Nathaniel Philbrick (born 1 Jan 1956 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American author and a winner of the National Book Award for his 2001 work of maritime history The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. He is probably the most prominent member of the Philbrick literary family.
Philbrick graduated from Taylor Allderdice Highs School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earned his bachelor's degree at Brown University, and his master's degree in American literature at Duke University.
He moved to Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1986, and is a leading authority on the history of the island.
He is the director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies and is a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association. He is a former intercollegiate All-American sailor and North American Sunfish champion. Philbrick has also written articles on sailing and American maritime history for Vanity Fair, the New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe. In 2002, he was named the Nathaniel Bowditch Maritime Scholar of the Year by the American Merchant Marine Museum. Philbrick has written extensively about sailing. His works include The Passionate Sailor and Second Wind: A Sailfish Sailor's Odyssey. He is also the editor of Yaahting, A Parody.
In May 2006, Philbrick published a new history of the founding of the Plymouth colony in the United States, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War. The work won the Massachusetts Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in history and Los Angeles Times Book Award. On November 6, 2007, Philbrick shared research from this book at a campus forum at Brigham Young University.
His book about Battle of the Little Bighorn, The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, was published in May 2010.