Matt's Reviews > The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
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's review
Dec 05, 2008

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bookshelves: non-fiction, 2008
Read in December, 2008 , read count: 1

The Perfect Storm couldn't have been an easy book to write. It is supposed to be the story of the ill-fated Andrea Gale's last voyage. Unfortunately for Junger nobody but the crew of the Andrea Gale know what happened leading up to, and during, their last moments.

And Junger, instead of presenting a hypothesis in a manner that relies slightly on some artistic liscense, addresses moments on the Andrea Gale by more or less bullet-pointing conjecture between passages of experiences of Gloucester fishermen and events that have happened throughout the history of fishing.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of it is entertaining. But there is only so many specifics about storms and boats I can read through without getting a little bored. For example, Junger describes the engine room of the Andrea Gale in the manner of someone sitting and looking at a photograph instead of just putting the photograph in his book.

I call padding, Junger.

The conclusion is that Junger doesn't know the men aboard the Andrea Gale well enough to spin even a little fact-guided BS. It's something that would have helped The Perfect Storm monumentally. I can't imagine it would have been as disrespectful as hypothesising what went through their minds as they were dying (which he does).

The saving grace for The Perfect Storm however, occurs after the Andrea Gale sinks and Junger starts recounting stories from survivors plucked from the sea by the incredible American Coastguard and National Guard pararescue jumpers. Those guys are hardcore. It's a shame they were relegated to second billing. Their stories definitely deserve a book of their own.

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