The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
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.
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This was such a moving book and movie about six courageous men and their families. There were so many others that lost their lives before them and the opening movie scene gives you an overwhelming view of the names of so many on this small New England coast.
The movie is a perfect way of not forgetting them, what they did, how they did it, and to know in 2014 the job of a fisherman still flourishes. You read the words of Sebastian Junger and he instantly places you on that boat with the men. I would suggest read the book and then go see the movie, like I did and you will never forget what they did and how they died (The music is great as well, that always helps a well made movie take flight right into your heart).
This is now 2014 but in 1991 six men went to work never to return to the people they loved. I have seen this movie over 25 times and I have read the book over and over and I never get tired of reading about their courage and how they lived their lives.
Jackie M. Ingram
In the last couple years I've read two other maritime disaster books: In the Heart of the Sea by Nethaniel Philbrick and In Harm's Way by Doug Stanton, and although this book was a fast read and engaging, I didn't find myself as involved with the characters as in the other books.
Perhaps it was simply aptly titled. It was, to me, indeed a book primarily about a storm, more than it was a book about the people in it. Though they figured prominently in the telling of the story, the other two were stories of survival and death. . .this book read like it was just a story of a sinking.
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