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The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Man Against the Sea
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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
am 29. Juli 2000
I really had mixed feelings about this book. The first half (or more) of the book kept putting me to sleep with boredom. But once the storm really hit and the action began, I couldn't put it down. The biggest problem I faced with this book was Junger's writing style. He skips a lot to the past and accounts of other boats. While this may be interesting, I kept getting confused as to if we were in the past or the present. I often found myself rereading passages to follow with what was taking place. Overall, I would reccomend the book, since Junger really gave a great insight to a true story of mens survival in this terrible storm.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
This book takes a natural disaster, a storm of the century, and builds it into a compelling clash of man against nature with man having little or no chance. "We Are Playthings of the Gods" kept running through my mind as I read this book.

I am glad that a movie has been made from the book, because the book was clearly designed to be turned into a script. The material is incredibly visible and visceral at the same time.

Even if you have never left dry land, you will soon have a good sense of what it meant to be a swordfisherman on the Andrea Gail when the storm came up.

Since the ship was lost, the author had a difficult task -- to give us a sense of what happened without turning the book into a dry dissertation. The book is incredibly successful at turning the informed speculation into a story line of what might have happened. If anything, the lack of details allows you to use your imagination, which makes the story richer.

Some will complain about the extensive background about Gloucester, the fishing fleets, boats, technology, and the people involved. For me, each element added a richness to the drama that made the story all that more gripping. Like a good Tom Clancy novel, the detail adds a texture and a context for the book that makes it all the more significant in your mind.

The book has an unusual structure. It cuts in and out from the present to the past, and from present to past tense and back again. At one level, it operates like mental language. That technique gives the book an emotional immediacy that makes it have much more impact on the reader. Let it weave its magic, and you'll really enjoy yourself.

Buy this book today, and save it to read the next time a howling wind and driving rain assault you on a dark night. Have a great read!
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
am 13. Juli 1997
"To know that we know what we know,
and that we do not know what we do not know,
that is true knowledge."
-- Confucius
As a young person, reading Melville's classic Moby Dick was a tortuous and torturous process. The experience occasionally had me wish that I could join Captain Ahab on a one way trip to the deep. Forty years later, I find that a new account of life and death at sea with many parallels to Melville's tome may be the perfect summer read.
In late October of 1991, there was a remarkable confluence of two storms on the fishing grounds of the North Atlantic. The whole was more than just the sum of the parts -- it was, the meteorologists tell us, "The Perfect Storm." Sebastian Junger's book by the same name is an account of that storm and its impact on those unlucky enough to have been in harm's way and their friends and loved ones back on shore. Along the way, you'll learn about the biology of the swordfish as well as the manic-depressive life of the men and women who fish it. You'll learn about the meteorology of storm formation, the physics of waves, naval architecture, the practice and economics of commercial fishing, and the hydraulics of sinking ships. Most incredibly, through Junger's words, you'll experience the terror and serenity of death.
All of this is strictly non-fiction -- Junger insists to have not invented a single word of dialog -- yet it reads like an action packed, page-turner suspense novel. In attaining this surprising and apparently contradictory result, Junger has confirmed the wisdom of Confucius.
WARNING! If you read this book, you'll never again eat a swordfish steak without contemplating its cost in human misery. You'll likely hesitate before boarding a boat headed for the open sea. Perhaps like me, you'll contemplate giving Melville a second chance now that you're on more intimate terms with the sea. Then you might also voice the Spice Girls lament -- "Will this deja vu never end?"
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
am 22. Juli 2000
One word describes my review of "The Perfect Storm", and that is AMAZING. In my life, I have not been a hard-core reader, but now, since I have read this book, I can honestly say that I look and read books at a completely, but yet better perspective. "The Perfect Storm" is an extremely well written book. If you read this book, your understanding of how powerful the ocean can really get will come to life. While I was reading this book, I felt that I was really there, and that I was part of this book. If you do read this book you will never look at the ocean the same way. I am pleading you to purchase this book. If you do, You will not be disappointed. You will not want to put this book down once you start to read it!
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This book takes a natural disaster, a storm of the century, and builds it into a compelling clash of man against nature with man having little or no chance. "We Are Playthings of the Gods" kept running through my mind as I read this book.

