More and more readers, and droves of scholars, are turning to the pages of Moby Dick and other masterpieces by Herman Melville for an excursion into the world of the great American novel. But in his own era, New Englander Melville, whose real-life adventures were the source for his spellbinding fiction, found that adulation eluded him. He had a bestseller in his first novel, Typee, at age twenty-seven. But by the time he was thirty, in 1850, he was sitting at his desk in the Berkshires, writing Moby Dick as a man possessed. The novel didn't attract a substantial readership, and Melville lived out the rest of his days in obscurity. His reputation began to be revived in the 1920s. Today, his audience is huge and interest in the life and times of an America icon is burgeoning. Here, in this short-form book by award-winning journalist Robert Wernick, is his life story.