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Hungry Ocean

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  5,037 ratings  ·  350 reviews
Hungry Ocean by Linda Greenlaw. Hyperion Books,1999
Published January 1st 1999 by Hyperion
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Will Byrnes
In The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger offered Greenlaw a shout-out, describing her as “one of the best sea captains, period, on the East Coast.” The Hungry Ocean is Greenlaw’s story. She offers a reasonable share of personal history, tells of the social up and down sides to spending so much of her life on the water, communicates effectively her love of the sea, but most of all, this book give us detailed descriptions of what it is to work as a fisherman. There is a sometimes painful level of de ...more
I know a bit about long-lining and swordfishing, and I sailed the Atlantic with some friends in a small yacht some time ago, so this book has always interested me. And now I've read it.

It's very technical, but I liked that.

Review to come.
Debbie Zapata
Thanks to GR friend Ladiibbug for sending me this book!

The Hungry Ocean is another glimpse into the world of swordfishing, and was just as entertaining as the last Greenlaw book I read, All Fishermen Are Liars, although I have to admit that there was sometimes a little too much technical information for me. The detailed passages about compass headings and specialized equipment were relevant, but I do tend to fall prey to schools of brain farts when I try to read such things.

The main thread of t
Aug 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
Best feminist book (previously said "novel" in error) ever. Linda doesn't talk about doing a man's job, she has always just gone out and done it. Her monologue on why she is a fisherman and not a fisherwoman sums exactly why I think most feminists are not worth listening to.

"... and shook my head at his use of the word fisherwoman. I hate the term, and can never understand why people think I would be offended by being called a fisherman. I have often been confused by terms such as "male nurse,"
Clare O'Beara
I enjoyed this memoir from a swordboat captain who describes herself as a fisherman. The conditions and workload vary from delightful to overwhelming; near the end of the trip her crew is almost ready to mutiny to get back to harbour - but not quite, because they are all there to catch fish. While Greenlaw is rare in being a female captain she says it drives her to work harder, and she appears to get the respect she has earned.

Greenlaw tells us there are plenty of swordfish and her industry and
This is one grand lady who redefines the definition of that term. Fiercely loyal, courageous, yet feminine, she is not confined to societal expectations of what feminity is. If anyone has spent time in the open ocean on a boat, her achievements are even more impressive.
She wrote a fun book basically because of the attention she received from the novel and film, "The Perfect Storm". Everyone wondered "who is this woman" "Is she for real?" She is indeed.
Well-written, fascinating and disturbing. Would you like to hear some of it?

"As the boat came to a stop, I nodded to Carl, who leaned over the rail and grabbed the leader just below the snap. Standing up straight, Carl leaned into the rail with the tops of his legs nd hauled the leader, hand over hand, twisting his upper body to pull with his back and shoulders. Kenny and Ringo appeared at either side of Carl, each with a 16-foot-long-gaff. The gaff poles were 2-inch-diameter oak dowels, and eac
Art Tirrell
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who loves the water

A woman to be admired

Linda Greenlaw captained an American sword boat. By itself, this is an accomplishment worthy of respect. More than that, she became one of the most successful captains in the fleet. And as "The Hungry Ocean" attests, she is also an accomplished writer with a fine eye for detail. I don't say things like this often, but this is a woman who "walks the walk", AND "talks the talk." A woman to be admired.

Forced by international law to fish a thousand miles from their home por

I live in New England now, and we were up in Falmouth, Massachusetts, up on Cape Cod, when my daughter needed to visit a restroom. We made our way into the Falmouth library, and while waiting for her, I noticed a Books for Sale cubby nearby. I picked up Greenlaw's book The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island, and my husband became excited as he knew her from one of his favorite movies, The Perfect Storm. I thoroughly enjoyed it, which led me to this book.

