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The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Seaby Sebastian Junger
Synopses & Reviews
It was "The Perfect Storm," a tempest created by so rare a convergence of factors — a hurricane from Bermuda, a Canadian cold front, and a storm from the Great Lakes — that it could not possibly have been worse. Boasting ferocious waves ten stories high and moaning winds approximately 120 miles an hour at the storm's height, the sea reached inconceivable levels few people on earth have ever seen or faced. Few, except the six-man crew of the Andrea Gail, a 72-foot steel swordfish boat — one of the biggest moneymakers in the Gloucester, Massachusetts harbor — that disappeared without a trace in the storm's hellish heart off the coast of Nova Scotia.
With taut precision, journalist Sebastian Junger illuminates the dangerous yet lucrative trade of off-shore fishing and coolly recreates the last moments of the Andrea Gail crew; recounts the heroes and victims of daring rescues upon the ravaged sea; and offers candid accounts of others irrevocably changed by the storm. Brilliantly conceived, breathtakingly written, this unforgettably moving and fascinating narrative brings to life the savage fury of this incredible maelstrom, and of the courage, terror, and awe manifested at its peak.
"Impeccable research...supports this solid account. Junger expertly braids together the individual histories of the six-member crew of the doomed Andrea Gail with those of the economically depressed fishing town of Gloucester, Mass., and various New England fisheries. In lesser hands this amount of detail could sink a narrative. But here it comes together as a seamless chronicle in which weather itself emerges as the protagonist. Junger relates facts on everything from the physics of waves to the science of hurricanes....Despite all of its detail, however, what ultimately makes this a unique and admirable book is its portrayal of individual lives." Judith Bolton-Fasman, The Christian Science Monitor
"Junger's fine dramatic style is complemented by a wealth of details that flesh out the story: wave physics and water thermoclines; what it means if you see whitewater outside your porthole; where the terms mayday, ill-wind, and down East came from. Reading this gripping book is likely to make the would-be sailor feel both awed and a little frightened by nature's remorseless power." Kirkus Reviews
"Mesmerizing...Packs an emotional wallop." Boston Globe
"Guaranteed to blow readers away....A+." Entertainment Weekly
"As with any true-adventure story, you wonder if you ought to be getting such a bang out of real people's real suffering. But in The Perfect Storm, we're sharers, not voyeurs. The book is a humanizing reminder that we, too, could probably will be called on to bear more than we could possibly imagine." Newsweek
"Thrilling....Even if you have never been to sea, Junger's account will put frighteners on you." New York Times Book Review
A real-life thriller that leaves us with the taste of salt on our tongues and a terror of the deep.
The bestselling book that became the blockbuster film starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Diane Lane.
In October 1991, three weather systems collided off the coast of Nova Scotia to create a storm of singular fury, boasting waves over one hundred feet high. Among its victims was the Gloucester, Massachusetts-based swordfishing boat the Andrea Gail, which vanished with all six crew members aboard.
"Drifting down on swimmers is standard rescue procedure, but the seas are so violent that Buschor keeps getting flung out of reach. There are times when he's thirty feet higher than the men trying to rescue him. . . . [I]f the boat's not going to Buschor, Buschor's going to have to go to it. SWIM! they scream over the rail. SWIM! Buschor rips off his gloves and hood and starts swimming for his life."
It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm." When it struck in October 1991, there was virtually no warning. "She's comin' on, boys, and she's comin' on strong," radioed Captain Billy Tyne of the Andrea Gail off the coast of Nova Scotia, and soon afterward the boat and its crew of six disappeared without a trace.
In a book taut with the fury of the elements, Sebastian Junger takes us deep into the heart of the storm, depicting with vivid detail the courage, terror, and awe that surface in such a gale. Junger illuminates a world of swordfishermen consumed by the dangerous but lucrative trade of offshore fishing, "a young man's game, a single man's game," and gives us a glimpse of their lives in the tough fishing port of Gloucester, Massachusetts; he recreates the last moments of the Andrea Gail crew and recounts the daring high-seas rescues that made heroes of some and victims of others; and he weaves together the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched, to produce a rich and informed narrative. The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that will leave readers with the taste of salt air on their tongues and a sense of terror of the deep.
About the Author
Sebastian Junger grew up in suburban Massachusetts, not far from the town of Gloucester, the fishing port depicted in The Perfect Storm that was home to the Andrea Gail and its crew. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in cultural anthropology in 1984 and has been a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in such magazines as Outside, Men's Journal, American Heritage, and The New York Times Magazine. Drawn to stories of adventure, Junger has delivered radio reports from the war in Bosnia, covered smoke jumpers in Idaho's wilderness wildfires, and written about the smallest border town in Texas. In addition he has for many years worked a high climber and trimmer for tree removal companies. He currently lives in New York City and Cape Cod. The Perfect Storm is his first book.
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