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The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea: A True Story of Man Against the Sea [Kindle Edition]

Sebastian Junger
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The worst storm in history seen from the wheelhouse of a doomed fishing trawler; a mesmerisingly vivid account of a natural hell from a perspective that offers no escape.

The ‘perfect storm’ is a once-in-a-hundred-years combination: a high pressure system from the Great Lakes, running into storm winds over an Atlantic island – Sable Island – and colliding with a weather system from the Caribbean: Hurricane Grace.

This is the story of that storm, told through the accounts of individual fishing boats caught up in the maelstrom, their families waiting anxiously for news of their return, the rescue services scrambled to save them. It is the story of the old battle between the fisherman and the sea, between man and Nature, that awesome and capricious power which can transform the surface of the Atlantic into an impossible tumult of water walls and gaping voids, with the capacity to break an oil tanker in two.

In spare, lyrical prose ‘The Perfect Storm’ describes what happened when the Andrea Gail looked into the wrathful face of the perfect storm.

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Amazon Review

Meteorologists called the storm that hit North America's eastern seaboard in October 1991 a "perfect storm" because of the rare combination of factors that created it. For everyone else, it was perfect hell. In The Perfect Storm, author Sebastian Junger conjures for the reader the meteorological conditions that created the "storm of the century" and the impact the storm had on many of the people caught in it. Chief among these are the six crew members of the swordfish boat the Andrea Gail, all of whom were lost 500 miles from home beneath roiling seas and high waves. Working from published material, radio dialogues, eyewitness accounts and the experiences of people who have survived similar events, Junger attempts to re-create the last moments of the Andrea Gail as well as the perilous high-seas rescues of other victims of the storm.

Like a Greek drama, The Perfect Storm builds slowly and inexorably to its tragic climax. The book weaves the history of the fishing industry and the science of predicting storms into the quotidian lives of those aboard the Andrea Gail and of others who would soon find themselves in the fury of the storm. Junger does a remarkable job of explaining a convergence of meteorological and human events in terms that make them both comprehensible and unforgettable. --Christine Buttery


'(It) will become a classic for a jaded modern world'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book hits like a rogue wave 10 April 1998
By A Customer
This is the best nautical non-fiction I have ever read. Mr. Junger develops a story far more frightening than any Koontz or King novel. I was out in a Coast Guard boat (UTB) off of Florida on Halloween day 1991 and conditions there, while far, far, far less extreme than up north, were awe-inspiring. Junger's description of storm formations, wave heights, and ship construction were first rate. He does a credible job of piecing together the last hours of the "Andrea Gail" and the terror the crew must have felt. And the chapters devoted to the U.S. Coast Guard and Air National Guard rescuers made me feel proud to have served. Lastly if people don't believe in at least the possibility of a 100 ft wave than they don't know the ocean. Anything is possible. Overall an outstanding book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I am the son of Ray Leonard, the captain and owner of Satori. The Coast Guard "rescue" of the crew and captain of Satori, as described in part of this book, is based on one crew member's account and doesn't give an accurate impression. The captain never wanted a rescue attempt. He knew that the small, solid boat could withstand the conditions it was in. The crew, in contrast, were very frightened and apparently issued the mayday call. When the Coast Guard came to the boat they ordered everyone off. Even after she was abandoned, Satori continued through the storm with no damage, eventually being recovered from a Maryland beach. Another sailboat, the Stafka I, also sailed safely through the same part of the storm. The author never contacted Ray Leonard, even though he devotes many pages to the "rescue" from Satori.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you enjoy your next swordfish steak 8 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
I thoroughly reiterate what other reviewers have said, but the book doesn't get the full 5 from me. Both my girlfriend and I read this book, and I got more out of it than her, we think because men have more of a taste for the complex and intricate detail in the book about fishing and meteorology. It really is very dense in places, and you need a good deal of intellectual curiosity to get through some sections. The book is also a very difficult one to write, because noone really knows what happened to the Andrea Gail during her last hours. But given that, Junger does a superb detective job, and paints a imaginary portrait of truly unsettling realism and plausibility.
Finally, I was utterly blown away (sic) by some of the fishing stories included in the book - rarely in a piece of writing have I been brought closer to the concept of mortality than during the tale of a man in the 19th century who survived a shipwreck, to describe the sensation of drowning and losing consciousness. Junger perfectly intertwines this with a graphic description of the biological processes as we now understand them. This and many other parts of the book are brutal, harrowing, haunting and very memorable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Storm 29 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a decent enough read and I am a fan of this type of true story. However, having just read Jake Watson's book ' SAR ' , a true story of Royal Air Force helicopter search and rescue here in the UK, by comparison, The Perfect Storm is far to over-dramatised. I still enjoyed the book and wanted to get the literary version after watching the film. The book does go into much more detail than the film and much of the background information is fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the build up to the tragic event with regard to the degrading meterological stuation and the stability problems with the Andrea Gail. It is an epic story of bravery at sea, courage in the air and a great battle against the elements. Would I recommend this book? Yes, but if I could only afford one book, I'd buy SAR.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After seeing the movie... 11 July 2002
By JayneL
Have to admit that I saw the movie first which encouraged me to buy the book, mainly to get more details and check that the movie wasn't just taking artistic license to extreme (as usual). The book was extremely well documented and written, certainly managed to put me off going to sea in storms. As a person who doesn't generally read a lot of non-fiction being able to read this while visualising the movie was great, made the whole experience much more enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect Storm 25 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A curious book. In the foreword, the author sets out the theme as an account of the final days of the Andrea Gail, a commercial sword fishing boat that was lost off the coast of Nova Scotia in October 1991, caught in one of the worst hurricanes of the twentieth century. Yet by the end it is clear that remarkably little is known about what happened. All six men on board died; the various electronic communications systems failed; the boat has never been recovered. Far less is known about the fate of the Andrea Gail than (for example) the Titanic.

