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Book Report -- The Perfect Storm
The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
Because of the recommendations by Foondoggy and Stephen Lear (Jet), I decided to check out the book, "The Perfect Storm" by Sebastian Junger. Incredible true story of ships caught in a storm with open ocean swells estimated at 100 feet!
The book started off a bit slow, laying out the background of the commercial fishermen's lifestyle, focusing on the crew's lives. It ends with the probable fate of the doomed ship, along with some incredible rescue stories of other boats caught in the storm. I ended up having to read the book parts at a time, but the dizzying end kept me engrossed throughout.
The descriptions of the waves were truly horrifying, especially for surfers and fishermen. Big Waimea or Mavericks pale in comparison to these behemoth open-ocean swells. Just mind-boggling. And to think I got seasick while bottom-fishing at night in Hawaii in two-to-four foot seas!
I got into a dialog with J.F. Milliken, aka Doc, who is a commercial fishermen from those parts, and he said the account of the lifestyle was right on target. It has to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S..
Junger wrote the book in the present tense storytelling mode, which really annoyed me. But Doc explained that it might’ve been done this way because these commercial fishermen only live for the present.
In the book, they mention a guy by the name of Howard Blackburn. An account can be found on a Howard Blackburn web page. This is the story about him that Doc relayed to me:
They mention that Blackburn rowed five days with frostbitten hands from the Banks to shore, but they don't mention why he's the commercial fisherman's hero. So-
The Perfect Storm has since become a national bestseller (nonfiction--I found it at the local Borders Books in the transportation section!). Junger, who coincidentally does a bit of surfing, has already secured a movie contract for the story.
If you appreciate the power of the ocean, you will love this book.
W.W. Norton and Company
The Perfect Storm Foundation