

By N.A.M. Rodger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Wooden World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meticulously researched, Rodger's portrait draws the reader into this fascinatingly complex world with vivid, entertaining characters and full details of life below the decks. The Wooden World provides the most complete history of a navy at any age, and is sure to be an indispensable volume for all fans of Patrick O'Brian, English history, and naval history.


Leviathan

By Eric Jay Dolin,

Book cover of Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America

If you could only read one book on whaling it would be Leviathan. It’s written by an estimable storyteller and experienced researcher who provides a thorough history of the subject that is digestible, authentic, and easy to read in a literate, nontechnical style. Author Dolin has become a friend and mentor whose early review was of great assistance to me in framing the story of how my captains fit into the industry.

Leviathan

By Eric Jay Dolin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leviathan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The epic history of the "iron men in wooden boats" who built an industrial empire through the pursuit of whales. "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme," Herman Melville proclaimed, and this absorbing history demonstrates that few things can capture the sheer danger and desperation of men on the deep sea as dramatically as whaling. Eric Jay Dolin begins his vivid narrative with Captain John Smith's botched whaling expedition to the New World in 1614. He then chronicles the rise of a burgeoning industry-from its brutal struggles during the Revolutionary period to its golden age in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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