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The Real Hateful Whale that Haunted Melville

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The Real Hateful Whale that Haunted Melville

Short | 03:28

At the age of 22, Herman Melville joined a whale ship bound for the South Pacific. Aboard, he's lent a copy of "Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex," a true story about a vengeful whale that will capture his imagination.

More About This show

Herman Melville's epic ocean adventure "Moby Dick" is an American masterpiece. But was this stirring tale of violence and revenge simply an allegory, or were there real giants of the deep deliberately attacking whaling ships? With the help of centuries old witness accounts and modern day science, we explain how the legend of the great white whale came to be. Then we determine if the multiple sperm whale assaults on ships in the 19th century were indeed premeditated and coordinated.

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