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Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  330 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
A Perfect Storm for a new generation, Rachel Slade's Into the Raging Sea is a masterful page-turning account of the El Faro's sinking.”
—Ben Mezrich, bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook

“The one account I’ve read that solves the riddle of El Faro convincingly and thoroughly. Superbly written, Into the Raging Sea deserves a place on th
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Ecco
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Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Over the radio, [Captain Michael] Davidson told his crew to throw their rafts in the water and get off the ship. But how could they even walk out onto the deck in those winds, let alone deploy a life raft? Everything – people, rafts, life suits – would be whipped away by [Hurricane] Joaquin and into the waves, or thrown back against the ship’s steel hull to be crushed. The air was solid with salt and water. You couldn’t breathe out there. The crew probably crowded around the door leading to the ...more
Brenda Ayala
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shelf-awareness
This is very expertly researched and accounts for every bit of the varying events that caused the sinking of the El Faro.

In short, the company TOTE fucked over their crew by having out of date software and hardware. Captain Davidson was more focused on his own career than getting safely to Puerto Rico. Danielle and Schultz were worried about coming on too strong. In short, bad business practice and poor communication between the ranks doomed the ship from the get-go.

The author did a great job o
David V.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received as an ARC via my employer Barnes & Noble. Started 4-9-18. Finished 4-12-18. Investigative journalism at its best. Will keep you involved from beginning to end like a good fiction book but it's all true. The sinking of this cargo ship and the deaths of its crew could have been avoided but for the ignorance, apathy, greed, and emotional instability of the parties involved. This book should be used as a textbook in all maritime academies in the world. It would also help to have it be r ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This is a fascinating account of the sinking of El Faro, a 700+ ft shipping vessel in 2015. The book delves into modern shipping, the history of ship building, and the pressures of capitalism without ever neglecting the human stories. The recovery of the ship's audio recordings takes readers into the bridge on the last day before the sinking. This is a good book.
Tonstant Weader
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shipping is dangerous work and ships run aground, capsize, founder, or sink nearly every day. Some of these tragedies, though, capture the imagination and inspire writers to explore the reasons for their loss and to find some deeper meaning. The sinking of El Faro in Hurrican Joaquin on October 1, 2015, is just such a storm and has already inspired at least three books so far. Rachel Slade’s Into the Raging Sea seeks to do more than tell the story of the loss of El Faro and its thirty-three crew ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Clusterfuck. Oh my. This book will make you angry. The anger will increase as you move along, when you get to the details of the hearings that took place in the aftermath of the disaster you will be outraged. I wanted to throw the book through a window.

The book, however, for me, was only so so. It’s likely the issue is just my ability to take a book like this. It has to be investigatory. It can’t be a story only. The author provides great detail. I just could not enjoy reading this. I grew up i
Patrick SG
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent and harrowing account of the loss of a ship with 33 people aboard during Hurricane Joaquin in 2015. For those who wondered how a ship could have deliberately moved into the path of a tropical system like this the book provides the answer.

Unlike the classic "The Perfect Storm," which this book might be compared to, the author of this book has access to a valuable resource - more than 25 hours of recordings made on the bridge of the ships officers conversations. Much like an airliner'
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You'd expect a bunch of drama from the tale of a massive cargo ship (El Faro) sailing into a massive hurricane (Joaquin) and sinking to the deepest part of the Atlantic, killing all 33 crew members aboard. And, aided by transcripts of the final days and hours taken from the ship's "black box", Rachel Slade definitely delivers on that front. Harrowing shit, and why I'm terrified of the ocean. But Slade, a crack reporter and vivid writer, also weaves into Into the Raging Sea a concise history of c ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A compelling true story of the sinking of the container ship, El Faro, during Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015 with all 33 hands on board. We are able to glean much of what happened, not only from the voice recorder which was recovered at great cost and time on the bottom of the ocean, but from communications from the ship leading up to the sinking and an investigation led by the US Coast Guard and NTSB. It is the story of corporate greed by a shipping company who wanted their product loaded an ...more
Freeman Fridie
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
So much more than a "lost at sea tale". Takes you into a world most of us know nothing about. Book of the year for me so far. Read it.
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This account of a shipwreck reads like a movie, and is also an infuriating indictment of corporate greed, regulatory corner-cutting, and male hubris.
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very detailed account of the sinking of the El Faro. The author did a great job of not only documenting the tragedy, but also by providing much of the actual dialog of the crew in their last hours. She was able to do this because searchers were able to recover the "black box" which recorded these conversations.

