Into the Raging Sea
“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 the bookshelf of modern maritime classics. Even those who have followed El Faro closely will find major surprises here.”—Robert Frump, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Until the Sea Shall Free Them: Life, Death, and Survival in the Merchant MarineOn October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the container ship El Faro whole, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years. No one could fathom how a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting could suddenly vanish—until now.Relying on hundreds of exclusive interviews with family members and maritime experts, as well as the words of the crew members themselves—whose conversations were captured by the ship’s data recorder—journalist Rachel Slade unravels the mystery of the sinking of El Faro. As she recounts the final twenty-four hours onboard, Slade vividly depicts the officers’ anguish and fear as they struggled to carry out Captain Michael Davidson’s increasingly bizarre commands, which, they knew, would steer them straight into the eye of the storm. Taking a hard look at America's aging merchant marine fleet, Slade also reveals the truth about modern shipping—a cut-throat industry plagued by razor-thin profits and ever more violent hurricanes fueled by global warming.A richly reported account of a singular tragedy, Into the Raging Sea takes us into the heart of an age-old American industry, casting new light on the hardworking men and women who paid the ultimate price in the name of profit.

Into the Raging Sea Details

TitleInto the Raging Sea
Author
ReleaseMay 1st, 2018
PublisherEcco
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Contemporary

Into the Raging Sea Review

  • Brenda Ayala
    January 1, 1970
    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the varying events that caused the sinking of the El Faro.In short, the company TOTE fucked over their crew by having out of date software and hardware.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 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 of explaining the industry and then drawing that into the narrative. It’s an easy book to read, and I appreciate the author’s effort to include as much as possible.
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  • David V.
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 read by every CEO in the world, but of course that will never happen. Being in a position of power doesn't mean you know everything that you need to know. Caused me to swear out loud at the guilty parties described at the end of this story--a visceral reaction.
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  • Zachary
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Tonstant Weader
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 members, she seeks to place it in the context of shifts in global trade, economic trends, and global warming. This makes for an absorbing and important narrative.Slade looks at several factors that led to the disaster. Most obviously, global climate change has warmed the ocean, creating more violent storms and far more damaging hurricanes. Climate-change deniers in Congress have underfunded the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration because they are too afraid of climate science to fund good weather science. It’s very important for climate-change deniers that no one understands weather and climate are not the same, because then they could not bring snowballs into the House of Representatives to expose their ignorance.She also looks at the leadership of El Faro, the captain, engineers, and officers. Certainly, it seems clear that Captain Davidson made several errors in judgment. He was unaware that his preferred weather update, a graphical representation of the weather, was several hours behind the National Weather Service whose update was textual and required being plotted by hand on their charts. He was responding to weather reports nine hours out of date and like many people, where there was a conflict in reports, he went with the report he liked best. He was also unreceptive to his subordinates advancing their concerns and concerned more about pleasing the on-shore executives than anyone else. He had recently been overlooked for a promotion and was resentful.She considers the design of El Faro which is the most fascinating part in that the ship was retrofitted a few times to adapt to changing shipping trends without thinking carefully enough about how those changes affect the ship’s balance and seaworthiness. They were allowed again and again to take on more cargo, allowing the ship to rest lower and lower in the water without noticing that the vents on the side allow water in and are much lower. If you have a three-inch glass and it’s got a vent at two inches, the water does not wait to reach three inches before beginning to fill the glass.Then she looks at management at TOTE, the company who owned El Faro. A more feckless bunch would be hard to find. It’s like they all watched “Wall Street” and though Gecko was the hero, not the villain. They fire the most experienced to replace them with cheaper and younger workers. They have someone unqualified to be an engineer on a ship overseeing all the ships. Their lead contact for ships at sea travels without leaving someone in charge. Sadly, because maritime law is heavily biased toward shipowners, they can cast all the blame on the captain.There’s more, nonexistent inspections or next-to-worthless inspections. Like Wall Street, most maritime regulation and inspection is carried out by an organization created, funded, and in service to the shipowners. As in other industries, global trade patterns, outsourcing, and trends in labor have weakened the power of labor to advocate for safety. So many factors come together and you begin to wonder why there have not been more tragedies.Rachel Slade does a great job of writing a compelling narrative that grabs your interest immediately. She is good at short character sketches, but her real strength is explaining the many unseen factors that led to disaster. In capturing the many historical and global trends that influenced decisions on the ship’s design, redesign, management, and maintenance, she is masterful.I think she sometimes reaches unsupported conclusions when describing people’s character, particularly the women who are involved. For example, the crewing manager comes in for some serious criticism and the kind of gendered gossip that women in leadership often attract. However, her most significant act was ensuring Captain Davidson didn’t get promoted to the new ships. Considering his performance on El Faro, that sounds like a good decision to me. The other woman also came in for some of the same sort of commentary from men who worked with her, that she was scattered and forgetful and of course, rumored to have gotten her job because she filed a sexual harassment claim. But, of the officers on the bridge, she seemed to be more aware than anyone they were in danger and did more than anyone to point it out to the captain. If he had been willing to listen to her and if other officers had backed her up better, they would have changed course. Perhaps because Slade is also a woman, she didn’t want to seem partial, so she accepted the criticisms of these women even though they fit into the pattern of criticism women who seek jobs in men’s space always get. I think she should have taken more care to put those criticisms in the voice of the people who gave them, rather than in the author’s voice. That brings me to my second criticism. She tells us what people are thinking. Well, we know what they are doing and saying, but we can’t know their thoughts and motivations.Lastly, I wish she had provided endnotes or footnotes. She lists her main sources, but she made some assertions that I would like to check, for example, that Florida is the most racist state. It sure could be and I assume she made that assertion based on the number of lynchings in Florida, but I don’t know because it is not sourced. There are other state’s that can make that claim based on other rationales. For example, my own state of Oregon prohibited Black people from owning land or a business or signing a contract in the state. Iowa and Indiana required black people to post a bond that would equal $15,000 in today’s dollars just to enter the state.These are minor complaints when stacked against the scope of her research and the quality of her analysis. This is a fascinating story about a tragedy that could have been avoided and identitifies problems that probably guarantee it will happen again.I received an ARC of Into the Raging Sea from the publisher through a Shelf Awareness drawing.Into the Raging Sea at Harper CollinsRachel Slade interview at 98.9 WCLZ★★★★https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...
