In meteorological jargon, a ""perfect storm"" is one unsurpassed in ferocity and duration--a description that fits the so-called Halloween Gale of October 1991 in the western Atlantic. Junger, who has written for American Heritage and Outside, masterfully handles his account of that storm and its devastation. He begins with a look at the seedy town of Gloucester, Mass., which has been sliding downhill ever since the North Atlantic fishing industry declined, then focuses his attention on the captain and the five-man crew of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing vessel. He then charts the storm--particularly formidable because three storms had converged from the south, the west and the north--that created winds up to 100 miles an hour and waves that topped 110 feet. He reconstructs what the situation must have been aboard the ship during the final hours of its losing battle with the sea, and the moments when it went down with the loss of all hands. He recaps the courageous flight of an Air National Guard helicopter, which had to be ditched in the ocean--leaving one man dead while the other four were rescued--then returns to Gloucester and describes the reaction to the loss of the Andrea Gail. Even with the inclusion of technical information, this tale of the ""Storm of the Century"" is a thrilling read and seems a natural for filming. BOMC main selection and QPB selection; Reader's Digest Today's Best Nonfiction selection; first serial to Esquire; $235,000 paperback floor; simultaneous Random House Audio; British rights: Fourth Estate. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/28/1997 Release date: 05/01/1997 Genre: Nonfiction
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