Into the Raging Sea

Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of the El Faro
Narrated by: Erin Bennett
Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (826 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On 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 35 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 24 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.

©2018 Rachel Slade (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

A Perfect Storm for a new generation, Rachel Slade's Into the Raging Sea is a masterful account of the El Faro's sinking.” (Ben Mezrich, best-selling author of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wish I Could've Intervened to Prevent This Tragedy

Fascinating and gripping story of an unnecessary and preventable tragedy! Well researched to include the detailed accounts from the voice bridge voice recorders and background information and stories about many of the key characters. As an oceanographer, a former ship's captain, and maritime academy graduate, I couldn't help but want to intervene to prevent the unfolding tragedy. It's one of those rare occasions where we are left hoping the crew would mutiny to turn the ship around why there was still time. Thoughtful discussion about the current and former status of our maritime industry. Definitely a great story and listen. The narrator did a good job throughout. Highly recommended to anyway connected with or interested in maritime history or adventures.

72 people found this helpful

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Could have been so much more

The book is certainly a reflection of the authors beliefs on corporations and political leanings and while I don’t begrudge that inherently, I believe the oddly placed diatribes into Trump’s “white supremacist leanings” and other references to racism seemed out of place and took away from the story. It was almost like she was going to include it, whether it was germane to the story or not.

I’ve worked in corporate America and agree with the author on many of her points.

There’s plenty of material to write on racism and Trump. However, it seems to me that THIS tragedy was largely the result of human error and ego and that was lost in the lectures on racism and corporate greed.

As a result I’m not likely to purchase another title by this author.



6 people found this helpful

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Great adventure story, half boring propaganda

The ship wreck part of this book is very interesting, the author's lengthy political rants are not.

102 people found this helpful

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This Book is Tragic for More Than Just its Story

This book tells the tragic story of the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro - probably an event that most do not recall or even know about. The loss of life was significant and unnecessary. However, that does not justify taking this tragedy and turning it into a soap box for the author's own political agenda. Taking liberties with the facts the author weaves her own biases and prejudices into the lives of the crew of the El Faro, using their untimely deaths to advance her own political agenda that ranges from the absurd to the highly offensive. Rarely relying on actual facts or taking great liberty with the facts the author creates her own jaded narrative and speculates as to what people might have said or done, extrapolates singular events and pure hearsay into patterns of offensive unproven behavior and then, if that weren't enough, has the hubris to blame certain events related to or arising out of this event on the current president who wasn't even in office when it occurred on and before October 1, 2015. This book demonstrates what is wrong with American journalism - a failure to objectively tell a story and allow the readers to draw their own conclusions. Like Joe Friday used to say - "Just the facts ma'am, just the facts." This author would have done well to have followed his advice. My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy, and to those family members who had to endure the pain of this event in a way I am sure they never imagined would or could happen. If you want to know the facts about the sinking of the El Faro, IMHO please look elsewhere.

188 people found this helpful

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Decent but could do without political bias

overall a good book. Worthwhile. Very good exploration of the topic and factors. Could certainly have done without some of the snarky political comments.

77 people found this helpful

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Structure needs work

The book was okay (Audible rates 2 stars as 'it's okay' so I'll use that). My problem was that the author got into the habit of stopping the main narrative of the book, the sinking of the SS El Faro, to go on tangents. To be fair, these tangents mostly involved information relevant to the topic of the book, the Merchant Marine, the Coast Guard, weather predictions etc. However, they were put in at awkward places and only disrupted the narrative instead of being helpful asides, which is what I think the author was going for. Some of these where fairly long and it can be easy to lose track if you're not paying attention. In short, while the book was informative, it could have done a better job of presenting that information in a more streamlined fashion.

43 people found this helpful

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Horrifying; must read

I have a son at Maine Maritime, which is a first class college of Marine arts and sciences. He is in the Regiment of Midshipmen, learning the engineering side of the nautical business. He could have been on his first voyage learning about steam propulsion. I am very proud of him and losing him, particularly to something as senseless as this incident, would kill me. Coastal Maine has been deeply hurt by this. I am a relative newcomer but I know people directly involved in this tragedy. Aside from the gripping narrative, the book raises the question of why this could happen and how we insure it never happens again. I am asking my son to read or listen to this and hope he will change his mind and do so. If your son or daughter wants to live on the oceans, let them make a decision based on reality. “Moby Dick” was reality in its time, and this book serves the purpose now. And for those of us who hate getting wet, let’s reflect on the low cost stuff we buy in the store every day. What does it REALLY cost?

38 people found this helpful

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Tragedy in Vivid Detail

Well researched and written this book tells how ignorance, pride, commercial pressure, traditions discipline at sea, and the failure to outfit the El Faro with covered life rafts culminates in tragedy. This outcome could have been avoided. This pattern of failure will not be unfamiliar to anyone forced to work for someone ill equipped to handle the job. At sea, and in a hurricane, El Fargo’s destiny was sealed with every small misstep and decision by the captain and the corporation that failed the sailors tasked with delivering her cargo.

10 people found this helpful

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A compelling story with excellent narration

After listening to "Run the Storm" by George Michelsen Foy, read by L.J. Ganser, I decided that this is the better version. There is more background on the personalities involved and on the company, and the narration is much better!

7 people found this helpful

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Lacking credibility

Using this tragedy as a platform for your never-ending political agendas...REALLY??

Too many of the author's personal biases intertwined with the facts. Made it difficult to separate the opinions and misstatements from what is really known.

There are other research efforts about this tragedy that I want consider instead.

100 people found this helpful