My only compliant, and a minor one , is the lack of photos. There are none in this book. Photos of the ship and crew would have been nice. I'm sure the families could have provided some
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Into the Raging Sea, by Rachel Slade is a book with visceral impact. You know how the story ends, but through her narrative you gain insight into the lives of the crew of the El Faro, an understanding of the mechanics of the disaster, and why hubris should be included with sloth among the seven deadly sins.

The construction of this book brings you through the event, braiding the timelines of the various elements involved seamlessly, allowing the reader an appreciation of the sinking of the El Fa
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, nook
Combine a corporate that puts profits ahead of safety (I know, dog bites man), a ship captain who is filled with hubris and fear of losing his job, a category 4 hurricaine and you get a real-life perfect storm that sinks the El Faro and all 33 hands in October 2015. Slade does a masterful job of creating a fast moving and tragic story based on last 26 hours of conversation recorded on El Faro. Coast Guard rescuers are the amazing heroes. One chapter goes into the detail of a rescue that really g ...more
Allen Adams

So much of our country’s history is bound up in the sea. Our relationship to the ocean has defined us in many ways over the years. Even now, our waterways play vital roles in the way our nation operates. But all that time at sea comes with risk; it’s risk that we often forget or dismiss, but it never goes away.

And sometimes, it makes its presence known.

On Oct. 1, 2015, the merchant ship El Faro ran into Hurricane Joaquin off the Bahamas and sank, killing a
Bill Marsano
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
By Bill Marsano. Sixty-five-year-old Paul McHenry Washburn, Captain of the S.S. Stella Lykes, is on the bridge of the brief but superb “Looking for a Ship,” wherein he speaks the dangers of weather at sea. Licensed as a “Master of United States Steam or Motor Vessels of any gross tons upon oceans,” he says feelingly to author John McPhee “Every day, someone somewhere is getting it from weather . . . . They’re disappearing without a trace.” On Oct. 1, 2015 such was the fate of the El Faro, at 790 ...more
Becca Younk
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Two of my biggest fears are being lost in space and lost at sea. Barring relocation to a moon colony, being lost in space will never happen to me. Thanks to reports about norovirus breakouts on cruise ships, I have zero desire to ever take a cruise, meaning being lost at sea will also never happen to me. Which leaves me free to indulge my obsession with reading about shipwrecks.

I was riveted to this book. Because El Faro's black box was recovered, we have access to hours of conversation in the
Sam Klemens
Jun 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
It absolutely boggles the mind that this book is so well rated. It's horribly written. Rachel uses every hackneyed, cliched phrase and metaphor known to Christendom. It's like she Googled 50 most over-used cliches and made an effort to use each twice. The book is not logically laid out and more than once she spends several pages describing something that she described, poorly, one hundred pages ago!

She goes off onto weird tangents about the past of some of these characters and comes to weird co
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
A fascinating story. I'm just not thrilled with the way it was told. The author is far from objective in her reporting. It is clear she believes the shipping company was to blame in this tragedy. So the question: Is this a fact-based documentary or an editorial? And there is a bit too much license taken in some spots. We're told that the crew's conversations are often hard to decipher. Yet along with their words (accuracy of which is not disputed) we're often told what the speaker is thinking an ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ok, right off, let's clarify that it is not The Perfect (perfect) Storm. There are three current books about the El Faro disaster in release and I chose this one due to the NYorker or New York Times list. I was indeed riveted by the actual disaster and followed it in real time, reading some of the investigation online and having buddies at Mass Maritime who lost graduates. Its parallels to the Edmund Fitzgerald hooked me at the time (a friend lost her brother in that wreck) and the horror that t ...more
Robert Rich
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf-history
This is a fascinating and heartbreaking story of the El Faro, an American cargo ship that sank in 2015 after it sailed almost into the eye of Hurricane Joaquin in the Atlantic as it headed to Puerto Rico. The book paints a clear picture of the poorly run shopping company (TOTE) that owned the ship, as well as the frustrating scene that were the investigative hearings following the accident.

