Wreck of the Whale Ship Essex -- The Extraordinary and Distressing Memoir that Inspired Herman Melville's Moby Dick by Owen Chase, Introduction by Gilbert King, Zenith Press '15, in oversized format on glossy stock, $35, 195 pages, ASIN #076034812X. Index, photo credits, supplement, scores of color glossy images, some of them full-page.
"July of 1852, a 32-year-old novelist named Herman Melville had high hopes for his new novel, Moby-Dick; or, /The Whale, despite the book's mixed reviews and tepid sales," writes journalist Gilbert King in his Introduction. "That month he took a steamer to Nantucket for his first visit to the Massachusetts island, home port of his novel's mythic protagonist, Captain Ahab, and his ship, the Pequod. Like a tourist, Melville met local dignitaries, dined out, and took in the sights of the village he had previously only imagined.
"And on his last day on Nantucket, he met the broken-down 60 year-old man who had captained the Essex, the ship that had been attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in an 1820 incident that had inspired Melville's novel. Captain George Pollard, Jr. was just 29 years old when the Essex went down, and he survived and returned to Nantucket to captain a second whaling ship, Two Brothers.
"But when that ship wrecked on a coral reef two years later, the captain was marked as unlucky at sea -- a 'Jonah' -- and no owner would trust a ship to him again. Pollard lived out his remaining years on land, as the village night watchman."
Author Owen Chase was first mate of the whale ship Essex when it was struck and sunk by a sperm whale on Nov. 20, 1820. Chase published his tale, originally titled Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex, in 1821, and the story would inspire Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick.
Beale Street Dynasty -- Sex, Song, and the Struggle for the Soul of Memphis by Preston Lauterbach, Norton '15, $26.95, 352 pages, ASIN #0393082571. Index, notes, grouping of b&w glossy images.
In his review of Beale Street Dynasty, acclaimed author Hampton Sides writes, "Lauterbach gives us Beale in its heyday -- the chitlin' joints, the rough-and-tumble politics, the fecund music-- and deftly paints a portrait of the one improbable millionaire who towered over this vibrant world. Read Beale Street Dynasty and you begin to feel like you're communing with ghosts."
From the dust jacket:
"Following the Civil War, Beale Street in Memphis, TN, thrived as a cauldron of sex and song, violence and passion. But out of his turmoil emerged a center of black progress, optimism, and cultural ferment. Preston Lauterbach tells this vivid, fascinating story through the multi-generational saga of a family whose ambition, race pride, and moral complexity indelibly shaped the city that would loom so large in American life.
"Robert Church, who would become 'the South's first black millionaire,' was a mulatto slave owned by his white father. Having survived a deadly race riot in 1866, Church constructed an empire of vice in the booming river town. He made a fortune with saloons, gambling, and -- shockingly -- white prostitution. But he also nurtured the militant journalism of Ida B. Wells and helped revolutionize American music through the work of composer W.C. Handy, the man who claimed to have invented the blues."
Author Preston Lauterbach's first book, The Chitlin' Circuit: And the Road to Rock 'n' Roll was named the best book of the year by the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and NPR. He lives in Virginia.
It's What I Do -- A Photographer's Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario, Penguin Press '15 on glossy stock, $29.95, 357 pages, ASIN #159420537X. Index, dozens of color glossy photos, some full-page.
"In the perfect light of a crystal-clear morning, I stood outside a putty-colored cement hospital near Ajdabiya, a small city on Libya's northern coast, more than 500 miles east of Tripoli," writes author Lynsey Addario in her new book. "Several other journalists and I were looking at a car that had been hit during a morning air strike.
"Its back window had been blown out, and human remains were splattered all over the backseat. There was part of a brain on the passenger seat; shards of skull were embedded in the rear parcel shelf. Hospital employees in white medical uniforms carefully picked up the pieces and placed them in a bag. I picked up my camera to shoot what I had shot so many times before, then put it back down, sweeping aside to let the other photographers have their turn. I couldn't do it that day.
"It was March 20ll, the beginning of the Arab Spring. After Tunisia and Egypt erupted into unexpectedly euphoric and triumphant revolutions against their longtime dictators -- millions of ordinary people shouting and dancing in the streets in celebration of their newfound freedom -- Libyans revolted against their own homegrown tyrant, Muammar el-Qaddafi. He had been in power for more than 40 years, funding terrorist groups across the world while he tortured, killed, and disappeared his fellow Libyans. Qaddafi was a maniac."
Author Lynsey Addario is an American photojournalist whose work appears regularly in The New York Times, National Geographic, and Time magazine. Among numerous awards, she has received the MacArthur Genius Grant and the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting.