It’s a Whale of a Tale
by Jill Tewsley
When Nat Philbrick came to Traverse City in May of 2013, we hoped that we might be able to take the Nantucket resident for a sail. His visit came a bit too early in May and was plagued with chilly weather and rain. The trip was not Philbrick’s first to northern Michigan. His son had been a summer student at Interlochen Arts Academy a few years earlier. Because a sail was out of the question, a pre-event reception at the Maritime Heritage Alliance, whose motto is “Where History Sets Sail,” seemed only fitting. Philbrick enjoyed mingling with fifty guests before taking the City Opera House stage for his NWS event.
Although in town to discuss his book, Bunker Hill, about the famous battle during the American Revolution, talk about his other books was inevitable. Philbrick’s Mayflower was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for History and The Last Stand was named a New York Times Notable book. It was his fascination with a great white whale that won him countless recognition and that has him in the spotlight once again. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, which recounts a true story that served as Melville’s inspiration for Moby-Dick, won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and is set to release on March 13, 2015 as a major motion picture directed by Ron Howard. Watch a trailer