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History Makers: A Conversation
 
An Interview with
Nathaniel Philbrick
Click here to download this chapter as a PDF
VALERIE PALEY
 

     Nathaniel philbrick is probably best known for his National Book Award-winning volume In the Heart of the Sea (2001), which established the author as a popular maritime historian and storyteller. Indeed, Philbrick’s involvement with the sea is literal as well as literary: as a youth he learned to sail on a man-made lake near Pittsburgh, and then raced sailboats competitively while an undergraduate at Brown University. Eventually he settled on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, where he is a year-round resident.
     The son of an academic with a specialty in American maritime literature, Philbrick at first embarked on the same path, but ultimately left the academy for journalism and honed his writing skills at the magazine Sailing World. Most of his books are maritime-focused, complementing his efforts in helping to establish the Egan Maritime Institute, as well as a community sailing initiative, both on Nantucket. His recent and highly acclaimed book, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War (2006), begins at sea, and then explores the often-overlooked English- Native interactions that occurred after the more well-known contact