Read Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890 by Nathaniel Philbrick Free Online
Book Title: Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890|
The author of the book: Nathaniel Philbrick
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: April 1st 2011
ISBN 13: 9781101528549
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 37.88 MB
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Reader ratings: 5.1
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This short (250 or so pages) book about the history of Nantucket Island was journalist Nathaniel Philbrick's first history book, and it proved to be such a success that he went on to write a handful of others, most of which I have read. In fact, one of the episodes of this book about Nantucket became a full-fledged Philbrick narrative (and then a movie) called "Heart of the Sea," which described a disastrous whaling journey in the early 19th century that originated on the island. "Away Off Shore" begins its story in an era when the island was inhabited by natives, whose word for "away off shore" gave the island its name. The book describes the arrival of its first white settlers in the mid-17th century and examines the evolution of the relationship between the two early groups of inhabitants. Obviously, the emergence of the whaling industry is front and center of the story of the island, and the reader emerges with a pretty good overview of the history of this once essential industry and the way that it shaped the fortunes of Nantucket. The unique religious nature of the island's white inhabitants (literally an island of Quakers in the sea of New England Puritans) is discussed, as well as the characteristics of the island's social system and its tenuous economic position during the wars with Great Britain. Sadly, for the island and its inhabitants, their star was in decline by the mid-19th century. A tremendous fire destroyed much of the harbor town, the California Gold Rush took away many of its young men and its ships, and the construction of larger ocean-going ships meant that the island's sandbar-guarded harbor was no longer accessible to many of the newest vessels. (And all of these things took place before the Rockefeller-led petroleum boom of the post-Civil War era meant that a much cheaper fuel than whale oil was readily available.) In the end, the island took a turn down what was probably the only route left to it: tourism. Philbrick makes use of a lot of primary source materials left behind by the island's early inhabitants, and my one complaint is that the availability of these materials at times is what drives the narrative. We learn a lot about some figures, not necessarily based on their centrality to Nantucket's story, but rather because their individual story is available. But this is a minor complaint about an otherwise interesting and fast-moving narrative.
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Read information about the authorPhilbrick was Brown’s first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978; that year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI; today he and his wife Melissa sail their Beetle Cat Clio and their Tiffany Jane 34 Marie-J in the waters surrounding Nantucket Island.
After grad school, Philbrick worked for four years at Sailing World magazine; was a freelancer for a number of years, during which time he wrote/edited several sailing books, including Yaahting: A Parody (1984), for which he was the editor-in-chief; during this time he was also the primary caregiver for his two children. After moving to Nantucket in 1986, he became interested in the history of the island and wrote Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People. He was offered the opportunity to start the Egan Maritime Institute in 1995, and in 2000 he published In the Heart of the Sea, followed by Sea of Glory, in 2003, and Mayflower. He is presently at work on a book about the Battle of Little Big Horn.
Mayflower was a finalist for both the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History and the Los Angeles Times Book Award and was winner of the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction. In the Heart of the Sea won the National Book Award for nonfiction; Revenge of the Whale won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; Sea of Glory won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. Philbrick has also received the Byrne Waterman Award from the Kendall Whaling Museum, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for distinguished service from the USS Constitution Museum, the Nathaniel Bowditch Award from the American Merchant Marine Museum, the William Bradford Award from the Pilgrim Society, the Boston History Award from the Bostonian Society, and the New England Book Award from the New England Independent Booksellers Association.
from his website