Moby Dick

Moby Dick by Herman Melville Book Summary

An Apple Books Classic edition.

Herman Melville’s classic begins with one of the most famous opening lines in world literature: “Call me Ishmael.” Moby Dick was a commercial failure when it was first published in 1851, but during the 20th century, the book’s reputation grew and grew.

The novel features a memorable cast of characters, in particular the ivory-legged Captain Ahab, who lost a limb to the gargantuan white whale named Moby Dick. Now, Ahab’s sole obsession is hunting down the sea creature to exact his revenge. Heedless of warnings, Ahab risks ship and crew in his maniacal pursuit, bearing out Melville’s observation that ”there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men.”

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Moby Dick (Herman Melville) Book Reviews

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- It is a good book to read.5 star


- The one of the best piece of literature out there5 star

The book incapacitates you in its deep knowledge about whale fishery and slowly drives you towards the narrative. The alone boy with a cannibal......the crazy captain Ahab fuming with revenge....the shipmates. A must read book for people who love the seas.

- Good!5 star


- The best novel ever written5 star

Read it a few times.

- The whale5 star

Melvilles prose is so beautiful, it counters the ugly behavior of humans perfectly

- good5 star

i likrcweafkws wal s

- Moby Dick5 star

Read this in sixth grade for fun. Recently watched In the Heart of the Sea and decided I needed to reread it. Loved it just as much this time as the first time.

- The American Whaling Odyssey5 star

This is the perfect example of an American Odyssey: admiring the beauty, magesty and divine power of the whale, only to kill it in the most gruesome, slow and cruel way, in order to light our reading nights.

- Review3 star

I gave it four stars because it was amazing though it was not easy to read it

- A ocean of time has passed5 star

I was assigned this book as a eighth grade student for summer vacation. It felt like a prison sentence. Found the cliff notes and forgot about it until this night. Winters storm, a north easter, crippled the power grid and with some fire light I gave Melville another shot. The second time around was captivating.

- Moby Dick5 star

I re read Moby Dick because I recently read In The Heart Of The Sea and The Wreck Of The Whaleship Essex. Both books were very interesting and I wanted to learn more about the whaleing lifestyle back then. Moby Dick is obviously fiction but Melville described every minute detail of the business…from the construction and rigging of the whaleboats to the technique of hunting and killing a sperm whale using a few flimsy boats manned by only 6 men each. I really did feel like I was there. I probably should have had a dictionary at my side the whole time, but didn’t. It did get a little long through the middle,admittadly. I dont really know about the good and evil stuff;thats not why I read it. Melville is a master at describing scenes and drama. I recommend reading it.

- Moby Doom3 star

Ok, I've read many classics in my life and liked some, reveled in some, and loathed a few. I'm afraid this one falls into the third category. Yes, there are great lines in the book. Yes, it is Herman Melville's magnum opus. Yes, I am probably a philistine for my opinion. I don't care. I still loathed it. The story of one mans obsessive need to destroy the creature that bit his leg off was, to me, full of "sound and fury, signifying nothing". Read it because you should. Enjoy it if you like. Suffer through it, so I'm not alone in my pain. If I lived near New York, I would scrawl rude words on old Hermans' headstone. It's a classic. With one of the best lines ever written, "From hells' heart, I stab at thee, for hates sake, I spit my last breath at thee..", Herman harpoons the reader. Unfortunately, I had to read almost two thousand pages to get to that line and, in the end, come to grips with the fact it was screamed at a whale. Really, Herman???

- Compelling Book!4 star

I never had actually read this book though of course I knew the story. The writing is superb and although much of the language is pertinent to the time period, I enjoyed learning the meaning of many words we no longer use in modern conversation.

- Moby Dick! A great book, well spoken!5 star

Loved this - most excellently read. Thank You.

- Moby Dick5 star

I didn't read the book for a while. I just skimmed it. So I hated it. 😴👍

- Moby Dick5 star

Writers, the best writers,recreate what is real and essential in men's souls. Mellvile's tale of the megalomaniacal Ahab and his ill-fated search for vengeance impels the reader headlong into this timeless tale of men's strivings, their victories, their defeats. Hubris is as the maelstrom, concentric to the ego, then gone as the impetus of the whirlpool slowly subsides, as the heart stills its beating.

- Meh... Classic but boring1 star

I am an avid reader and have read many, MANY good books. This is not one of them. Although it is a classic, it is boring. My advice is not to read it. However, you will probably be forced to anyway, as it is a requirement in the school curriculum.

- The Whale5 star

As great as it was when I first read it 45 years ago.

