Moby Dick, or the Whale

Read by Stewart Wills

(4.3 stars; 1149 reviews)

Few things, even in literature, can really be said to be unique — but Moby Dick is truly unlike anything written before or since. The novel is nominally about the obsessive hunt by the crazed Captain Ahab of the book’s eponymous white whale. But interspersed in that story are digressions, paradoxes, philosophical riffs on whaling and life, and a display of techniques so advanced for its time that some have referred to the 1851 Moby Dick as the first “modern” novel. (Summary by Stewart Wills)

(24 hr 37 min)


Chapter 000: Etymology and Extracts 29:13 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 001-002 23:56 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 003 34:53 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 004-007 27:10 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 008-009 29:36 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 010-012 19:28 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 013-015 23:08 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 016 35:18 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 017-021 42:49 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 022-025 27:25 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 026-027 19:20 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 028-031 25:00 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 032 36:58 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 033-035 38:11 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 036-040 42:17 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 041 26:29 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 042-044 43:36 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 045-047 37:09 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 048-050 38:29 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 051-053 27:05 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 054 54:14 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 055-058 37:09 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 059-063 38:45 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 064-067 37:05 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 068-071 34:21 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 072-073 24:34 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 074-077 30:27 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 078-080 24:03 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 081-082 36:45 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 083-086 37:38 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 087-088 40:31 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 089-091 33:56 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 092-096 42:47 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 097-100 43:25 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 101-104 40:03 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 105-108 37:07 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 109-113 41:00 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 114-118 25:57 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 119-123 32:43 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 124-127 32:40 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 128-132 42:23 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 133 24:58 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 134 22:48 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 135 and Epilogue 35:01 Read by Stewart Wills


A great reading

(5 stars)

I'd wanted to read Moby Dick for a long time but had always felt intimidated by its reputation. Listening to a couple of hours of this per day on my commute then following up on bits here and there on my Kindle helped me get over they and now I absolutely love the book. I'd tried previously with the Big Read podcast (where each chapter of Moby Dick is read by a different famous person), but found it too distracting. The reader of this book did a flawless job and I dread to think how many takes he did of each chapter. He gives all of the characters their own voice and I especially loved the way he did Stubb. I'd like to buy this man a drink for all his efforts!

A Superbly Read Masterpiece

(5 stars)

What a remarkable reading of a dense and unfriendly book! Moby Dick is not seemingly a book that would lend itself well to audio form, as it is such a long and winding story. The reader is completely captivating though, and tells the story beautifully. The recording is high quality across all 100+ chapters and even in those long digressions Melville is so fond of, his voice remains clear and unfaltering. I particularly enjoyed the different voices he used for the characters - dramatic enough that it was obvious who was speaking but not cartoonish and overwrought, as is often the case with so many audiobooks. An excellent job. Speaking as someone who vastly prefers reading to listening to audiobooks this is still how I would recommend unfamiliar readers engage with Moby Dick!

Great Book, Well Read

(5 stars)

I thoroughly enjoyed Moby Dick, read very well here by Stewart Wills. All my life I've heard people complain that half or more of Moby Dick is taken up with endless chapters devoted to boring details on whaling, only of interest to the historian of that trade as practiced a century ago, but Wills' reading brings the whole book alive, even and perhaps especially these chapters, by giving each character a distinct voice and showing thereby that these divagations on whaling are not necessarily Herman Melville talking but the narrator Ishmael, and therefore help to develop his character and voice. Some books are wasted on high schoolers; I've had Moby Dick on my to-read list for 30 years, and it was worth the wait.

good, different from what I expected

(4 stars)

In general I knew what Moby Dick was about: Ahab and his obsession. But I had no idea it was also full of scientific whale backgrounds, details of ships and voyage customs. I also didn't realize it was so philosophical and poetic. I can see how a teenager forced to read it for the sake of a literature class or a person looking for an action adventure book might not enjoy it. Its much more than only action and adventure, and it's also more than required reading in an English lit class. I enjoyed it although I felt the many chapters of various scientific and character explanations interrupted the momentum building up to the final confrontation. Then when the finale was there it was so quickly told and then the book was over. Having had such detailed introductions to everyone and everything it almost seemed rushed. Thats too bad, but I guess thats how an end at sea is. The reading was excellent and I will look for other books read by Stewart Wills

