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Publisher's Summary

Man’s struggle against the sea is a theme that has created some of the world’s most exciting stories. Now, in the tradition of Moby Dick comes a New York Times best seller destined to become a modern classic. Written by journalist Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm combines an intimate portrait of a small fishing crew with fascinating scientific data about boats and weather systems. In late October, North Atlantic seas are unpredictable. Still, one last good swordfish catch is a chance to start the winter with a fat wallet. As Captain Billy Tyne steers his 72-foot longboat Andrea Gail toward the Grand Banks, growing weather fronts are moving toward the same waters. The Andrea Gail is sailing into the storm of the century, one with 100 mile per hour winds and waves cresting over 110 feet. As each man on the boat faces this ultimate foe, Sebastian Junger gives the account an immediacy that fills The Perfect Storm with suspense and authenticity. Narrator Richard M. Davidson’s reading adds further drama to this unforgettable sea adventure. An interview with the author concludes the audiobook.

©1997 Sebastian Junger (P)1998 Recorded Books

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What listeners say about The Perfect Storm

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Fact is better than Fiction

Any additional comments?

My favorite thing about Sebastian Junger's book "The Perfect Storm" was that it wasn't fictionalized in any way, which can make the task of reconstructing the last few days of six men on a fishing vessel very difficult. But through a thoughtful examination of the events on and off of the Andrea Gail, Junger recreates the gripping story of what happened in late October 1991. It was known as the Perfect Storm - a freak meteorological marriage of two weather events that culminated in wave heights over 100 feet, sustained winds of 75mph, and over $200 million in damage along the eastern seaboard.

Great narration and an interesting, hair-raising story.

22 people found this helpful

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Great story, better than the movie

This is one of the few books I have listened to several times because it is so well researched and the narrator is excellent! Jungar did a great job with this story and it will always be one of the classic true stories.

16 people found this helpful

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Puts The Movie In The Shade Without A Doubt!

I will never look at the fish on my plate in the same way again. Of course I am sure that that logically we are fully aware of how our fish gets from the ocean to our kitchens however personally I live in my own 'La la land' as my personal fisherman is the yellow PVC clad Gorton's fisherman.

I really wish that I had read the book before seeing the movie as no matter how much I tried the movie kept on 'popping up' into my head. However I did try and listen to it with more of a 'blank canvas attitude'.

What a superb read. Not only a story of brave men, the people who love them and their sad fate but interspersed with so much information as to how these types of natural disasters occur.

Sebastian Junger gives a description of the drowning process so poignant yet quite clinical. Answers many questions.

Richard Davidson gives a superb performance that keeps you invested from the first word to the very last.

There is a bonus interview at the end with the author Sebastian Junger. Really interesting stuff.

14 people found this helpful

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Best as a Listen


There are some books and stories that work best for me on Audible. Frank Mueller's narration of Erich Maria Remarque's"All Quiet on the Western Front" (1927/1929) was one - I somehow managed to miss it as assigned high school reading, and had no luck trying to actually read the text. I couldn't follow it until I listened. Stephen King's 2010 "A Good Marriage" was a so-so-so novella narrator Jessica Hecht turned into a wicked, memorable tease in 2014. Now, I'm adding Sebastian Junger's 1997's "The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea" (2014 Audible) to my list.

"The Perfect Storm" was, at the time it was written, a newer approach to writing scientific history. Junger approached a historically significant natural phenomenon by telling the stories of those who lived through it - and those who did not. The book is liberally salted with meteorological history and contains thorough discussions of how storms develop and are sustained. It's interwoven with the personal histories of the people that sailed the seas during that epic storm, and the loved ones they left pacing on widow's walks.

Swordfishing is a difficult life, and the crew of the Andrea Gail worked hard and played hard. Junger traces the lives of the crew members, concentrating especially on Bobby Shatford and his girlfriend, Chris Cotter. Their volatile relationship was a good analogy for the coming storm.

Junger's writing can be dry, but Richard Davidson's narration made the statistics and history lively. Meteorological terms that were unfamiliar to me slipped off his tongue with ease.

I will no longer feel guilty, thinking that I really should finish "The Perfect Storm" every time I dust the paperback that's been sitting on my bookshelf for more than a decade.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

45 people found this helpful

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a really intense oceanography textbook

Technical non-fiction that has awesome moments of humanity and drama.

Definitely for scientific-minded people. If you are interested in the extreme conditions humans have endured to get us here then you won't be disappointed.

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not my cup of tea

I tried hard to enjoy this book, having heard so much about it, but found the use of present tense clumsy and off-putting. Furthermore, the author seemed to meander without definite direction at times. The choice of narrator appeared to accentuate these deficits. I stuck it out for five chapters, but in the end could not force myself to listen any further.

