In the bestselling tradition of The Perfect Storm and The Finest Hours, “an exquisitely written and dramatic book…a literary page-turner” (Doug Stanton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Horse Soldiers)—the 2015 mysterious disappearance of the SS El Faro, a gigantic American cargo ship that sank in the Bermuda Triangle, taking with it thirty-three lives.
On October 1, 2015, the SS El Faro, a massive American cargo ship disappeared in Hurricane Joaquin, a category 4 storm. The ship, its hundreds of shipping containers, and its entire crew plummeted to the bottom of the ocean, three miles down. It was the greatest seagoing US merchant marine shipping disaster since World War II. The massive ship had a seasoned crew, state-of-the-art navigation equipment, and advance warning of the storm. It seemed incomprehensible that such a ship could sink so suddenly. How, in this day and age, could something like this happen?
Relying on Coast Guard inquest hearings, as well as on numerous interviews, George Michelsen Foy brings us “the most insightful exploration of this unthinkable disaster” (Outside), a story that lasts only a few days, but which grows almost intolerably suspenseful as deep-rooted flaws leading to the disaster inexorably link together and worsen. We see captain, engineers, and crew fight for their lives, and hear their actual words (as recorded on the ship’s black box) while the hurricane relentlessly tightens its noose around the ship. We watch, minute by minute, all that is happening on board—the ship’s mysterious tilt to one side, worried calls to the engine room, ship-to-shore reports, the courage of the men and women as they fight to survive, and the berserk ocean’s savage consumption of the massive hull. And through it all, the pain and ultimate resilience of the families of El Faro’s crew. Now with a new afterword, this “tour de force of nautical expertise” (Ocean Navigator) is a masterwork of stunning power.
George Michelsen Foy is the author of Run the Storm, Finding North: How Navigation Makes Us Human and Zero Decibels: The Quest for Absolute Silence, as well as twelve critically acclaimed novels. He was a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship in fiction and his articles, reviews, and stories have been published by Rolling Stone, The Boston Globe, Harper's, The New York Times, and Men's Journal, among others. A former officer on British coastal freighters, he teaches creative writing at NYU, holds a US Coast Guard coastal captain’s license, and divides his time between Cape Cod and New York.
“Fans of The Perfect Storm and Into Thin Air will love this exquisitely written and dramatic book. George Foy has an action story that doesn’t quit. At the same, time he charts this emotional journey with captivating sensitivity. As readers, we, too, board the SS El Faro, and discover what is the very best and most enduring about ourselves. A literary page-turner, a joy to read.” —Doug Stanton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Horse Soldiers, The Odyssey of Echo Company, and In Harm’s Way
“Here is the pitch-perfect pairing of subject and author, a gripping deconstruction of one of recent history’s most terrible and vexing sea tragedies. Run the Storm is a meticulous forensic study that, in Foy’s able hands, rises to the level of literature.” —Hampton Sides, author of In the Kingdom of Ice
“Make no mistake, Foy is a natural story teller, but what impressed me was his uncommon ability to weave his deep knowledge of the ship, weather systems, and navigation to accelerate the story, instead of slowing it down. Foy is an experienced mariner who clearly knows his stuff, which gives the reader confidence in his account, and allows us to get lost in an amazing story that builds to a wild finish.” —John U. Bacon, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism
“Run the Storm is a dramatic, thrilling adventure story, as well as a cautionary tale about the dangers of going to sea—even today, in our age of satellite communications and real-time weather forecasting. George Foy uses the surviving audio tapes of the crew’s final hours on the doomed ship to chilling effect, and he convincingly shows how a series of seemingly unrelated errors and omissions metastasized into a full-scale disaster. A remarkable book.” —William Geroux, author of The Mathews Men
“With just the right pedigree to tell this familiar story…Foy connects the detail with the domino each represented in causing one of the nation’s deadliest maritime disasters.” —Florida Times-Union
“A fact-filled, exciting tale of a ship’s tragic final voyage.” —Kirkus
“Foy does the best job. He tells the story briskly and confidently while working in helpful asides: how cargo containers are fastened to a ship deck, how forecasts are determined, how huge ships stay upright (and how they don’t). Run the Storm…gracefully covers everything you’d want to know about El Faro’s sinking and the 33 lives that went with it.” —Outside
“A tour de force of nautical expertise coupled with sensitive treatment of one of the worst maritime disasters in our history.” —Ocean Navigator
“There will presumably be dozens of thrillers and horror novels published this year that will not have the sheer and frightening strength of Foy's words. They're Conrad by way of James Lee Burke, Melville through the prism of Marquez.” —New London Day