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North by Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters

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NOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

In the tradition of Sebastian Junger and Linda Greenlaw comes Captain Sig Hansen’s rags-to-riches epic of his immigrant family’s struggle against deadly Alaskan seas, freezing shipwrecks, and dangerously brutal conditions to achieve the American Dream

Sig Hansen has been a star of the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch from the pilot to the present. Seen in over 150 countries, the show attracts more ...

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North by Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters

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Overview

NOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

In the tradition of Sebastian Junger and Linda Greenlaw comes Captain Sig Hansen’s rags-to-riches epic of his immigrant family’s struggle against deadly Alaskan seas, freezing shipwrecks, and dangerously brutal conditions to achieve the American Dream

Sig Hansen has been a star of the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch from the pilot to the present. Seen in over 150 countries, the show attracts more than 49 million viewers per season, making it one of the most successful series in the history of cable TV. With its daredevil camera work, unpredictably dangerous weather, and a setting as unforgivable and unforgettable as the frigid Bering Sea, The Deadliest Catch is unlike anything else on television.

But the weatherworn fishermen of the fishing vessel Northwestern have stories that don’t come through on TV. For Sig Hansen and his brothers, commercial fishing is as much a part of their Norwegian heritage as their names. Descendants of the Vikings who roamed and ruled the northern seas for centuries, the Hansens’ connection to the sea stretches from Alaska to Seattle and all the way to Norway. And after twenty years as a skipper on the commercial fishing vessel the Northwestern—which was his father’s before him—Sig has lived to tell the tales.

 

To be a successful fisherman, you need to be a mechanic, navigator, welder, painter, carpenter, and sometimes, a firefighter. To be a successful fisherman year after year, you need to be a survivor.

This is the story of a family of survivors; part memoir and part adventure tale, North by Northwestern brings readers on deck, into the dockside bars and into the history of a family with a common destiny. Built around a gripping tale of a deadly shipwreck like The Perfect Storm, North By Northwestern is the multi-generational tale of the Hansen family, a clan of tough Norwegian-American fishermen who, through the popularity of The Deadliest Catch, have become modern folk-heroes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A chronicle that reads like a collection of your crazy buddy's bar stories about his crazier old man.”

Outside Magazine

 

"Captain Hansen's passionate love for his work, for the ocean, and for his fellow fishermen is undeniable and admirable."

Examiner.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312591144
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sig Hansen is the captain of the commercial fishing vessel Northwestern. He has been featured on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch from the pilot through every season of the show.  

 

Mark Sundeen is a contributor to Outside, New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Men’s Journal, and McSweeney’s. He is the author of The Making of Toro and Car Camping.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 Son of Norway 11

2 Karmoy Dreams 45

3 Ballard, America 75

4 North to Alaska 111

5 Let the Kid Run the Boat 145

6 Dutch 179

7 A Fleet Is Born 209

8 Boom and Bust 241

9 Lights, Camera, Fishing 263

10 Deliverance 291

Acknowledgments 305

Index 307

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 58 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 5, 2010

    great book

    This book was very well written and extremely interesting. You can imagine yourself sitting back in a smokey tavern, beer in your hand, relaxing listening to Sig tell his father's story. His humor and wit are clearly evident, as well as his affection for his brothers and family. His co-author really captured his personality with this book. The only thing I could ask to improve this book, would be the stories behind the pictures.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read

    For anyone that enjoys the nautical side to life, or wants to know more about Captain Sig and his family after watching Deadliest Catch, this is a great book. It is like sitting down for an in depth talk with Captain Sig as he gives an oral history of the Hansen family and the evolution of fishing in the Pacific Northwest. The Hansen story is rich in history and when told in an honest and straighforward way keeps the reader engaged in the story. Being the granddaughter of an immigrant fisherman, it was like reliving my youth, when my grandpa would invite us to accompany him and share in his story. A word of caution, this story is told in a very conversational manner, if you don't like reading this style of writing, you may not enjoy this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    This book has local interest of course, and satisfies a desire to know more about Alaska fishing and the visual adventure of the popular program "Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel.

    My daughter went with her fisherman husband into the world of Alaska crab fishing 15 years ago and knew Sverre, the author's father. I'd been curious to know more about that life, especially since she got hooked on "Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel. I grew up in Seattle and my dad was born in Ballard so I have a great deal of interest in the historical aspects Sig has covered in his book. All things considered, it's a great read; colorful, adventurous, informative and provocative. He really opens up to the reader fascinating details about the world he knows intimately. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing more about what they see on "The Deadliest Catch", and to anyone who isn't, but is vaguely curious about that life, as I was. I bought the book for my daughter who now lives in Oregon; before I sent it to her I read it and found I couldn't put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Great Book for anyone...not just Deadliest Catch Fans

    If you are looking for a book that is all about "Deadliest Catch", then this is not the one for you. However, if you want to learn the history behind the men that you see on board the F/V Northwestern then you won't be able to put this one down.

