He won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize for Sea of Glory (New York: Viking Penguin, 2003), his book—just released in paperback—about the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-42 led by brash Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes. He also won the National Book Award and was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize for In the Heart of the Sea (New York: Viking, 2000), his account of the whaleship Essex tragedy. A former college All-American sailor and founding director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies on Nantucket, Nathaniel Philbrick met recently with Naval History Editor Fred L. Schultz at the 7th Maritime Heritage Conference in Norfolk, Virginia.
Naval History: From what we gather, you are familiar with Naval History’s parent organization, the U.S. Naval Institute, and what it does. How important is it?