I am glad that a movie has been made from the book, because the book was clearly designed to be turned into a script. The material is incredibly visible and visceral at the same time.

Even if you have never left dry land, you will soon have a good sense of what it meant to be a swordfisherman on the Andrea Gail when the storm came up.

Since the ship was lost, the author had a difficult task -- to give us a sense of what happened without turning the book into a dry dissertation. The book is incredibly successful at turning the informed speculation into a story line of what might have happened. If anything, the lack of details allows you to use your imagination, which makes the story richer.

Some will complain about the extensive background about Gloucester, the fishing fleets, boats, technology, and the people involved. For me, each element added a richness to the drama that made the story all that more gripping. Like a good Tom Clancy novel, the detail adds a texture and a context for the book that makes it all the more significant in your mind.

The book has an unusual structure. It cuts in and out from the present to the past, and from present to past tense and back again. At one level, it operates like mental language. That technique gives the book an emotional immediacy that makes it have much more impact on the reader. Let it weave its magic, and you'll really enjoy yourself.

Buy this book today, and save it to read the next time a howling wind and driving rain assault you on a dark night. Have a great read!
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am 20. Juli 2000
As a published nonfiction author, I loved this docudrama adventure - an emotional ride through "meteorological hell" on a 72-foot swordfish boat dragging 40 miles of fishing line through 100-foot waves in the "perfect" storm (a nor'easter that "could not possibly have been worse").
This true story delivers the powerful synergy of a combination of elements in perfect balance: high-seas drama that slams your emotions like the rogue wave that explodes windows in the wheelhouse...fresh imagery that draws you in and puts you helplessly amid the crashing waves and hurricane winds on the boat...and fascinating facts about storms, wave dynamics, fishing techniques, and much more.
Author Sebastian Junger, a journalist by trade, combines these various elements in a well-crafted story of lives affected forever by a series of decisions by 6 fishermen in the town of Gloucester, Maine.
"The Perfect Storm," in a nutshell, is the story of a freak conjunction of weather systems that produced the most powerful storm of the 20th century off the coast of northern New England in October, 1991. Caught in this maelstrom is a swordfishing fleet, in particular the Andrea Gail and its 6-man crew. Building up to the frightening climax is the story of a fishing town, its people and culture, and the perils of daily life on board commercial fishing boats (generally acknowledged as the most dangerous profession). Yet it is also a story of how personal assumptions and decisions determine who will live to fish another day.
Unlike the trite, cardboard characters of many a fiction adventure, the real men and women who experienced this almost inconceivable storm come alive through Junger's careful and respectful representation of the facts. We get to know the tightly bonded folks at the Crow's Nest bar, where fishermen sometimes spend thousands of dollars of hard-earned wages in one night buying drinks for their friends. We get inside the lives of fishermen and their families, lives that would soon be forced to change in ways they always dreaded but never thought would happen to them. And we discover the misgivings and premonitions of crew members when the time came to load the Andrea Gail and head for one last run, ominously late in the season - warnings to which some listened, but others didn't.
As the story unfolds, we learn more than we ever thought we wanted to know about meteorology...dynamics of waves traveling across thousands of miles of ocean ("forty-five-foot breaking waves are much more destructive than rolling swells twice that size")...the rare monster rogue wave ("avalanches over the decks and buries the Andrea Gail under tons of water")...hard-learned techniques for finding and catching swordfish (a hook "can whiplash over the rail and snag people in all kinds of horrible ways" and "if it catches some part of the baiter's body or clothing, he goes over the side with it")...the economics of a competitive fishing industry that could force them to dump a month's worth of catch over the side...and open sea rescue procedures even more dangerous to the rescuers than the stranded crew. Perhaps the most fascinating discussion explores the physiological and psychological reactions of a human drowning at sea - when the body's natural reflexes kick in and panic is "mixed with an odd incredulity that this is actually happening...'So this is how my life finally ends.'"
Junger did a fine job of research and intelligent writing, skills gained from years of writing articles for such publications as Outside Magazine, American Heritage, and Men's Journal. His prose style is clean, highly readable, fresh, and full of vivid imagery:
"There's a certain amount of denial in swordfishing. The boats claw through a lot of bad weather, and the crews generally just batten down the hatches, turn on the VCR, and put their faith in the tensile strength of steel. Still, every man on a sword boat knows there are waves out there that can crack them open like a coconut."