    Sig Hansen tells the story of not only the history of his own family, but the history of modern day crab fishing by taking you on a journey back to his home of Karmoy, Norway. You will learn the story of his father, Sverre Hansen, and how he came to live in Ballard, Washington and start his lifelong career as a crab fisherman. Interwoven into the who's who of the beginning of the king crab fleet is the story of the sinking of Sverre's boat, the F/V Foremost, and the rescue of the crew from the Bering Sea.

    You can tell that there is a tremendous amount of respect for heritage and family from Sig and his brothers towards those that came before them. The feeling that they still cannot believe all the fame that the television show has brought on them is clear. I only wish that Sig would have gone more into the charitble work that they do when they are not braving 20 foot seas, but perhaps that is another story for another time.

    If you are a Deadliest Catch fan this book will give you what the show doesn't: a journey into the humble and dangerous beginnings of the men that captivate you on Tuesday nights. If you aren't a fan, but love learning about how the crab that is on your plate makes it there you will enjoy this book just as much. Either way, it is an easy read that takes you on a trip from the small fishing community where Sverre got his start to the multi-million dollar industry that is the modern crab fishery.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    makes you feel like you're on the boat!

    Not just about crab fishing, North by Northwestern also explores the history of fishing and crabbing off the cost of Alaska, and details family tradition. Well written by this first time author and captain of the NORTHWESTERN,Sig Hansen, the reader gets a wonderful lesson on generations of same family traditions passed down from this original Swedish family and how many fishing families from Sweden, Denmark imagrate to the US and continue the traditon of fishing and captaining the Crab boats on the deadly Alaskan waters. This book does a great job of covering the history of the crabbing tradition, while also telling of the deadly experiences of both captain and crew in their pursuits of both money and catch. A facinating journey into the lives of those in the crabbing and fishing industry, this book gives one a better understanding of both the dangers and rewards of one of the most dangerous jobs that exist, and a better understanding of how tradition compails these families to continue this endevor. A good read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    Good Read

    Sig tells his family's story and history in a great voice. He fills the book with substance, not the typical fluff of the quickly famous. If you really want to know about the Hansen family here is where you start. The added history lesson is a bonus!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Yeah

    Could not put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Great stories....too many "flashbacks"

    The story of Sig and his family is a great nautical story. However, it gets a little annoying after a while. You start off reading one story and then it stops and you are thrown into another story, which leads to another one. There were times that i either had to go back and figure out what was going on or look to see if a story ever finished. Great stories, but they are all over the place. They even jump around to telling you about Norweigan history in the middle of a chapter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Attention Deadliest Catch Fans!!!

    I have to say that it was definitely hard to put down. Any fan of Deadliest Catch will love this book. There is so much history of the nordic family of fisherman in this book! Not only do you get to learn more about the Hansen brothers, you get incredible history as well. I was so sad when I finished. WRITE MORE CAPTAIN SIG!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    *****

    Honest appraisal by Captain Sig Hansen of his family and life as a Bering Sea Cowboy. Fans of the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" series will enjoy reading this tale of high adventures and mishaps of the Alaskan fisherman.

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    Great read

    Fans of deadlist catch will enjoy this book

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    Fantastic!!

    This was a great book. It was not a continuation of the 'Deadliest Catch' television program but a wonderful insight into the history of crab fishing and all the people and places that were responsible for its birth. Sig Hansen and Phil Harris, may he rest in peace, have always been my favorite captains. But Sig has really showed us where it all started and how his father and his peers started and made crab fishing what it is today. Richly described characters, intricate stories and great Norweigian history round out the excellent writing and historical context. The intertwining of his father's near catasrophy throughout the book was enough to keep you coming back. Aye Captain, you are definitely 'on the crab' with this fantastic, intimate look into the most dangerous job in the world!!

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Interesting history

    I think what i liked most about this book was learning the Norwegian history of the Seattle region and getting many answers to questions I have had about crab fishing after watching the show.

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    Posted September 5, 2011

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    Posted May 9, 2010

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    Posted May 21, 2010

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    Posted June 17, 2011

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    Posted May 10, 2012

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    Posted July 5, 2010

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    Posted August 8, 2010

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