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‘Look, look, what ails the ship, she is upsetting’

Peter Nichols: The ship ‘Essex’, 8 March 2001

The Loss of the Ship ‘Essex’, Sunk by a Whale 
by Thomas Nickerson and Owen Chase, edited by Nathaniel Philbrick and Thomas Philbrick et al.
Penguin, 231 pp., £7.99, June 2000, 0 14 043796 7
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... is a collection of first and second-hand accounts, edited by Nathaniel Philbrick, with his father Thomas. Owen Chase’s narrative (which Philbrick and others before him, including Melville, have presumed was ghost-written) has long been the main source of the Essex story, but here it is bolstered by the ‘Desultory Sketches’ of ...

A Place for Hype

Edward Tenner: Old Technology, 10 May 2007

The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 
by David Edgerton.
Profile, 270 pp., £18.99, January 2007, 978 1 86197 296 5
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... An adequately supported project may fail, but an overlooked one will not succeed. According to the Thomas Theorem popularised by Robert Merton: ‘If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.’ David Edgerton’s The Shock of the Old, with its ironic echoes of bestsellers by Robert Hughes and Alvin Toffler, is not an attack on ...

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