Sebastian Junger starts slowly with the last few land-based days of the doomed crew in New England. The reader is then catapulted in one of the largest North Atlantic storms of the last century. This is a must read for anyone interested in boating, the fishing industry, extreme weather, or New England maritime pride. Junger weaves narrative created from actual witness accounts, shore and boating logs, and friends of those lost at sea.
This book is one that is tandem hand in hand with the popular movie, each reinforcing the other. Of course like most, I saw the movie first. It is refreshing to read the origin of the movie itself in his script and fun to compare the similarities and difference between book and movie. And Junger is from the area of Gloucster, Massachusetts and so this adds an extra edge of realism to his writing. As well, he describes how the idea for the book originated, so budding screenwriters or other authors can really trace the genesis of the whole process by reading his book.
The ragtag group of men of the sword fishing boat The Andrea Gail are profiled, but so are several other potential victims of the great storm. The storm itself was a product of the clash of hurricane, cold front, and other major weather events. Junger retraces their voyage to the Grand Banks and into the North Atlantic.
Anyone interested in the mechanics of boating and issues on environmental fishing will get a generous helping of facts on endangered species, and the dynamics of jobs versus preserving an ever dwindling resource of fish. Junger instructs with a fast-packed introduction to technology including the loran system and temperature and depth readings in commercial fishing.
The only criticism is Junger leaves us wanting more, but that is a job the reader must do on his own to continue the process of discovery in understanding the basic tension of people versus mother nature.
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