File under "not your father's Moby Dick"
In The Heart of the Sea by Philbrick is his rigourously researched and detailed account of whaling in the 19thC. It elaborates and continues the true story that inspired and ends in Moby Dick. For those just joining, Herman Melville's Moby Dick was a re-imaging of an actual event, the loss of the whaleship Essex. -Reading a few pages.
For more on the subject Philbrick has another book, Why Read Moby Dick? that not only details Melville and the creation of his most famous work but also posits that MD sits as a kind of American "bible". For EVEN MORE MD insight, read the site Power Moby Dick that goes through the text line by line. Pretty great.