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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book hits like a rogue wave
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...
Published on 10 April 1998

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One sided view of the evacuation of the sailboat Satori
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...
Published on 22 July 1997


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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
1.0 out of 5 stars One sided view of the evacuation of the sailboat Satori, 22 July 1997
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 After seeing the movie..., 11 July 2002
By 
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Storm, 29 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea: A True Story of Man Against the Sea (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect Storm, 25 April 2013
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Storm, 26 Nov. 2010
By 
Oliver L. Shaw (Liverpool United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
A gripping account of an exceptional storm at sea, and its devastating effects on boats and aircraft, written by a writer who is a fine journalist but by his own admission has no first-hand knowledge of the sea or of boats. The narrative includes some heroic rescues and attempts at rescue, in a storm which caused substantial loss of life both from vessels and from rescue aircraft.

He has done a conscientious job, and produced a book which is factual and informative and very hard indeed to put down. However there is scope for questioning his interpretation and judgement of the facts regarding one of the major incidents that he reports.

He recounts, factually, the difficulties faced by the yacht "Satori", and faithfully gives in some detail one (but only one) of two conflicting and controversial viewpoints as to their situation. The two crew, at least one of whom was massively experienced, became convinced that the severity of their predicament was such that they were in distress, and they then activated the distress signals. They felt that the skipper had been so overwhelmed by the severity of the storm that he had effectually ceased to function, and in sheer terror and resignation he was just lying comatose in his bunk. That is a damming indictment of the skipper, but it is only one view, and one which the skipper strongly contests.

Eventually, in a massively difficult and risky operation which must be well above the normal operating limit of the aircraft, a helicopter succeeded in evacuating all three persons on board and left the yacht drifting. The owner/skipper refused to leave the yacht, but was overruled by the Coastguard, who resorted to the legal process of declaring it a "manifestly unsafe voyage" in order to have the power to overrule him.

The first thing the owner did after being landed ashore was to get out the charts and plot the position and the likely drift of the yacht, and when the storm subsequently blew itself out and the abandoned boat washed ashore he was there on the beach to meet her and recover her.

That is faithfully recounted. What the writer does not say in the main text, although he does cover part of it in a small and brief footnote in small type, is the other side of the story. Just as at least one of the crew was massively experienced, so was the skipper; it has been reported elsewhere that he was very well known on that coast and had the reputation of being a very sensible and highly competent and experienced skipper. His viewpoint, expressed after the event, was that the yacht was immensely well found and was in no danger of sinking. In that judgement he was in fact proved right by events; it is difficult to fault the argument that, far from being a "manifestly unsafe voyage", it was so "unsafe" that after having been compulsorily abandoned the unmanned yacht continued to look after herself until she eventually washed ashore, and very clearly had the skipper and crew remained aboard this is prima facie evidence that they would indeed have survived the storm - exactly as the skipper expected.

The skipper maintains that far from having mentally and psychologically collapsed, he was allowing the boat to lie a-hull, which is a well established and often successful storm tactic - although he in turn omits to say that in the wake of the 1979 Fastnet Gale that tactic has started to be questioned.

This then comes down to a matter of judgement, and to a legitimate disagreement between the only two (or possibly three) highly experienced people who were actually on the spot at the time.

The book comes down heavily on one side of this disagreement, without adequately presenting the other side, and without making any attempt to evaluate (or to obtain an expert evaluation) of the conflicting views. It has also been reported elsewhere that he made no effort to interview the skipper concerned.

That imbalance is a significant failing of the boom, but with the exception of that limitation it is otherwise a gripping and informative and well-written account of an exceptional storm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A shot of cold North Atlantic water down your spine!, 11 Jun. 1997
By A Customer
Junger has woven a tightly crafted account of a 100-year storm at sea that even landlubbers can appreciate. For those who have been to sea, this is a story of nature's wrath that will scare you thoroughly, and make you realize how fortunate you have been to avoid the fate of the Andrea Gail, a 72-foot long-line sword fishing boat caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. The author carefully recounts the innocent decisions made by captain and crew over a period of weeks that led to their being trapped in a situation from which there was no escape. The chilling thing is that they probably knew they were dead days ahead of time, when they saw the weather faxes showing the storm barreling down on them. A boat 72 feet long doesn't stand a chance against 100 foot breaking waves, and with a top speed of 12 knots, there was no where for Andrea Gail to go in the time she had until the storm hit. If you have never been to sea, this book is as close as it gets. My only criticism is that the book could benefit from the inclusion of additional charts and diagrams showing the path of the storm center and direction and extent of the 100+ mph winds swirling into the center.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 20 Sept. 1998
By A Customer
While somewhat interesting, I found the focus on the Andrea Gail unsatisfying since no one could say with certainty exactly what happened to the crew. I found the section on the parajumpers more interesting and, for me, it saved the book from being a complete waste of time. Still, I did throw it out when I finished with it...something I almost never do with a book.
For those interested in the sea and its many faces, I would recommend John McPhee's Looking for a Ship as a far superior book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book is poorly written and unfocused., 6 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
Unfortunately, the stories of the men lost at sea get lost in a quagmire of unrelated details, trivia, and imagined conversations. For the most part, the writing gets bogged down, and the point of the book is foggy. However, the descriptions of the survivors' experiences at sea are fascinating.
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