- Classic4 star

I'm not sure what impelled me to pick this book up other than my enjoyment of classical literature. Moby Dick is a famed story. I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning. Melville has a wide-ranging writing style that breathes life into settings and characters. One minute, the narrator is poetic, almost to a fault, the next, he's educating the reader at length on biological and historical subjects, and in a very scientific manner. It's apparent early on that Melville harbored a sincere and authentic love for the subject of whales and whaling. It's unbelievable what whalers were once subjected to and Moby Dick offers invaluable historical insight into the bygone culture. As the story drags on, it becomes stale and tedious. There's way too much unnecessary symbolism and minute detail. It seems as though Melville was compensated by the page. The ending was a huge disappointment for me, although I won't spoil it for anyone. Despite how I felt at the onset of reading, I would not recommend this book to anybody. I would even be so bold to say as it doesn't deserve its lofty pedestal in American literature or literature at large. Melville simply wastes too much paper and attention. Edit: In the weeks after reading this book, I've been haunted by the story (in a good way). The more I talk about it and explain it, the more I realize I'm in love with it. Though the ending left me underwhelmed, the overall experience has left an indelible impression on me. Forget what I said about Moby Dick not being a classic; it most definitely is. I still talk about it and probably always will.

- Weak story-telling, but nice book if you like whales3 star

The story of Ahab's all-consuming vengeance against Moby Dick is not very engaging. However, if you like whales and enjoy reading about them in a marine biology context, then you might get something out of this book.

- Moby Dick-Yikes1 star

Took two years----excruciating!!! Read at your own risk.

- Moby Dick or, The White Whale3 star

Oh my, what a long and laborious read. Page after page of details and rabbit trails. Word in use then that are no more in modern dictionaries. Confusing at times. Facinating at times. Yet, always reading on for the violent end all know is coming. Not a book for the beach or bed. Rather a challenge for the stout of heart or stubborn of heart I know not.

- Moby Dick3 star

The language was a constant struggle. I needed to use the dictionary continuously. It was like reading a book in another language. I did not "enjoy" it, but I "conquered" it. 😊

- Worth the Effort!5 star

It took me quite a while to read this masterpiece. I don't know if I could have read it without e-books and the ability to look up the meaning of a word instantly through iBook. (I need to know what words mean!) It's an amazing book in so many ways. I'm not a literary critic but I did appreciate the various styles certain sections were written in and the incredible amount of character development, including Moby Dick! There's quite a lot of stuff to chew on when it comes to Ahab, Starbuck, Ishmael and what we can learn from them.

- Read it, or else!5 star

Good lord. To all you mental midgets who deem this work to be trash or worthless, you are not worthy to be counted among the human race. Go get drowned by the whale, you sucking suckers!

- The Best Book Ever Written5 star

Melville wrote the whole of human struggle past, present, and future into this book. All of our works will sink into oblivion. Knowing this, we can only focus on loving each other and soothing the wound that is the knowledge of our mortality.

- D5 star


- Moby dick5 star


- Couldn't finish, but well written4 star

Probably one of the best written books I've ever read. That said, it seems to drag on forever at times to the point that I lost interest. The story itself is very good, but there is a lot of irrelevent information that cuts into the it. For example, Melville goes on and on in describing different types of whales, and on and on even more in describing the white whale. I understand that at the time this was written any extra reading was considered a bonus, but for me I just wanted to scream "I get the point! The whale is big and white!" I may try to read it again in the future, but for now I'm happy with at least saying I tried.

- Artistry over storyline5 star

The story is of slight concern compared to use of language, observation, philosophy, and comparison found within this incredible lexicon of metaphor. Where else, short of Shakespeare, is such mind-candy to be found? "Delightful inducements to embark, fine chance for promotion, it seems--aye, a stove boat will make me an immortal by brevet. Yes, there is death in this business of whaling--a speechlessly quick chaotic bundling of a man into Eternity. But what then? Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death, Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking tha thick water the thinnest of air. Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me. And therefore three cheers for Nantucket; and come a stove boat and stove body when they will, for stove my soul, Jove himself cannot." "Yonder, by the ever brimming goblet's rim the warm waves blushed like wine." "Though nominally included in the census of Christendom, he was still alien to it. He lived in the world, as the last of the grisly bears lived in settled Missouri. And when spring and summer had departed, that wild Logan of the woods, burying himself in the hollow of a tree, lived out the winter there, sucking his own paws, so, in his inclement, howling old age, Ahab's soul, shut up in the caved trunk of his body, there fed upon the sullen paws of its gloom!"

- Moby Dick3 star

I read this book after 25 years of not reading it in high school. It was sort of a bucket list thing to do. I'm glad I read it, but of 135 chapters, I really only liked about ten of them. The rest were irrelevant to the action of the book. They were descriptive and supplementary, but it was too much fluff. No one needs a whole chapter on chowder. I'm off to read The Scarlet Letter now.

- Moby Dick5 star

No wonder this is widely recognized by so many as one of the greatest books ever written! Extraordinary philosophical and technical insight into the struggle between man and animal in their mutual dance of survival.

- Moby Dick5 star

Man this book is good except my two little kids now think dick means whale cuz I told them the name and what it was about :)

- Like being on a voyage4 star

It's a loong book and I do not recommend it to everyone. You must be ready to hear the musings regarding the whale and his anatomy, size and role in history. On the other hand, the author goes through pains to help the reader understand the detail of the trade of whaling and to elevate the trade to a noble pursuit. All in all, when you have finished, you will feel as a member of the crew.

