The Two Faces of Empire

| 1/27/2014 1:34:00 PM

Tags: Herman Melville, War on Terror, Moby-Dick, Benito Cereno, Ahab, Amasa Delano, Imperialism, American Imperialism, Sealing, Whaling, Fossil Fuels, TomDispatch, Greg Grandin.,

Reading Melville in the Age of Terror.

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.

A captain ready to drive himself and all around him to ruin in the hunt for a white whale. It’s a well-known story, and over the years, mad Ahab in Herman Melville’s most famous novel, Moby-Dick, has been used as an exemplar of unhinged American power, most recently of George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq.