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Deadliest Sea: The Untold Story Behind the Greatest Rescue in Coast Guard History Hardcover – June 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061766291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061766299
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Books about disaster in the Alaskan fishing industry are common, but titles as good as this one are rare. In March 2008, the factory trawler Alaska Ranger sank in the Bering Sea, in 36-degree water and 20-foot waves. Her distress signal triggered a massive rescue effort, in which the Coast Guard used cutters, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, rescue swimmers—in short, its whole arsenal—for saving those in peril on the sea. Alaska Warrior, a sister trawler, also ably came to the rescue, and a total of 42 of the Ranger's 47 people were rescued. The author did thorough research and interviewed people involved in every aspect of the rescue, so that the reader has a clear picture of everything from survival suits to the big cutter Munro, and how they were arrayed and skillfully used to snatch people from what would have been certain death 50 years ago. This extraordinary book is accessible to every level of interest in those who go down to the sea in ships and may well keep most of them up all night. --Roland Green

From the Back Cover

Soon after 2:00 a.m. on Easter morning 2008, the fishing trawler Alaska Ranger began taking on water in the middle of the frigid Bering Sea. While the first mate broadcast Mayday calls to a remote Coast Guard station more than eight hundred miles away, the men on the ship’s icy deck scrambled to inflate life rafts and activate beacon lights. By 4:30 a.m., most of the forty-seven crew members were in the water. Many knew that if they weren’t rescued soon, they would drown or freeze to death.

Two Coast Guard helicopter rescue teams were woken up in the middle of the night to save the crew of the Alaska Ranger. Many of the men thought the mission would be routine. They were wrong. The helicopter teams battled snow squalls, enormous swells, and gale-force winds as they tried to fulfill one guiding principle: save as many as possible.

Deadliest Sea is a daring and mesmerizing adventure tale that chronicles the power of nature against man. Veteran journalist Kalee Thompson recounts the harrowing stories of both the rescuers and the rescued while paying tribute to the courage, tenacity, and skill of the dedicated people who risk their lives for the lives of others.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Its a really good story, very well told, exciting, gripping.
Nicholas Peter Evans
It is a book worth reading and once you start reading, you will not want to put it down.
Karen Gale Jacobsen
Like others, I read it in one sitting-- I couldn't put it down.
Pet magnet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Lasher on June 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A book I couldn't put down, literally. I had a vacation planned and was looking for a page turner, and found this incredibly gripping story on the recommendation of a friend. Like some of the other reviewers, I've never really been into the Deadliest Catch or that sort of reality television, but that didn't matter at all. Trust me, pick up this book even if it's not in your wheelhouse. I never knew how hardcore the Coasties were! It's a fast-moving, well-written book that can compete with the best of Krakauer or Junger, with a lot less pretense (and a few more fish).
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on June 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I can't say I'm someone who usually reads about the Coast Guard, the Alaska fishing industry, or federal safety regulations, but I was absolutely gripped by Deadliest Sea. This is an edge-of-your seat read, and you will get chills as the various rescue teams swing into action and race against time and the frigid elements of the Bering Sea to reach the crew of the doomed Alaska Ranger before it's too late. Most compelling are the characters you meet along the way, from the rookie fish processors to the colorful crew members to the heroic copter pilots, and you come to care about their fates in a deep and visceral way. In addition to great storytelling, the book has to its credit a wealth of expertly reported and eye-opening information on the safety lapses rampant in the profitable Alaska fishing industry, which will forever change the way you think about how that seafood on your dinner plate got to you.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jayson Vallee on June 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
So I finished the book last night, and I loved it. I haven't read a book like that straight through in the long time, and I will admit the last book I did that for was the last Harry Potter book. I like the flow of it and how the author introduced each of the people involved in the rescue and tied it in with the Ranger. I also like how the Mayday call and the conversation between the Ranger and COMSTA was a central time line, which kept every event in perspective This has a lot of information, but also told the story and pieced it together every one's story to get an accurate account of the sinking. This book is is full of research and asks questions about the fishing industries practices, that not only tells about a heroic story of the Coast Guards rescue mission, but forces the reader to think about the industries safety record.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Karen Gale Jacobsen on July 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kalee Thompson did an excellent job writing about that dark stormy Easter morning, when the Alaska Ranger F/V went down in the Bering Sea. It was a day that changed my life and the lives of others forever. The story is truthful, historical, yet touching. Kalee has the ability to capture your interest, as if you are actually living the event, as you turn each page. I have had the pleasure to meet Ms. Thompson on many occassions and find her to be truly gifted and compassionate. It is a book worth reading and once you start reading, you will not want to put it down. Sincerely, Karen Jacobsen, the eldest daughter of the Captain of the Alaska Ranger.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John K on July 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a person with over 26 years of experience in Alaska and 700+ days at-sea in the Bering Sea, Aleutians, & Gulf of Alaska as a fisherman, foreign joint venture representative, observer, biologist, and a fish cop, I can say this author "NAILED IT".

I read this book in a day and a half with only a short break for required sleep. I found myself several times having to put the book down as my heart was pounding too hard from emotion. The author brings home, and right into your gut, the feeling and perspective of those involved from their daily lives to the event itself.

Thanks to the author's extensive research, sensitivity to the survivors & loved ones, and passion for the issues, even readers unfamiliar with the sea will be left with no less than an intimate appreciation for the lives of the fishermen, safety as a line item in the profit/loss column, the terror of the freezing thrashing blackness of the Bering Sea in winter, the foreign control struggles of this company, the human cost to making protein from the sea available for the dinner table, and the unsung heroism of our Coast Guard whose remarkable skills are a blessing to us all.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Lynn on June 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Deadliest Sea captured my attention from start to finish. Not only is the book an important homage to Coast Guard rescue workers, it is a deftly written, fact-filled account of the conditions commercial fisheries workers face, and the dangers they encounter -- both nature-made and preventable. In light of the catastrophic explosion of the BP oil rigger in the Gulf, the impact of Ms. Thompson's work becomes more indelible. It asks crucial topical questions of profit versus human life and is an incredible depiction of those for whom duty and brotherhood win out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth B. on June 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Like other reviewers who have posted, I, too, might not normally pick up a book on a daring rescue at sea, but this story sucked me right in. Kalee Thompson is that rare writer who can make topics that might otherwise seem complicated and dry (e.g. safety regulations on fishing boats) lucid and fascinating. I have rarely learned so much about so many different things (what happens to a human body in freezing water, what life is like for rescue pilots in Alaska, how labor-management tensions play out in the Alaskan fishing industry) while being so thoroughly entertained. In addition, it's a story with real-life heroes who more than deserve the fine tribute they get here. This is one of those books you'll want to give all your friends as soon as you finish reading it. Enjoy!
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