(5 stars)

Its unbearable to me to think that somebody would put the time in to record a book so others can listen, and some rude person would have the nerve to say something bad about the way it was read. If you don't like the easy a book is read that's fine, its not always going to be the way you think it should be done. Just move on and keep it to yourself. Or, do the book yourself, mabye then you will see how hard it is. This reader is one of the best iv ever heard. But when iv heard readers that I didn't connect to, I seen post about how great they were. So I moved on, and said good job. Thanks for taking the time.

5 stars for the reader, 3 stars for the book.

(4 stars)

The book itself is looooong (135 freaking chapters PLUS an epilogue!) and the 3:1 of expository chapters are dry and sometimes hard to get through. The author Herman Melville seems like he couldn't decide whether he was writing a novel or a textbook, and judging by this book I strongly suspect he had ADD. Not to mention the sometimes objectionable content (racism and whaling, but this was 1851). BUT... The reading itself is incredibly fluid. Pacing, tone, fluency, pronunciation, accents (mostly) are all excellent, and I LOVE all of the character voices (the reader provides a distinctly different/unique one for EACH)! The fact that I am now 2/3 through the book is completely thanks to the EXCELLENT reader, Stewart Wills. Kudos! :-)

Well read, but what a let down

(2 stars)

First off if you know you like the story Moby Dick you should download this. It is well read and I think captures the story. Also, this review is for the common reader not a literary critic. However, If you have always heard about how great Moby Dick is but never read it, save yourself the time. Moby Dick is the kind of book that rambles through a massive string of jarring storytelling shifts to the point of being utterly frustrating. As the story progresses you soon discover that about every other chapter does nothing to advance the plot but is rather a complete change of subject to some highly detailed minutia that while loosely tied to the book add nothing to the story. It is like a Kevin Costner movie but worse. After I finished the book, which was a complete let down, I was left wondering how in the world Melville became known as a master. Perhaps I just don't get 20 century literature.

Meandering, disordered lectures with bits of story

(2 stars)

Listening to this book is like being stuck on an elevator (for weeks) with a hyper-talkative idiot savant with ADD and an obsession with whales. I spent every summer of my youth in Nantucket's whaling museums and thought I knew a thing or two. Melville certainly puts me to shame. From the lectures in this book, I have learned: The Several Substances Within a Whale's Skull: Their Appearance, Texture and Uses and Methods of Collection; Complete Sperm Whale Skeletons in Private Collections: with Addresses, Visiting Hours and Prices of Admission; Whales as Depicted in Both High and Low Art: A Critique by the Author; Specie-Specific Techniques in Whaling, With Minute Instructions; Fashioning Necessary Tools on a Whaling Ship, with Minute Instructions; The Symbology of the Color White: A Multicultural Review; A History of Whaling Around the World: From Its Beginning to the Present Day; In Passionate Defense of Whaling, a Proud and Noble Industry: with Myriad Arguments; A Complete Examination of the Spine of the Sperm Whale, with Exact Measurements of the Vertebrae; Phrenology and Facial Expressions of the Sperm Whale; Whales in Historical Literature...shall I go on? Because Melville sure does. I suspect Melville meant to write a textbook on whaling, and his publisher balked and insisted on a rollicking sea adventure. So Melville just squeezed it in. As I think another reviewer said, it can easily lose fifty chapters without the slightest harm to the story about Ishmael and Ahab. Which is interesting, but hidden throughout the book in bits and pieces- the price for getting to the next part of the story seems high. (I want a new paragraph here, but my iPad won't let me have one.) To other reviewers, a polite request: please don't critique other people's reviews (of books or of readers) or insult them for disagreeing with you about a book. It's unpleasant to read and is not helpful or informative, which is the point of these reviews. I hope my review has been both. Thank you.