- Book review1 star

Crapy book has alot of adds in the front of it what a disgrace

- worst book ever1 star

the worst book ever so is the movie hated it! i watched the movie in high school and i was just disgusted with the killing whales. so not worth anything in my opinon.......

- Amazing adventure3 star

I like adventures and this is a good one. I began reading this book a long time ago. I was discouraged by it's narration of small details. I enjoyed reading Victor Hugo's Les Miserables which had similar wanderings about small details like sewers and churches. Similarly but monotonously, Moby Dick contained chapters about " a cetacean skeletal system" and "reasons why to talk about a skeletal system" and how the narrator knows about said system - that gives you an idea. Not to complain about Melville's writing, this story is a great one and I encourage you to read it for it's classic status and deeper meaning and significance.

- Moby Dick5 star

Other than Shakespeare, there is no writing in English as true and magnificent as Moby Dick. An astonishing work of genius.

- Moby Dick5 star

Easy to read classic with iconoclastic idiom.

- Oh the classics5 star

In many cases, I believe we view the classics as literary perfection. In the case of Moby Dick, through reading it, you assume the belief that, though this great literary piece, slight flaws make the novel better and more wholesome. This is a must read and I will, when time allows, probably re-read it.

- Classic5 star

Why would you give this one star, dude? Just because youre too lazy to read a classic piece of literature doesn't make it trash. If you're mad about having to read this for English, don't express it by giving the book a bad review

- Mandatory read for English class1 star

This book is absolutely horrible. Just a big piece of trash and a waste of time.

- Moby-Dick5 star

Let me address the cetology (whale anatomy) chapters. When Melville wrote and published this in the mid-nineteenth century, people actually wanted that information. I promise you that those chapters are still important for understanding the work as a whole. Look at how he describes the whales. Those descriptions add to the power of Moby Dick, the whale. You'll never find a more electric figure in American literature than Ahab. Enjoy the ride. Oh, and heed the words of Bildad: Ahab has his humanities.

- Reader5 star

Any other literature books you recommend?

- I Read It..5 star

I first read this book in middle school by choice. Had a great time with it.

- Fantastic5 star

Definitely the best book I have ever read. Extremely hard to read though. There are lots of parts that are immensely hard to comprehend and detailed about whales and whaling, but the story pockets are the most exhilarating I have ever come across.

- Moby Dick5 star

Spectacular! This is one of the books I avoided reading in high school and college, thinking it would be as dry as dust. Instead I come to find that it is a page-turner;I couldn't put it down, all 3,170 pages of it. Melville spins a suspenseful tale full of fascinating characters, rich in historical detail, and wrought with masterful craftsmanship. I highly recommend this book!

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- Boring to tears1 star

I always wanted to use be able to say that I’ve read Moby Dick, but it was just dragging on and on. If you want to know the story however, go to sparknotes summary of it. I myself am not from sparknotes, but, i would just rather read that than the whole entire book.

- Wow5 star

I give it 10 out of 10

- Excellent5 star

Just a pure classic masterpiece, everyone should read,

- Moby dick or the whale4 star

It's a very good and interesting book but very complicated.

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5 star

@byers90: A rite of passage for any novelist in the year 2020 is giving an interview to the guardian about how you haven’t read Moby Dic…

5 star

Was Moby Dick an early example of white saviour syndrome in literature? He certainly saved that book.

5 star

@byers90: A rite of passage for any novelist in the year 2020 is giving an interview to the guardian about how you haven’t read Moby Dic…

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@BarrySkellern: After two weeks off, Dick Moby will return at 10pm tonight UK time, LIVE on Twitch. (There may be adverts, for which I c…

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@byers90: A rite of passage for any novelist in the year 2020 is giving an interview to the guardian about how you haven’t read Moby Dic…

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@petersavodnik I'm not a professional novelist and I've read Moby Dick - I learned more about whale blubber than I…

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@in_a_dry_season what I've learned on this website is you have to read Moby-Dick to understand Capital

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#Perspectivas 📑 | Moby Dick y el lado oscuro de la Luna 🌑. @4ruedasunmorral | ✍️:

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@byers90: A rite of passage for any novelist in the year 2020 is giving an interview to the guardian about how you haven’t read Moby Dic…

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How can one write a serious novel without having read Moby Dick?

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@alfabrk I think that contemporary literature speaks much less about money compared to the European 19thC. I do not…

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@AfroSenju: Who wants a PS5?👀

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@byers90: A rite of passage for any novelist in the year 2020 is giving an interview to the guardian about how you haven’t read Moby Dic…

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@byers90: A rite of passage for any novelist in the year 2020 is giving an interview to the guardian about how you haven’t read Moby Dic…

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@BrankoMilan Is money so unimportant to all other spheres of human activity that it remains unrecorded by literatur…

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