No finer book about the 19th century whaling industry has ever been written. There are exciting passages about the flensing of whales, gut-wrenching tales of the boiling of whale blubber, and don't even get me started on the whole chapter about the absurdities of mid-19th century financial regulations regarding the opening of new whaling markets to operators of unlicensed leviathan hunters.Oh, and somewhere in there you'll find a few sentences about a psychopathic captain, rendered insane by the loss of his leg, cannibals, and moby-dicks. (The most dangerous and thrilling of dicks.)Warning: this novel features an unreliable narrator. I mean, he won't even tell you his real name, instead, opening the book with the imperative: "Call me Ishmael."