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Riveting Book, Mediocre Narration

Would you try another book from Sebastian Junger and/or Richard Davidson?

I recommend other work by Sebastian Junger. I would have to take Davidson on a case by case basis.

What other book might you compare The Perfect Storm to and why?

In the Heart of the Sea for the historic background to Atlantic coastal fishing and as a compelling story in it's own right.

Would you be willing to try another one of Richard Davidson’s performances?

I'd be hesitant.

Any additional comments?

Please do not prejudge the book if you have seen the movie. The two do not compare.

11 people found this helpful

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Read it AFTER the movie - and just as gripping!

I've been wanting to watch again, that long, long Perfect Storm movie, but lately I find myself with more time to listen to books on walks or drives then time to sit down and watch a movie. So I gave the book a try, knowing full well it was non-fiction, and therefore likely less suspenseful, gripping, and dramatic. I was wrong!

Plot and Story-Set Up:
Junger has given us the close thing we can have to an actual narrative-plot line. The tangents he goes off on are usually immediately relevant, educational, and it kept my interest (I think my favorite tangent was Junger's description of how para-jumpers get to their position, what training they undergo, etc.). Sure, there are a few high-school/college lectures one might endure, but you can follow it and Junger knows his audience (ie. he's breaking it down for you). He knows that people like reading about people, and so he invites us into the lives and biographies of the people he's writing about.

Best parts:
I was surprised that my favorite part (by favorite, I don't mean that I was glad that it happened and Junger wrote it down for us, perhaps my most emotionally invested part), and if I'm reading right, what seems to be the climax of the story may not be the Andrea Gail or its sinking (plot spoiler! ;P ), but for me I was more "on the edge of my seat" when he described a rescue attempt of a chopper that had to execute a controlled ditching having not been able to refuel on its flight back. Perhaps it's because of the witnesses and stories that Junger had access too as opposed to the Andrea Gail's conjectured end. It's been so long since I watched the movie, that I don't even know if this whole scene (involving the chopper ditching) was in the movie (I'll be watching the movie again ASAP). If not, I really wish that some company would do a mini-series of The Perfect Storm and cover everything they could from the book. It would have my attention.

Narration / Voice Actor:
A good reader does do wonders for a book, and Richard Diavidson was superb. I felt like I was listening to a true-crime show or something of that nature the whole time, because he has that slightly dramatic (but not overtly so), yet deep and solid voice. This edition (Recorded Books) has a nice interview with Junger in the later 90s at the end of the book and it was a fun behind-the-scenes featurette (only 25 min or so).

Overall:
Junger, in his opening remarks, called this writing a "creative non-fiction," I believe. In the interview at the end, he stated he attempted to reveal that journalism, non-fiction, and facts can be just as gripping as a fictional narration. He accomplished this goal, I believe. If you listen to Audible hoping to be entertained more than informed, this book will entertain I believe just as much as any good narration. I personally couldn't help but envision George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and others, so I felt sad that I wasn't imagining from scratch these real people.

If anything, this book also gave me a good look into a culture foreign to me, and a job that's hard, rigorous, loved and hated by those who are strapped to doing it, and a fearful awe of the sea which always has been and always will be.

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic!

Heartbreakingly wonderful, and could not stop listening. Highly recommend this to anyone. Enjoy and God bless!

1 person found this helpful

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More than just a recitation of incredible true stories

Junger does an excellent job telling the story of a number of key events that occurred during the “no name storm” of 1991. His narrative is detailed and based on interviews with many of the protagonists as well as independent research. What makes this book particularly great is the way Junger weaves in scientific explanations of the weather and other factors that influence the events occurring in the story as well as detailed descriptions of the vessels and aircraft involved in each story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-30-16

Awesome

This is one of the best books I have ever heard. so much info it is out this world!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-28-17

Great listen

I enjoyed the film but the book opened up a whole new world. Well paced, exciting and very informative listen!

1 person found this helpful

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  • JB
  • 10-01-20

Excellent

One of the best books I have listened to. Very informative. The author takes his time to establish what happened without resorting to fiction.

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  • M. Rumpf
  • 09-11-20

riveting

Very much enjoyed it, occasionally had to stop listening as it was quite scary, but it was excellent.

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  • Kieren
  • 08-31-18

Fantastic

I have listened to this audiobook several times and will listen to it again still

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  • Yev
  • 05-18-20

Excellent performance. Very well researched.

Narration was fantastic. Really draws you in. Story was well researched and technical descriptions where excellent.

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  • Matt
  • 02-22-19

A really interesting read

I really enjoyed this story about the toughness and bravery of fishermen from New England. The research and detail provided about the US Coast Guard and the National Guard search and rescue teams was a real insight. I highly recommend this book.