Call me Ishmael'. Thus starts the greatest American novel. Melville said that he wanted to write 'a mighty book about a mighty theme' and so he did ? a story of one man's obsessive revenge-journey against the white whale, Moby-Dick, who injured him in an earlier encounter. Woven into the story of the last journey of The Pequod is a mesh of philosophy, rumination, religion, history and a mass of information about whaling in the 19th century.