It's rather obvious that this
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoyed <i>The Perfect Storm</i>
Greenlaw is a fisherman — not fisherwoman, as she carefully explains. “ ‘I hate the term, and can never understand why people think I would be offended to be called a fisherman . . . . Fisherwoman isn’t even a word. A fisherman is defined as “one whose employment is to catch fish”. . . . People, women in particular, are generally disappointed when they learn that I have not suffered unduly from being the only woman in what they perceive to be a man’s world. I might be thick-skinned — or just too ...more
Trixie Fontaine
A fast read from a unique perspective. It's a homey book by a working woman (yes, she's got a degree too, but nothing about this book seems "literary"). I reeeeeeally enjoyed it and am sure any Deadliest Catch fan would love it, too (different kind of fishing, but same kind of stories).
Mary Narkiewicz
Well you certainly feel like you've entered the world of deep sea fishing boats and their crew.. I was saddened to read about some of the callous ways they treated the swordfish and the other types of sea creatures they caught such as sharks.. Very brutal and even sadistic.

When she speaks of the sea and how navigating a boat works, it's all interesting .. I love the anecdotes about the crew. I like that the men call her "Ma".. and she is a tough gal who really knows her stuff.
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really interesting book about life as a modern day sea captain. While Linda Greenlaw writes with some very technical nautical language that I could not always follow, I also learned quite a bit about the intricacies of leading a sometimes difficult crew, managing a portion of the ocean among the fleet and the never ending stress of serving both the needs of a ship’s owner and the crew who work for you. The more I read, the more I liked this writer.
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pearl-and-bobby
I wish I liked the Linda Greenlaw portrayed here more than ended up liking her. The book is fair, but I don't fault her for that. At the time she wrote this, she was simply not a writer. And for someone who hasn't written much, this book is clear, practical, straightforward, unromantic (except for certain awkward moments, where such romanticism seemed forced). I admire her attitude and her toughness as a person, but I simply did not like this book, despite being a fiend for all literature nautic ...more
Nov 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006
"The Hungry Ocean" written by Swordfish Captain Linda Greenlaw, details one of her 30 day swordfishing expeditions. Greenlaw describes the preparations she makes before leaving on the trip; the personalities of the men accompanying her on the trip; how she decides where they are going to do the actual fishing; the fishing itself and the equipment used; how she decides when the fishing trip is over; and finally, shows a receipt detailing the money spent on the trip and how much money each fisherm ...more
Kasey Jane
Back in 2004, I was a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat up in Bristol Bay. My experience was pretty different from the one that Greenlaw described -- we were gill netting close to shore, not long lining in international waters -- but it was still fun to reminisce.