Junger is faithful to the facts and avoids the usual writer's conceit of embellishing a story with assumptions about what characters said and did. Instead, he wanted to "step back and let the story speak for itself." As a result, we learn the facts Junger was able to gather through interviews and research, as well as how other fishermen described their similar near-death experiences, and our imagination takes over.
Even with so much detail - or perhaps because of it - we discover our emotions and fears swelling in proportion to the worsening storm, ever more gigantic waves, and gale-force winds. By the end, we have made and lost friends, vicariously gained a heightened fear and respect for the immense power of the ocean, and retained the indelible imprint on our psyche of this amazing drama. Readers of "The Perfect Storm" will discover a personal impact that establishes a new watermark for high seas drama and adventure.
Read the book. Experience the movie on a big screen when it comes out at the end of June. Then listen to your own premonitions to avoid being on any boat....in any storm....far out in the ocean...with nothing to do but wait helplessly for the next rogue wave to overtake you.
- - - - - - - - -
Roy D. Varner, of The Woodlands, Texas, is a professional writer and author of "A Matter of Risk," the true story of the CIA's Hughes Glomar Explorer covert mission to raise a sunken Russian nuclear submarine.
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am 12. Juli 2000
There have been comments made about Junger's use of the disjointed narrative to get his point across, and the more simplistic of our readers have determined that such a narrative impedes the enjoyment. The mention of that, though, totally misses the point. Junger's digressions serve to give the narrative perspective- he isn't content with description and uses history and biography to contextualize the experience of the six men on board the Andrea Gail and show that, while their deaths were heartwrenchingly tragic, they were merely another figure to add to the tally of fisherman lost, while doing a job that many, if not most, of us take for granted as we tuck into our swordfish fillets. The only people who actually know what happened on the Andrea Gail are the men who were lost with her, and those readers expecting a straight narrative will ultimately be disappointed, because, obviously, no straight narrative is available. the only way to write this book as purely "a tale of men against the sea" and nothing else would be to invoke narrative devices, such as invention of scenarios and dialogue, that would have made this a nonfiction novel, and not a chronicle of the events surrounding a hellish storm.
this is not the "In Cold Blood" of the "perfect storm", but it is a carefully researched and respectful overview of the perils of longshore fishing, and six men who died in the service of that industry, and for that, it is wonderful, and nearly as powerfully crushing as the storm that inadvertently inspired it.
these men, and these rescuers, and these stories, and this storm, don't need a novelistic narrative. they need, and deserve, what they've gotten here- a narrative as direct as the jobs they perform.
(addendum- the only edition i found readable was the trade paper, i.e., this edition. something about the publication quality, i think, although it may have been the fact that they finally deigned to include photos in this one. seeing the faces really helps to put it all in perspective.)
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am 1. Juli 2000
"Going to sea is going to prison, with a chance of drowning besides." -- Samuel Johnson
In October of 1991, the six man crew of the swordfishing vessel Andrea Gail was lost at sea off the cost of Nova Scotia in what meteorologists describe as "a perfect storm." A perfect storm can be defined as "the meshing of three completely independent weather systems to form a hundred-year event." In other words, one plenty scary boat ride, which only occurs only once a century.
As Sebastian Junger tells the story, the crew of the Andrea Gail probably didn't have a chance. He can't be sure exactly how this swordfishing boat went down, but he offers a probable scenario, based on careful analysis of the events leading up to that fatal tempest.
Swordfishing is a brutal vocation. According to Junger "more people are killed each year on fishing boats, per capita than in any other job in the United States." It's safer to be a New York cop or a fireman parachuting into a forest fire. But as one fisherman's wife explains, the job has a strong hold on the men: "People get possessed with church or God and fishing's just another thing they're possessed with." The possibility of earning five grand in a single month doesn't drive them away either.
In addition to the Andrea Gail's fate, Junger details the struggles of several other vessels and even one rescue operation which goes awry when a National Guard helicopter fails to refuel over stormy seas. Junger's description of the concerted intricacies a rescue operation entails reads like a Tom Clancy novel. Additionally, Junger schools us in the uncertain science of meteorology, the intimate mathematics of waves, and the sad, surprisingly swift anatomy of drowning.
