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Awards and Reviews for Leviathan:


Selected as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by The Los Angeles TimesThe Boston Globe, and The Providence Journal


Chosen by's editors as one of the 10 best history books of 2007.


Eric Jay Dolin was awarded the 23rd annual (2007) L. Byrne Waterman Award, by the New Bedford Whaling Museum, for outstanding contributions to whaling research and history, for the publication of Leviathan.

“Editor’s Choice” selection by the New York Times Book Review


Named an Honors Book in nonfiction for the 8th annual Massachusetts Book Awards (2008-2009).


Won the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History, given by the North American Society for Oceanic History.


Awarded silver medal for history in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (2008).


"Engrossing account . . . at once grand and quirky, entertaining and informative." Publisher's Weekly  -- Starred Review


"The best history of American whaling to come along in a generation" Nathaniel Philbrick -- Author of In The Heart of the Sea & Mayflower


"I thought I learned everything I needed to know about whaling from Melville, but I was wrong. Eric Jay Dolin's Leviathan exposes the rise and fall of the industry inspired by the great beasts of the deep . . . The excitement of the stories in this magnificently researched saga build and build — until crude oil replaces whale oil, and the copper-sheathed planking from the hulls of old ships gets sold for novelty firewood. I read every word." Dava Sobel -- Author of Longitude & Galileo's Daughter


"In the 18th century, whaling became America's first major industry and in the mid-19th one of its largest. Today, except for some Alaska natives who hunt by traditional means, it has vanished. But the whaling business left behind a singularly rich history -- one abrim with adventure, danger and profit -- of men who went down to the sea in ships to hunt the mightiest creatures who ever lived. That story is told, and told very well indeed, by Eric Jay Dolin's Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America . . . Mr. Dolin handles this long, complex tale with great skill, both as a historian and as a writer (the bibliography and illustrations are splendid too). Thanks to his firm command of the tale's narrative drive, Leviathan is thoroughly engaging even as American whaling is becalmed in the 20th century, a ghost of a once great American industry, perhaps the most romantic in the country's business history." John Steele Gordon  -- The Wall Street Journal


"Leviathan is an exhaustive, richly detailed history of industrial American whaling. . . . Dolin succeeds admirably at what he sets out to do: tell the story of one of the strangest industries in American history." Bruce Barcott -- New York Times, Sunday Book Review


"A pleasantly anecdotal history of American whaling so comprehensive that he seems to have harpooned at least one fact from every cetacean text ever printed. Leviathan is a gentle book about a brutal industry." Caleb Crain -- The New Yorker


"Dolin's account tracks the history of the industry with unflagging insight. And the Marblehead writer mixes his authoritative research with a whale-oil-smooth style that would satisfy Melville and Jonah alike." Boston Magazine


"Eric Jay Dolin's lively and thorough history spans the rise, golden age, and decline of what was once one of New England's distinctive industries. . . . Dolin is well suited to sorting out the fish tales and the sometimes ugly truth of a violent, pressure-filled venture. He sticks mainly to the facts, providing fascinating stories when the evidence allows. And they allow often enough. . . . Dolin chose to take on the subject in its broadest form, and if he leaves us wanting more, that is what good history does." David Waldstreicher -- The Boston Globe


". . . perfect summer reading, especially if you happen to be spending the summer by the sea, or on it." Adam Kirsch -- The New York Sun


"Leviathan will appeal most to history buffs and ocean lovers. . . . Exotic locations, colorful characters, melodrama and gore aplenty, but also food for thought." Debby Applegate -- Los Angeles Times


"Dolin's writing style is entertaining and involving. His account of the complex history of the whaling industry is exceptional and highly recommended. . . . Leviathan is an excellent one-volume of the age of whaling in America." Mark J. Palmer -- Earth Island Journal


"It is rare that a factual book can answer pretty much every question one could pose about its subject and still leave the reader keenly aware of its abiding mystery. . . . Dolin’s book is the first readable modern account of one of American history’s great themes. Peppered with true tales of human adventure, its enduring hero nevertheless remains the inscrutable Leviathan himself." Sarah Burton -- The Spectator (UK)


"An excellent overview of the history of whaling . . . The book is thoroughly researched and loaded with footnotes that consistently deliver just the kind of supplementation for which the reader yearns. . . . The quality of the writing, copy editing, and organizational coherence of the book are excellent. . . . For colleagues who would like a serious, comprehensive, yet engaging and readable introduction to a subject that has had a profound impact on many of the animal populations that we study and care about, Dolin’s offering is a good choice." Randall R. Reeves -- Marine Mammal Science


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