Quotes from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

Sebastian Junger ·  227 pages

Rating: (91.6K votes)


“How do men act on a sinking ship? Do they hold each other? Do they pass around the whisky? Do they cry?”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


“There are houses in Gloucester where grooves have been worn into the floorboards by women pacing past an upstairs window, looking out to sea.”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


“Meteorologist see perfect in strange things, and the meshing of three completely independent weather systems to form a hundred-year event is one of them. My God, thought Case, this is the perfect storm.”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


“The state's case against Smith, however, did claim to speak to his actual guilt or innocence, and it has to be considered carefully. The reason this is important has nothing to do with Roy Smith or Bessie Goldberg or even Al DeSalvo; they're all dead. In some ways there is nothing less relevant than an old murder case. The reason it is important is this: Here is a group of people who have gathered to judge--and possibly execute--a fellow citizen. It's the highest calling there is, the very thing that separates us from social anarchy, and it has to be done well. A trial, however, is just a microcosm of the entire political system. When a democratic government decides to raise taxes or wage war or write child safety laws, it is essentially saying to an enormous jury, "This is our theory of how the world works, and this is our proposal for dealing with it. If our theory makes sense to you, vote for us in the next election. If it doesn't, throw us out." The ability of citizens to scrutinize the theories insisted on by their government is their only protection against abuse of power and, ultimately, against tyranny. If ordinary citizens can't coolly and rationally evaluate a prosecutor's summation in a criminal trial, they won't have a chance at calling to task a deceitful government. And all governments are deceitful--they're deceitful because it's easier than being honest. Most of the time, it's no more sinister than that.”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


“I look at the names on the mailboxes and the bells inside number 1940 and pick out a couple of women’s names and press the first one. I stand there waiting, feeling the image
build up and not thinking about what I’m going to say to her because I know
something will come to me like it always does. Nothing happens. I press the second doorbell and in a few minutes she buzzes the door, twice, and I walk into the hallway. The stairs are curved around an elevator and to the right and I go up them, not in a hurry or nothing, just taking them one at a time.
Its funny, isn’t it, how the first woman didn’t answer the bell or wasn’t home or something and just that little chance, you understand what I mean?”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea



“As the helicopter fell, its dead rotors started to spin, and Ruvola used that energy to slow the aircraft down. Like downshifting a car on a hill, a hovering auto-rotation is a way of dissipating the force of gravity by feeding it back through the engine. By the time the helicopter hit the water it had slowed to a manageable speed, and all the torque had been bled out of the rotors;”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


“During the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, winds were past 200 miles per house and people caught outside were sandblasted to death. Rescue workers found nothing but their shoes and belt buckles… In 1938, the hurricane put downtown Providence, Rhode Island, under 10 feet of ocean. The waves generated by that storm were so huge that they literally shook the earth; seismographs in Alaska picked up their impact 5,000 miles away.
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


“A SOFT fall rain slips down through the trees and the smell of ocean is so strong that it can almost be licked off the air.”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


“Unfortunately for Mariners, the total amount of wave energy and storm does not rise linearly with wind speed, but to its fourth power. The seas generated by a 40 knot wind aren’t twice as violence as those from a 20 knot wind, they are seventeen times as violent. The ship’s crew watching the anemometer climb even 10 knots could well be watching their death sentence.”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


“The reprieve doesn’t last long though; within a couple of hours the waves are back up to 70 feet. A 70 foot wave has an angled face of well over 100 feet. The Seastate has reached levels that no one on the boat, and few people one earth, have ever seen. When the Contship Holland finally limped into port several days later, one of the officers stepped off and swore he would never set foot on another ship again.”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea



“Billy's at 44 north, 56 west and heading straight into meteorological hell.”
― Sebastian Junger, quote from The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


About the author

Sebastian Junger
Born place: in Boston, Massachusetts, The United States
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