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  • Patrick SG
    January 1, 1970
    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' 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's black box, the device recorded conversations of those steaming into harms way, and it makes for harrowing reading. Particularly moving are the last minutes of the ship's life as the captain urges the frozen-in-fear helmsman to move toward him and potential safety.The book is divided in two parts. The first alternates the events aboard leading up to the ship's contact with the storm with chapters that paint a picture of key crew members and a history of merchant shipping in the U.S. and the importance of seaborne commerce that escapes most people. The second half details the search for the ship, it's black box, and the hearings to determine the cause. The book shows how a series of events, over years, and on the part of many parties - the government, the shipping company and the captain and crew - contributed to this tragedy.The only shortcoming of this book - in its electronic format - is the lack of a map that would be helpful in tracking the course of the ship and the storm. The print version provides this in endpapers, but it's lacking in the ebook version.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    This account of a shipwreck reads like a movie, and is also an infuriating indictment of corporate greed, regulatory corner-cutting, and male hubris.
  • Allen Adams
    January 1, 1970
    http://www.themaineedge.com/adventure...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 http://www.themaineedge.com/adventure...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 all 33 of the crew members and leading to months of questions about how something so tragic could have happened … and who should be held responsible.Author Rachel Slade offers a comprehensive and compelling look at the disaster with her new book “Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro.” Over the course of nearly 400 pages, Slade brings together hours of research and hundreds of interviews – along with transcripts of voice recordings of El Faro’s final hours – to dive deep beneath the surface of this tragedy, introducing us to many of the people involved and offering a meticulous and thoughtful analysis of it all.The sinking of the El Faro was the worst shipping disaster in 35 years. It was the sort of accident that most believed – thanks to advances in technology – simply couldn’t happen anymore. And yet it did, thanks to a confluence of circumstances that no one could have possibly predicted.An old ship haphazardly modified to operate in a new way. A patchwork crew featuring mariners of different degrees of experience and interpersonal familiarity. A storm whose behavior inspired disparate predictions from different meteorological models. All of it coming together in such a way as to doom the ship and all aboard.The book’s focus is on the final day aboard the ship, the 24 hours that led to the demise of so many. But interspersed throughout is a breakdown of just how we got to the place where such a thing could happen, hundreds of interviews with maritime experts all striving to help answer the same question – how did this happen?“Into the Raging Sea” is a powerful reading experience. What Slade has done is bring the people aboard El Faro – the people whose lives are coming to a watery end – to heartbreakingly vivid life. Thanks to the voice recordings, she is able to place us on the bridge of that ship. She shares with us the creeping, growing fear, a feeling that starts as simple unease and steadily evolves into something much darker and terrifying. Over the course of mere hours, these people are forced to come to terms with an unavoidable end.And we are there.There’s also a wealth of maritime history sprinkled throughout the book as we learn more about the Merchant Marine and the harsh realities inherent to the business of shipping by sea. Whether it’s the surprising level of disrepair under which some companies allow their ships to operate or the potentially calamitous impact of the Jones Act or the rapidly-diminishing profit margins that drive modern shippers to make ethically questionable decisions, it’s all here. And all of it ties in neatly to the terrible tragedy of the El Faro.Narrative nonfiction is a tricky business; it’s not always easy to turn true stories into compelling ones. It’s even more difficult when your story is one whose climactic event is likely already known by the reader. Yet Slade pulls it off. “Into the Raging Sea” is well-researched and thoughtfully presented, for sure, but it’s also just as gripping as any fictional thriller you’re likely to find. She finds a way to make foreknowledge about El Faro into a feature, rather than a bug; her mastery of tension will leave your nerves twanging no matter what your level of familiarity.The nature of a story like this is that the full extent of the truth will likely never be truly known. There are elements to the sinking of El Faro that have been forever lost beneath the waves. And we can never know what fears and hopes reside in the depths of men’s hearts. It’s not possible to tell the whole story – but Rachel Slade has come about as close as anyone could.“Into the Raging Sea” is an exceptional work. It is a story that very much needed to be told; that it was told so eloquently and meticulously is a welcome bonus. The 33 lives lost are tragic and unnecessary; they deserved to have their voices heard. With this book, Rachel Slade gives them that chance.