I liked the technical details of the fishery, unlike a few reviewers apparently. I am confused why someone would read about a highly-technical field if they didn't want to be confronted with the details of that field? Oh right, beca
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: girl-power
An enjoyable read and a chance to get a real inside glimpse of the world of commercial fishing boats. I did find some of the technical language challenging, because I kept forgetting how she had explained terms in the previous chapter. I have always known I am not cut out for a life at sea, even though I don't get seasick, and the stories of fish guts and long nights and little sleep and limited hot water or time to myself reinforced that idea. I would prefer to just sit by the water and read bo ...more
Dec 07, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't recommend this to anybody. There were a couple parts in this book that made my skin crawl. And it had a lot of technical information about fishing, which I care nothing about. Linda Greenlaw talks and acts like a man. She seems to have divorced herself from her feelings about the living creatures that she is fishing. I understand the need for fishing, but I would like to think that they do it as humanely as possible. As this book made clear, they don't. And, in fact, she even describe ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Linda Greenlaw is the Captain of a sword fishing boats. She and her five man crew are out on the sea for thirty day, working ten of those days for twenty one hours in a row. Linda describes what is like to be on the boat, the ups and downs of trying to fish and to keep the crew happy and healthy. She is very open and honest. You can feel her pride and drive as she tries to prove herself on the open sea.
Taken from the book"Finding a productive piece of water and protecting it from encroachers is
Barbara ★
I needed to read a non-fiction book for a challenge and since I love fishing, I thought this would be great. And it was except that I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, big mistake. She read so fast that she ran all the chapters together and stumbled again and again over the simplest words. Even so, I found this book to be very exciting and and since I do fish, I was able to understand all the terminology and equipment. An excellent account of a memorable swordfishing trip in the Atl ...more
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The "Hungry Ocean" by Linda Greenlaw was a book that I could pick up and read again over and over. Myself, I love the ocean and fishing, so this book fits right in there. I didn't really think their were any downsides to this book because even in the beginning it got right into the story there was no waiting and I love to read books that jump right in and I'm sure you do too. "Anyone who loves the sea will love this book."
-Sebastian Junger
Very descriptive and informative, well-written and interesting. No one cared about Linda Greenlaw until after they read (or, more likely, until after they saw) "The Perfect Storm" but she tells her stories in her own voice and they are fascinating -even if you have no interest in swordfishing at all.
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read this for Community Read - okay, I read up to about page 140 and then skimmed the remainder. Why should I suffer any more than I have to?
She's a woman. I'm a woman. And that's all good - and that's all that is good about this book.
Allen Steele
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good on the tech side of swordfish fishing. the stories that Linda tells are great! Especially about a new greenhorn. the pro's & con's were eye opening, had no idea the detail and preparation it took! good book. ...more
Robert Hyde
The book I will be discussing in this review is, The Hungry Ocean, written by Linda Greenlaw. The book is a memoir depicting her experiences on her expedition as the captain swordfishing boat. Though the female character is the captain of the ship, the book clearly shows that she is vessel surrounded by ocean as an individual because she is surrounded by men. I will say she quite obviously gets along and fits in with them while inserting her dominance over the lower crew members.
Linda Greenlaw
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mer by: Book Nook Decatur shelf
At times the level detail is hard to see clearly in the mind's eye but already knowing some of the terminology and boat parts, and rereading at a slower pace got me thru.

My mind is not geared to record and replay detail -mine records 'the gyst' of the scene and what was said, and the emotions- so it amazes me to read the level of detail that's remembered years later; every body motion, every look, that would have been remembered after revisiting her log books, is incredible to me. I"m sure this
Jun 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to learn all the technical details of swordfish fishing in the North Atlantic - how to find the fish, bait the lines, catch and freeze the fish, feed the crew, stay away from storms, etc - you will enjoy this book. I read it for bookclub, and I found parts of it fascinating while I quickly skimmed other parts. Had it been a documentary on TV, I would have fast forwarded or used those parts to go rummage in the pantry for some snack. That said, it did give me a new appreciation for pe ...more
Sharon Wishnow-Ritchey
Greenlaw's fascinating and candid memoir as a swordfish boat captain brought a world to life for me. Her leadership, strength, determination, and seamanship skills are described in her skillful prose. She peppers her recollections with fascinating, approachable technical details, raw, authentic language, and an appreciation for her profession and the ocean. As she says, she's not a fisherwoman, she's a fisherman who happens to be a woman. As with many male-dominated professions, she's had to wor ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m so very glad this was my last full book of the year. Whether you participate in reading goals for the year or not (I always have - for 2018 I’m not), I truly believe you should start and and the year with books that are just for you. If you’re lucky, they will be worth the read.

This is worth the read. It’s simple and straight forward. Fishing runs on both sides of our family (my husband’s saltwater, commercial and pleasure; mine, freshwater, all pleasure). It was very interesting to see what
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With every chapter, you can feel the swells of the ocean & the smell of fish being dragged aboard. This was one of the most "atmospheric" books I've read in a long time, certainly the best in non-fiction. This book is a gem, full of detailed descriptions you don't get lost in, you just experience them. I learned way more about fishing & the tremendous amount of work that goes into putting food on our tables! Ms. Greenlaw really showed a high quality of writing ability to tell a tale very early o ...more
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Linda Greenlaw's three bestselling books about life as a commercial fisherman -- THE HUNGRY OCEAN (1999), THE LOBSTER CHRONICLES (2002) and ALL FISHERMEN ARE LIARS (2004) -- have climbed as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is the winner of the U.S. Maritime Literature Award in 2003, and the New England Book Award for nonfiction in 2004. Time Magazine called her 2005 RECIPES FR ...more

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