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The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  80,562 Ratings  ·  1,327 Reviews
A real-life thriller that leaves us with the taste of salt on our tongues and a terror of the deep.

It was the storm of the century - 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 Bill
Paperback, 248 pages
Published June 29th 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1997)
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David Hollywood My view is that your 10 year old is too young for the book and maybe wait until he is mid-teens because the detail in the book can be terrifying. I…moreMy view is that your 10 year old is too young for the book and maybe wait until he is mid-teens because the detail in the book can be terrifying. I only just saw your request today so please forgive the delay in replying.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Oct 12, 2016 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"There was no God to turn to for mercy. There was no government to provide order. Civilization was ancient history... Inside the ship, as the heel increased, even the most primitive social organization, the human chain, crumbled apart. Love only slowed people down. A pitiless clock was running. The ocean was completely in control..."
-- William Langewiesche, A Sea Story

On October 28, 1991, the fishing vessel Andrea Gail and her crew of six men disappeared off the Grand Banks in a tremendous stor
Dannii Elle
"How do men act on a sinking ship? Do they hold each other? Do they pass around the whisky? Do they cry?"

This is the heartbreaking true account of the last moments of those aboard the fateful last voyage of the Andrea Gail, the swordfish boat caught in the heart of the ocean during one of the worst storms to hit the North American eastern seaboard, in October 1991.

This book was more of a factual account, attempting to recreate the last days and the possible thoughts and actions of those who sadl
Jr Bacdayan
Mar 09, 2013 Jr Bacdayan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"All collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it had five thousand years ago." - Moby Dick.

I have a special bond with this story. My first encounter with "The Perfect Storm" was through watching the movie. I still remember that movie clearly on my mind even though I haven't watched it for a few years now. It's even easily in my top-ten favorite movies of all time list. I simply loved it. As a child I had always been terrified of the ocean and all its dangers. Strangely though, I
Oct 04, 2007 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I thought this would be a pretty interesting book - I had vaguely heard the story when the movie came out, although I haven't seen the movie.

The Perfect Storm is a great name for the book, as the book revolved around the storm that took out the Andrea Gail. It gave a lot of good information about fishing, but overall I wasn't impressed by the book, especially when it concerns the Andrea Gail. The synopsis on the back of the book annoyed me, because I thought the book was going to be entirely abo
Feb 07, 2014 Bobbi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Since the Mayflower, my relatives were fisherman around Gloucester, making this book a fascinating read for me. I remember my great grandfather talking about cod fishing on the Grand Banks and the storms that sank friends' boats. Not long after I read the book, I was staying in a bed and breakfast in the small town of Scituate down the Massachusettes coast, and the movie was playing in a tiny theater across the street, so I went. When I came out, it was pitch black and a huge thunderstorm had co ...more
Jul 08, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't mind being depressed and are interested in MA and maritime history
This was pretty good and read really quickly, especially toward the end. The quite drawn-out description of what it's like to drown was terrifying, as well as the description of what the ocean is like in a storm like that. I'm scared of the ocean so I found it oddly fascinating in a horrific way. I also thought that the very real importance of dreams and premonitions was described in the book--crewmen would get a "bad feeling" about going out with a boat and family members would dream about love ...more
Dec 05, 2007 Eva rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had heard that this book was good but I thought it was sort of boring. I don't know anything about boating and I think you have to have some boating knowledge before reading this book. There are pages and pages of descriptions about what a swordfishing boat looks like, using words I had never even heard of! It would have been helpful if there was a diagram of the boat, just as there was a map of the Atlantic at the beginning of the book that was a great reference. What I did like about the boo ...more
Jan 20, 2009 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-2009
I was motivated to read this book after I fell in love with authors like Krakauer and Pierce who wrote books on real, chaotic events that have inspired many. For example, Krakauer writes about mountain climbing experiences and experiences in the snow while Pierce wrote about a plane crash in the Andes where the survivors struggled to make it back home. After being fascinated by the way these authors wrote about tragic events that always left me in suspense I thought The Perfect Storm would be th ...more
This book whose title added another phrase to our lexicon is classic non-fiction: a collection of unrelated true stories, interwoven with essays examining everything from ocean rescues, to deadly occupations, to the line-fishing industry, to weather patterns of the Atlantic Ocean. Where the movie cuts most of this and focuses on the ill-fated vessel at the center of the storm, the book does what books do so well---it explores the issues and colors in the background, never forgetting to keep buil ...more
Feb 24, 2016 AH rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a review of the audio book which I downloaded for free from the Sync Audio summer reading program last summer. (If you haven't had a chance to use this program, go to and register).

