Ok, I read Moby-Dick while doing a master’s degree in American Studies. I get it–it’s a classic and I was doing a degree where reading the tome makes sense. But seriously, what did I get out of it? Not a lot. I don’t think that I “got” the book at all.
But Philbrick’s explanation of the book and its importance makes total sense. Why didn’t the professor I had THEN make these points about the book? Maybe he didn’t “get” it either, but just required the text because, well, it’s a classic.
So–do I think you should read Moby-Dick. Let me recommend to you that you read Philbrick’s Why Read Moby-Dick instead. Or, if you feel like that’s dishonest, read Philbrick’s little book first. Or read it afterward. Or read it WHILE you are reading Moby-Dick.
The whole Moby-Dick thing will make so much more SENSE if Philbrick’s holding your hand through it.