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Books that Shaped Work in America

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Title    Author    Year    Contributors
 Moby Dick

Recommended by:

  • Public Submission

What Others are Saying

Moby Dick

Author: Herman Melville

Year Published: 1851

What Others are Saying:

  • This book gives insight into the nineteenth century whaling industry, life aboard a whaling ship, and rather encyclopedic information on whales.
  • Two reasons:  first and most obvious is that Melville chronicled the whaling industry in this country during the 19th century like no one else.  He describes in great detail the workers, the work culture, the mechanics, and the terrors and glories of whaling.    Second and perhaps more important, Melville investigated man's absurd struggle against a cold, uncaring, hostile universe through the story of Ahab risking life and livelihood of himself and his crew to get revenge on the whale that took his leg.  See chapter 36.
  • I hope others have recommended this great book.   While most people tend to read it as a political or psychological allegory or an American Faust, it is in fact a great book about work, perhaps the greatest.   How is a whaling voyage financed, how are the whales hunted, butchered, their flesh turned into the oil that lit the lamps of a new nation?   What are the attitudes of the men to their work and its danger and, finally, to the monomaniacal boss who rules their lives?
  • Melville, perhaps more than any other American author, gets at detail.  As well, his use of the American English language--I believe is second to none.  His story of whaling and of course of Ahab, and of what is behind the a story that cannot be exempt from this list. 

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