So in reading Perfect Storm, one waits for an account of the last days of the Andrea Gail, but it's like waiting for Godot. The account never materialises; at the centre of the book is a void.

What is the book about then? First, it's about what it is like to work as a commercial sword fisherman. It's a hellish occupation, and the description of the work patterns, dangers and (meagre and uncertain) financial rewards are fascinating.

Second, it's about the impact of the October 1991 hurricane on the other ships that happened to be at sea. The two chapters that deal with the helicopter rescues mounted for the Satori and a Japenese sailboat captained by Tomizawa are thrilling. The author superbly evokes the terror of being in a storm of such magnitude, with waves of seventy or more feet and little ability to control a ship.

In short, The Perfect Storm doesn't do exactly what it says on the tin. But what's in the tin is of high quality.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Written with a detachment that makes this true story all ...
Written with a detachment that makes this true story all the more poignant. A very powerful description of the power of the sea.
Published 19 days ago by Tracey Christiansen
5.0 out of 5 stars So much better than the movie ........
Short. Blending science with history to make the ocean come to life in a truly majestic and horrifying drama. One of my favorite books.
Published 1 month ago by Lorenzo
5.0 out of 5 stars I bought it primarily for my interest in weather - which doesn't...
This is a well written and very captivating book.
I bought it primarily for my interest in weather - which doesn't disappoint - but the well researched detail of life as a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by PC
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good book
Published 3 months ago by Gill
1.0 out of 5 stars A tragedy, an absolute tragedy but a terrible read!
Page after page of the same assumptions put across as fact. This was a book more about the weather and how a storm begins and grows than of the people whose lives were torn apart... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Camborne
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story beautifully written
I agree wholeheartedly with all that has been written by previous reviewers. I would like to add that the section on drowning, in particular, the part about Laryngospasm is as real... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. P. Burges
2.0 out of 5 stars Reader overboard!
I'm sorry, but I can't agree with most of the other comments to date. I'm a voracious reader and bought this book because of its excellent reviews. Read more
Published on 11 Aug. 2012 by BlytonL
5.0 out of 5 stars On of the best
Brilliant book, much better than the film, excellent descriptions of the sea and its power, it made me realise the skill and bravery needed to do long line fishing and how... Read more
Published on 21 July 2012 by jennyjo
5.0 out of 5 stars A whole other life in 250 pages
Amazing. A life entirely different from yours. Learn about it, feel what it's like at its focal point. In less than 250 pages.
Published on 3 Dec. 2011 by Michal W
5.0 out of 5 stars An expression enters the English language...
It's relatively rare when a book title enters the English language. Yet "A Perfect Storm" is now acceptable usage to describe the confluence of events that greatly aggravate a... Read more
Published on 24 Jun. 2011 by John P. Jones III
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