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Posted June 25, 2005
The author covers a lot of terrority in the first third of the book, gripping the reader with harrowing tales of terrorism, modern day pirates, and neglectful owners running their ships until they deteriorate and are lost at sea. His coverage of the 'wild west' frontier of the byzantine world of ship registry is particularly eye opening. But it's when he delves into several ship sinkings that the book bogs down. Incredibly, a full third of the book is taken up with the exhaustive coverage of the 1994 sinking of the auto ferry Estonia in the Baltic. The reader comes away wondering why such detail over one tragedy since he otherwise adequately covers the topic pretty well. He regains his footing when he takes us to the largely unregulated world of salvage of hundreds of commercial vessels each year, raising important environmental and social issues and which is fully in keeping with the book's main theme. For all that the book is an interesting if shallow (pun intended) coverage of a watery world filled with real life villians and heroes, a domain covering 3/4 of our planet but rarely given much thought. The author should consider a second book, taking up where he leaves the reader on the beach.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 19, 2005
Willam Langewiesche's book, The Outlaw Sea, begins at page eight with a riveting account of the sinking of the tanker Kristal. He covers the history and happenings of human life on our earth's oceans like, well, an ocean. The two hundred and thirty-nine page book ends with these mammoth iron arks being purposely given a full head of steam and then run aground on an Arabian Sea beach named Alang. There, over many months, hundreds of thousands of Indian's methodically rip these hulks apart like an army of brown ants ravaging a fallen gray elephant. Also uncovered are the shadowy corporations who own so many of these liability-ridden ships and the individuals they hire to ply the watery vastness of our planet from within these vessels. The threat of shipboard WMD-terrorism and modern day machine-gun-wielding pirates are also given ink. A far too long chapter about the sinking of the ferry Estonia (in which 852 Europeans died in the frigid waters of the Baltic Sea) gives the American reader a taste of how Hindenburg-like this 1994 disaster was to our brethren who remained on the Continent. While not a razzle-dazzle best selling gripping account of life on the oceans, Mr. Langewiesche's does manage to make a seemingly bland subject a very readable and sometimes exciting affair.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 4, 2011
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