Really an incredible book, not just for the story, which, like A Christmas Carol, we've all probably heard or at least vaguely know about its ending, but for it intricate details about whaling, the hardships and the techniques. Melville provides a amateur's POV in the narrator ("Call me Ishmael"). The diversity of characters and their internal conflicts provide a cross-section of the types of men who spent years at sea with the hopes of bringing home whale oil and ambergris. The specter of the white whale, who really only physically shows up at the very end of the book, broods over the entire novel. What surprised me most was the hints by Ishmael that he was not entirely pleased with the whaling trade. I didn't expect that at all. Evidently, Moby Dick is experiencing a resurgence in interest. Who knew?