An entertaining documentary about a series of bare knuckle boxing matches between a few feuding Traveler families over a twelve year period.
These guys aren't all that as athletes, but they're plenty tough. One match goes on for two hours and thirty minutes without breaks. There's also a fight between two guys who look to be 60+.
Lots of people have found it to be a difficult sometimes tedious read, with the most common complaint being, "Too much about whaling!" If you're looking for some interpretive assistance, Tony Tanner has a great, easy to read, introduction in one of the editions. Google his name + Moby Dick and you can read it for free on Google Books.
Homer sees it all - conflict arising out of necessity, the intoxication of the heroes indulging in their anger and skill at violence, the suffering of their victims and everyone's eventual grief.
About as good as it gets. Read with Simone Weil's essay, "The Poem of Force".
This book is like playing in an 18th century curiosity cabinet of the occult, secrets, and paris. Absolutely delicious. This is the book Dan Brown *wishes* he could write.
Cons: Lots of "in jokes" relating to the History of Science and 16th century mysticism. A lot of the better humorous bits might elude non-historians.