The worst storm in history seen from the wheelhouse of a doomed fishing trawler; a mesmerisingly vivid account of a natural hell from a perspective that offers no escape.
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.
In spare, lyrical prose ‘The Perfect Storm’ describes what happened when the Andrea Gail looked into the wrathful face of the perfect storm.
‘(It) will become a classic for a jaded modern world.’ The Independent
‘[Sebastian Junger] writes like a poet who has been to meteorology school.’ Ruth Rendell
‘Terrifying, sad, exhilarating, humbling and unforgettable.’ Daily Mail
‘A magnificent sea-yarn…it deserves to storm these shores.’ Observer
About the author
Sebastian Junger grew up in New England and has worked as a tree-feller, Bosnian correspondent, journalist and adventurer. His first book, ‘The Perfect Storm’, spent over four years on the bestseller lists and its film adaptation was a huge box-office success. Junger has been contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and winner of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He has also written for magazines including Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, and National Geographic Adventure.
In meteorological jargon, a "perfect storm" is one unsurpassed in ferocity and duration--a description that fits the so-called Halloween Gale of October 1991 in the western Atlantic. Junger, who has written for American Heritage and Outside, masterfully handles his account of that storm and its devastation. He begins with a look at the seedy town of Gloucester, Mass., which has been sliding downhill ever since the North Atlantic fishing industry declined, then focuses his attention on the captain and the five-man crew of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing vessel. He then charts the storm--particularly formidable because three storms had converged from the south, the west and the north--that created winds up to 100 miles an hour and waves that topped 110 feet. He reconstructs what the situation must have been aboard the ship during the final hours of its losing battle with the sea, and the moments when it went down with the loss of all hands. He recaps the courageous flight of an Air National Guard helicopter, which had to be ditched in the ocean--leaving one man dead while the other four were rescued--then returns to Gloucester and describes the reaction to the loss of the Andrea Gail. Even with the inclusion of technical information, this tale of the "Storm of the Century" is a thrilling read and seems a natural for filming. BOMC main selection and QPB selection; Reader's Digest Today's Best Nonfiction selection; first serial to Esquire; $235,000 paperback floor; simultaneous Random House Audio; British rights: Fourth Estate.