- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 29, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393337014
- ISBN-13: 978-0393337013
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,070 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
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*Starred Review* Junger’s most recent book, War (2010), which recounts his experiences with combat troops in war-torn Afghanistan, embodies both his ongoing fascination with life “on the tip of the spear” and his public image as a square-jawed danger-seeker. But it was The Perfect Storm (1997), written while he was a freelance tree-climber with only a notepad and an idea, that put him on the map. The outline is well known because the events made the news, because the book became a best-seller, and because the book became a major motion picture with A-list talent. In October 1991, a freak convergence of weather—a storm from the west, a cold front from the north, and a hurricane from the south—resulted in the Halloween Storm, a once-in-a-century gale that wreaked havoc on the North Atlantic. As befits a story so huge, Junger follows a diverse array of people through it, including fishermen, sailors, and rescue personnel. But it’s the story of the doomed swordfish boat Andrea Gail, whose crew was never found, that is the most compelling, and it is here that Junger shows the strength of his craft. In re-creating what might have happened to the six-man crew, he seamlessly weaves known facts with everything from interviews with survivors of other storms to explanations of fishing-boat architecture and the science behind drowning, with results so unforgettable that we can well imagine their final moments. But the Andrea Gail is not the whole story. There are other sword boats, the beleaguered sloop Satori with its crew of three, and a diverse array of rescuers whose actions are nothing short of heroic. There is a wealth of information here about the practice and business of fishing and about weather, sea, and people, but Junger shapes it all with an almost novelistic sense of pace and timing. Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air (1997), about disaster on Mount Everest, it’s a thrilling, sobering, and extremely accessible book that may well serve as the point of entry for readers curious about its subject. Rarely are works of nonfiction so deeply affecting. --Keir Graff
“Every boater is drawn to storm-at-sea stories, and this one beats them all.”
- Philadelphia Inquirer
“Rich, compassionate characterization, as well as taut, suspenseful prose. A tale that doesn't skimp on facts, yet keeps you turning pages from beginning to end.”
- Seattle Times
“Riveting…The natural upheaval holds center stage and acts as a character, but the story converges upon human beings―in this case, the six-man crew of the doomed Gloucester swordfishing boat Andrea Gail.”
- Boston Globe
“Harrowing, relentless…and thoroughly enjoyable.”
- Kansas City Star
“A terrifying, edifying read…Readers…are first seduced into caring for the book’s doomed characters, then compelled to watch them carried into the jaws of a meteorological hell. Junger’s compassionate, intelligent voice instructs us effortlessly on the sea life of the sword-fisherman, the physics of a sinking steel ship, and the details of death by drowning.”
- Dava Sobel
“One reads with the most intense concern, anxiety and concentration; and if one knows anything at all about the sea one feels the absolutely enormous strength of the hurricane winds and the incredibly towering mass of the hundred-foot waves.”
- Patrick O'Brian
“A fascinating book, not just about a storm, but about the hard-drinking, fatalistic lives of commercial fishermen and the families and friends they leave behind with each dangerous voyage.”
- Cleveland Plain Dealer
“The pages of this book crunch with salt.”
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A friend told me the movie was based on a true story which piqued my interest.
So I got the book from Amazon.
I was puzzled about the events surrounding the final moments of the crew since there were really no records left. However, I surmised that the author may have pulled events from others who survived near drownings. The forward in the book confirmed that was the case.
The author weaves in bits of history going back to Western European fishing expeditions. It was almost as informative as being in that area and having a knowledgeable tour guide tell the story of the place and the people.
Since I have a deep concern for the sustainability of the environment, it is of interest to read about the forces that push people to essentially destroy the very hand that feeds them. The overfishing was done at peril to life and limb of the fishermen. The greed that feeds permeated and still does permeate industry from the top to the bottom rung.
So there you have it. The book combines a personal life story, history, psychology, and world economics and even international relations. I truly enjoyed this book immensely and would recommend it. It makes a person think and it may make a person think to behave in a more responsible manner.
The sympathy for the characters goes beyond only those on the one ship that sank. It is a sympathy for any and all that are compelled to make a living in a dangerous job.
"The Perect Storm" details such a time and goes to the very heart of those who were left behind as well as giving us new respect for those lost in the storm tossed waters.
True, the book does mix past tense with present and it does take you on a journey, spinning you from time and place while developing the story. However, it presents the facts and gives the reader a chance to understand the life of a sword boat captain and his crew.
Junger has given the reader a glimpse into the lives of men who were doing their daily job, yet done in the face of danger. You will come away with a new found appreciation for these men and those that follow suit. I dare say you will not look upon a menu and see swordfish without reflecting upon the printed words with the "The Perfect Storm".
It was very thought provoking and the amount of research done shows through in the final work. The errors in grammer and jargon can be overlooked due to its' fast paced style and readability. Take the time to read this book and do not skim over the contents to get to the end.