A great book, but a couple of points still drag it down: first, there are a litany of typos - does no one
Rita Ciresi
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This well-researched book, which began as an article for Yankee magazine, details the events that led up to the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro in Hurricane Joaquin in 2015. The story is based upon actual dialogue recorded by the ship's black box in the hours leading up to the disaster and court records of the public investigation. In between the actual drama of the ship sinking and its aftermath, the author teaches us about shipbuilding, trade politics, Coast Guard safety, and the need for re ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even though you probably know the outcome (especially after the first chapter!), this book is a real page-turner. It was hard for me to put it down. Although written in the Jon Krakauer style of diversions into various topics (boats, that reminds me to tell you about the mariner history of the US... etc!), the book is very engaging, and the meanderings are quite interesting. I thought the book losts its way towards the end, and I would have liked more information about the last few hours. The de ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a very difficult book to read. The book was reviewed as a thriller about the sinking of a container ship in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Joaquin with a loss of 33 lives. It had some thriller elements but it had a bit too much technical information about the ship, the weather forecasting, the maritime company that was indifferent to the loss of the ship etc. This bogged down the compelling narrative of the ships loss and a tyrannical captain who wouldn't listen to reason. I think ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a good book this is. Rachel Slade takes the reader right on to the El Faro and into the minds of the 33 crew members, their bosses, their families and into the minds of the people who looked for and found the ship. For me the book read like a good fiction novel, except that it was not. How could a 970 foot container ship completely disappear with all hands on board? What was amazing to think about was that all the dialogue in the book from the crew members, came from the Voyage Data Recorde ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm a former merchant marine engineering officer and just finished reading Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro. I found it to be quite a well written book. It is unfortunate that the subject had to be the needless death of 33 mariners. When all was said and done, a summary question might be "how many mistakes does it take to sink a ship?"

Kudo's to the author for doing surprisingly well writing the book despite lacking a nautical background. Slad
Daniel Miller
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book contains a little bit of Puerto Rico, A lot about the U.S. maritime industry, a summary of the key crew members and the decisions by the captain, the non-decisions by the other officers and the shipping company that cause the loss of these lives and the politics that controls the U.S. Coast Guard.

Anyone who is curious about disasters, their causes and how they are investigated will find this to be a great read. Like all contemporary disasters, this one created some critical additions
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Amazing story of a shipwreck.. and what appears to be a totally mismanaged ship and a mess of a company, Tote. In addition to the tragedy, the book includes lots of history on the shipping industry. The story was gripping, although I do admit I got overwhelmed and skimmed a lot of the second half of the book detailing the investigation of what went wrong.

The level of detail ( maritime, engineering, management, etc) is overwhelming. I am fascinated by the level of research the author did.
Andrew Mathis
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Incredible story of tragedy and failure

With the conversations from the doomed ship preserved from the El Faro's black box, this book reads like a novel. A tragic novel where the ending is known and the players must play their part. It serves as a warning to the U.S. Shipping industry and citizenry as budget cuts and corporates greed replace compassion for the people working and running our economy.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read it in a day. Could not put it down. Having followed the news stories and read the transcript from the investigation; it was very helpful putting it all in context. The author gave very interesting detours as well, with helpful background on the weather apps the crew used; the ship history and design features; as well as the corporate structure of the company they all worked for. There was a lot of in-depth research which helped flesh out the tragedy.
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