The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

Published July 16, 2021

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

Book info

  • Title The Perfect Storm
  • Author Sebastian Junger
  • Year 1997
  • Genre Non-fiction

The ‘perfect storm’ is a once-in-a-hundred-years combination: a high pressure system from the Great Lakes, running into storm winds over an Atlantic island – Sable Island – and colliding with a weather system from the Caribbean: Hurricane Grace. This is the story of that storm, told through the accounts of individual fishing boats caught up in the maelstrom, their families waiting anxiously for news of their return, the rescue services scrambled to save them. It is the story of the old battle between the fisherman and the sea, between man and Nature, that awesome and capricious power which can transform the surface of the Atlantic into an impossible tumult of water walls and gaping voids, with the capacity to break an oil tanker in two.


Reading this book was a very similar experience to watching the movie - it was a somehow riveting and tense read but at the same time just highlights how dangerous and ultimately fruitless these endeavours are. Why are so many fishermen doing this? Regardless, though, the book is great. Piecing together the events of the storm from interviews with survivors and family members, from a variety of boats and rescue crews. Unlike the film, there’s no definitive ending to the story of the Andrea Gail, no one knows what happened, so Junger pieces together his best guess given the information we do have.

The only complaint about this book is there seemed to be more and more grammatical and formatting errors that started to creep in, like the proof-reading had started out okay but gradually got bored and phoned it in. At first it was easy to overlook the oddities but they got more irritating as the read went on. Worth persevering though.

Rating: 4 / 5

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