Remember that movie with George Clooney and Mark Walhberg? This is the book that inspired that movie. While the book doesn't really have any sexy movie stars, it does pay homage to the fishermen and rescue workers alike. The Perfect Storm is the story of the Andrea Gale, a fishing bo
Nov 04, 2012 Katrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After turning the last page of this book I had to take a deep breath and stretch my tense muscles. Moments ago I was in the cold ocean with a handful of men. I was with a little boy missing his father. I was dreaming about a lover lost at sea. This book takes the reader with it. It's a book you experience rather than read.
Richard Davidson did a good job narrating this nonfiction book. However, I found that I had difficulty keeping track of what was being told in audiobook (because my auditory memory is not as good as my visual one). I rewound and relistened to several parts because of that & eventually got a print edition from the library to skim while listening -- that combination worked well for me.

Because of this difficulty I would say the audiobook was 3.5 stars but an extra star was added due to the ad
Keith Bowden
I absolutely hated this book. It's just over 200 pages but it took me more than three weeks to force myself to complete it; I hated the author's style so much that whenever I could bring myself to read a few pages, I started looking for something to distract me.

Beyond stylistic preferences, I had problems with its structure. First off, it was entirely written in the present tense, making it sound like a sports play-by-play commentary. This is a very clumsy approach; the only thing worse is writi
Dec 12, 2011 05kayleeh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you are someone who loves to read fact after fact, tons of boat history, and a book that has at least five different perspectives that the story is told in, in the first 20 pages, then this is the book for you.

"The Perfect Storm" Starts with Bobby and his girlfriend, Christian, sleeping. They wake up, and they round up their gang. Then they all head to a bar. Bobby and his friends drink and drink, and drink some more. Afterward, everyone in the group, not including Christian, go to the sword
Jan 02, 2009 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Junger’s book, The Perfect Storm, documents the storm and the disappearance of a sword fishing boat, The Andrea Gail, which took place off of the Massachusetts coast in the early 1990s. The Andrea Gail set out several days prior to the storm beginning and was having very bad luck finding swordfish. The captain of the boat, Billy Tyne, refused to return home empty handed and so he decided to sail farther out to sea in order to find the swordfish. After completing a successful swordfish run, Tyne ...more
I had mixed feelings about this book, but I would recommend it to just about anyone. The history and dangers of commercial fishing off the treacherous waters of New England/the north Atlantic are well expounded; full of fascinating facts and anecdotes. But Junger was faced with a fundamental problem with this book that I'm not sure he was able to overcome satisfactorily: and that's that he spends a good deal of time getting us intimate with a large cast of characters--the fishermen and loved one ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Darren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-life
I saw the trailer to the film adaptation of this and immediately had to find the book. I bought it one day before a train journey and started it as soon as I sat down. All I can say is that I rode the length of the line back and forth for most of the day until I had finished the book. It was one of the most dramatic, interesting and powerful books I had ever read.

I still reread "storm" every couple of years as its power rarely diminishes. This is a wonderful book expertly executed. The balance b
Nov 10, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, shipwrecks
I think anyone who has ever made a Coast Guard joke should read this book. Just saying.

Part nature book, part adventure, part tragedy, part fish - the book is a pretty good much. It is somewhat slow to start, but when it does take off, it takes off.
Curtis Edmonds
Aug 25, 2016 Curtis Edmonds rated it liked it
The axe was invented sometime in the third century BC by a Sumerian peasant named Axherasus, and bears his name. At that time, however, it was used solely for cutting down cypress trees. It wasn't until the fourth century that the terrible Carpathian warriors of Asia Minor thought to use it against the Roman legions in battle, and soon warriors armed with axes were chopping off heads left and right throughout the Empire. However, the axe wasn't officially adopted as a method for execution until ...more
Larry Bassett
Aug 20, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
After I read War , I wanted to read something else by this author Sebastian Junger. I am surprised that he wasn’t out on the boat during the storm! He likes to be where the action is. Crazy man. Good writer.