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 Faro that could not be gained even with a careful reading of the entire minutes of the National Transportation Safety Bureau investigation and of the United States Coast Guard inquiry. This is accomplished by carefully incorporating the relevant information from the NTSB and USCG with in depth investigative work.Ms. Slade’s research ranges from hours long interviews with the families of crew members, former crew members, former shipmates of the crew, and a Naval Architect involved with the original construction of the vessel. She also has taken a transoceanic voyage on a merchant vessel and trips with a harbor pilot on the St. Johns River to gain perspective on the working dynamic in that environment. Throughout the book there is a real sense of the author’s desire to “Get it right.” As a mariner with 40-plus years of experience in this industry, and as someone close to this incident, I think she does.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 gets the heart pumping. The recorded conversations make these 33 sailors real people - hard to read their last words.While blame certainly falls on the ship’s owner TOTE and the captain, further blame falls on a US government that starves agencies of money while asking those same agencies to do more and more. Example is the Coast Guard: now part of Homeland Security and responsible for chasing terrorists and drugs. What about rescue? Another example is the NOAA that can no longer study climate change so understanding hurricaines, so critical to mariners, is not possible. A lot of blame also falls on consumers who don’t really appreciate how goods to get into their hands.Great book!
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  • Kathleen Perkins
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fascinating investigation into a tragic and totally preventable disaster. The sinking of the El Faro describes what happens when an old ship owned and managed by an incompetent company and mastered by a paranoid yet driven master motors into the eye of a hurricane and sinks with all thirty-three people on board. There is something very wrong with marine law and operations when one person can sail into a watery grave and no one accompanying them on the trip has the nerve or the authorit This is a fascinating investigation into a tragic and totally preventable disaster. The sinking of the El Faro describes what happens when an old ship owned and managed by an incompetent company and mastered by a paranoid yet driven master motors into the eye of a hurricane and sinks with all thirty-three people on board. There is something very wrong with marine law and operations when one person can sail into a watery grave and no one accompanying them on the trip has the nerve or the authority to say STOP ARE YOU NUTS and laughingly goes right along with the journey? Master of all? I'm thinking that "Masters" need to have a lot less authority (just like Presidents).This is a well crafted story that takes us into the lives of merchant mariners who have no or little control over their own lives once on the ship. I always thought that would be such a cool profession - travel the world and all that. Uh, No. Rachael Slade tells it like it is and does it expertly. I read every non-fiction book I can lay my hands on that concerns weather and this is an excellent one.
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  • Rita Ciresi
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 responsible consumerism and attention to how our everyday lives affect the environment and climate. Prior to reading this book, I never really gave much thought to how goods were transported and traded both domestically and abroad. I learned a lot from reading this account and I hope to be more mindful of my purchasing habits, as well as grateful to the mariners and dockworkers who risk their lives on a daily basis.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    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 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, and there were photos of the ship from its sailing days before the hurricane. I googled "Danielle Randolph El Faro ". She was the second mate on board. Many acticles and photos came up with that search. I should have done this before reading the book, it's nice to have a mental image of who you're reading about.I would highly recommend this book to others.
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  • Lisa M Friesen
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fascinating book. True stories are usually too wordy and boring, this was neither. The author wrote a dire story of American Cargo Shipping. All the regulations, the broken rules and the breakdown of communication to the large corporations who own the ships. These CEOs in charge care little about the crew and more about the cargo and profit. And never in this story did the author forget about the loss of 33 lives. A must read that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    A good story, a little too much detail about the technical aspects of what could have gone wrong with the ship so I skipped over those descriptions but the human interest part of the book is heartbreaking and you could feel the terror those people must have been feeling the last minutes of their lives on that ship.
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  • Stefan Preston
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating True StoryThis is an extensively researched analysis of an epic maritime fail that reds like a gripping novel. A story of corporate greed and incompetence, political corruption and quiet heroism.
  • Ira
    January 1, 1970
    Compelling & HeartbreakingA difficult read due to the tragedy that could have been prevented. A gripping story of failure and heartbreak. Author wanders a little wide of the main narration a couple times but in the end brings the story together to its sad conclusion.
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  • Onceinabluemoon
    January 1, 1970
    This is my kind of thriller, I was so nervous reading this that I had to google the outcome which truly broke my heart. An incredibly detailed account of a tragic ending, I blistered through the book, I am always in awe of the sea.
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