The Perfect Storm was fortunate enough to be released shortly after Jon Krakauer's bestseller Into Thin Air hit the shelves, and the two books share some similarities. Both books began as articles in Outside magazine. Both serve as riveting accounts of nature overwhelming man (with human error certainly qualifying as a contributing factor). A significant difference: whereas Krakauer's first-hand experience lent his subject resonance, Junger relies solely on research to tell his story. Fortunately, he casts his smart, punchy writing in the present tense, restoring some of the immediacy his account might otherwise lack.
Storm is more than just Into Thin Air at sea; it's a meticulously researched effort and, Junger says, "as complete an account as possible of something that can never be fully known." At times Junger may get too bogged down in details. He's so interested in the subject, he finds it hard to part with any of the facts he's gleaned (Of course, critics leveled that criticism at Herman Melville's big fish story, too). If you enjoyed Into Thin Air, however, you'll certainly enjoy plunging into The Perfect Storm.
Robert Stribley
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am 18. Juni 2000
I could not wait to read this book. I am often attracted to true stories of tradgedy, or hardship, but this book, and everything that was said about it was not only a tremendous dissapointment, but incredibly misleading. A story about a group of men, and their harrowing tale of life on the sea? Nope. Not even close. I think I would have been more inclined to enjoy the story, had it been printed in Field and Stream, or some type of periodical. I paddled on, pardon the pun, through the book, and kept on waiting for it to start. Once I realized (fairly quickly) that I was reading a series of random notes on random people Mr. Junger had spoken to in Gloucester, I got angry. Where was the story? Was this a history on whaling? On Sword Fishing? On longliners or tankers? On other boats experiences? About oceanography? Topography? Geography? Nuclear Weapons Testing? You decide, because it's all crammed into this book, in random order, unstructured, a total, confusing mess for the reader. The seafaring terms in the book were incredibly confusing, especial if you are like myself, who doesn't know what the difference is between a hull, or a fore or an aft, or a fos's'le... any of it. I would have found some sort of gloassary of terms helpful, but instead, I called my brother who was a student at Mass Maritime. The book was not billed truthfully, it's not a story, it's a stream of consciousness, a series of notes scrawled on a pad, an article on fishing. I would also like to comment on the editor of this book... oh wait, no one edited it, because I still find it so hard to even believe for one second that a publishing house not only picked up this manuscript, let alone let it out to the masses like this. I wonder if any heads rolled on this one?
Does this mean the movie is a documentary?
To sum up: Huge dissapointment, wait for the movie, or don't bother reading it.
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am 10. Juni 2000
Who hasn't dreamt of leaving the safe confines of terra firma, for the endless mystery of the sea? Who has not wondered what would it require to leave the endless responsibilty of the "real world" behind, to set out upon the water? The answers to these questions are for more complex than one would hope, or even expect. On the eve of a major motion picture, Sebastion's Jungers harrowing tale of the everyday hero against a very angry Mother Nature, will probably see a renewed interest at the bookstore. Even for those who read it when it first appeared, a second look is well worth the effort. The Perfect Storm is almost a perfect book. It is not the most artfully drafted composition, nor does it carry an earth shattering message. Rather, it is a simple tale of working men who set to sea to earn a living, and in doing so, risk their lives every time their boat leaves its dock for another expedition. We are introduced to the families of these men, and we learn firsthand the anxiety and trepidation that comes with loving someone who risks death on a daily basis. Yet, The Perfect Storms truly comes alive when the Andrea Gale (the boat at the heart of the tale) encounters a tremndous storm. The reader is then taken on a ride of breathtaking proportions. The description of what takes places during a hurricane at sea, as well as the mechanics and actions during a Coast Guard rescue mission are simply fascinating. Not to be overlooked is a short but unforgettable description of what happens to a person when they drown. It will leave you breathing deep and savoring every breath fromn that point on. The Perfect Storm does what any adventure should do...it makes you care about its characters; it makes you care about what they care about, and in the end, it makes you mourn their loss. This is a book that should find its place on any landlocked boater's bookshelf, as well as any family member of someone who looks to the sea to earn a living. It will bring true understanding to such a demanding line of work. I can only hope that the movie can do the book justice. And I look to the next investigation that Junger will so elegantly share with us. Kudos to Men's Journal Magazine for running the original story that became the premise for The Perfect Storm.
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