Since a well known movie was made from this book in 2000, many readers will know roughly what happens before they start the book. That creates an interesting dynamic for the reader. (view spoiler)
Joaquin Garza
No estoy enteramente convencido de que La tormenta perfecta sea la obra maestra de la no ficción y el periodismo (bastante especulativo) que muchos claman. Si bien Junger y Krakauer son los dos maestros indiscutibles del drama de la vida real (o ‘no ficción de exteriores’), este esfuerzo en particular me pareció bastante desequilibrado:

1) Junger logró con esta obra darle un ritmo narrativo y ágil a una serie de acontecimientos que contados de otro modo habrían sido bastante aburridos o f
F.E.  Feeley Jr.
Aug 22, 2016 F.E. Feeley Jr. rated it it was amazing
Okay, so I came back to this review after a few days of thinking about it and deleted the whole thing. The brief little blurb I wrote didn't give the book justice. So, here I am again. I loved this movie when it came out. There's something about the ocean that calls to me. And I am sure every hippie on earth has said that at some point in their life.
I digress.
This book is several things.
It's a biography of them on the Andrea Gail.
It's a historical piece about the fishing industry.
It's a cra
Michael Poor
Jul 07, 2011 Michael Poor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What would you do if you went to work one day and were thrust into a hell beyond imagining? What would you do if you had little to no hope of coming through that day alive?

This possibility is surely branded in the psyches of anyone who makes his or her living from the sea, where dangers — both human-made and natural — lurk literally at all deceptively serene points of the compass. But you go on because you have to — because it's what puts food on your table, and because there's always the chance
Ann Amadori
I read this book because I had read 3 by Linda Greenlaw, a fisherman who, at the time of this storm was captain of the Hannah Boden, sister boat to the Andrea Gail which was lost in the storm. She is mentioned numerous times in the book and was portrayed in the movie, The Perfect Storm, by Mary Stuart Masterson. I am intrigued by her lifestyle and thought it would be interesting to learn more about the people who fish hundreds of miles offshore - it takes a week to get to the Outer Banks off New ...more
Aug 05, 2011 Carrie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing book. This account of a true story has so much potential, but it reads like it was written by a meteorologist who has had some nautical training. Junger often writes in the subjunctive, which confused me as to whether or not the events he describes actually happened, or if he is just describing the worst-case scenario. It reminds me of a cross between a history text book and a novel (with the emphasis on the former), as if Junger can't decide which genre to use. The characters are ...more
Book Concierge
2.5 stars

It's an interesting book but not so gripping as Isaac's Storm. Still, I learned more about fluid dynamics, the physics of meteorology, and the fishing industry. I'm glad I read it, but I'm not actually recommending it to anyone.
Dec 05, 2014 Allan rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
While this book was interesting to me on a human level, I found myself lost on more than one occasion when the author got technical, either from an engineering, meteorological or fishing point of view. I bought the book as an Audible Daily Deal and actually thought it was fiction. Not one that I'll be rushing to recommend to others.
ravioli panic
i read this after "into thin air" and other than the fact that people died, which is clearly sad, i thought this was a real snooze. i guess my fondness for books about outdoor crap only extends so far :(
Sep 28, 2016 Barakiel rated it it was amazing
THIS is what all non-fiction accounts should be like. Factual and still dramatic and interesting. Excellent job by the journalistic author

I must admit, I went into this book wondering what it was going to be about. Because, of course, no one knows what happened on the Andrea Gail, so how was the author going to fill the book? He did an admirable job.

1. Factual and honest
2. Interesting
3. Respectful of the deceased and the people who grieve for them
4. Includes many short stories about fisherm
Nic Salzwedel
Mar 03, 2016 Nic Salzwedel rated it it was amazing

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea written by Sebastian Junger, is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories I have ever read. At times, I had to remind myself that what I was reading was actually a true story. This book is about a crew aboard the fisherman’s ship known as the Andrea Gail that got caught in what has been referred to by meteorologists as “The Perfect Storm.” Although the storm has a glamorous name, it was actually a terrible one. The perfect combination
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Review 1 12 Jun 28, 2014 08:37AM  
The Perfect Storm 14 87 Feb 12, 2014 09:13PM  
Books are my life...: The Perfect Storm 14 13 Apr 28, 2013 05:50AM  
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Sebastian Junger is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of War, The Perfect Storm, Fire, and A Death in Belmont. Together with Tim Hetherington, he directed the Academy Award-nominated film Restrepo, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. He lives in New Yo ...more
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“How do men act on a sinking ship? Do they hold each other? Do they pass around the whisky? Do they cry?” 20 likes
“There are houses in Gloucester where grooves have been worn into the floorboards by women pacing past an upstairs window, looking out to sea.” 4 likes
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