North Point Press
Date: May 2004
it at Amazon
Nonfiction – History – Americas – United
States – State & Local
Notes: Reviewer, Kristin Johnson, released her second
book, CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, co-written with Mimi
Cummins, in October 2003. Her third book, ORDINARY MIRACLES:
My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written
with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D., is now available from Publish
By William Langewiesche
if we live within sight of the sea, it is easy to forget that our
world is an ocean world.” So writes William Langewiesche,
who reminds us in The Outlaw Sea that while we are busy watching
the skies for terror alerts, and increasingly concerned over the
space program, the greatest, wildest frontier remains the sea. Certainly
the success of the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of
the World, based on the novels of Patrick O’Brien, proves
that our fascination with the sea remains unabated. It may not be
a coincidence also that “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of
the Black Pearl” was one of the top movies of 2003.
the pirates Langewiesche writes about in this limited edition chapbook
excerpt of The Outlaw Sea, scheduled to make waves in May
2004, are hardly charming Johnny Depp types, much less the gentlemen
portrayed in last year’s The Pirate Next Door. Pirates
such as Christianus Mintodo, who hijacked the Japanese ship the
Alondra Rainbow, bear more resemblance to al-Qa’eda operatives
than to roguish romance novel / Hollywood.
a time when President George W. Bush emphasizes, in the wake of
the capture of Saddam Hussein, that the war on terror is not over,
Langewiesche directs our attention away from the not-so-friendly
skies to the free-enterprise untamed ocean, which the UN, once again
with the best intentions but clearly out of its depth, has attempted
to control with the International Maritime Organization (IMO). While
Langewiesche gives credit to the idealism that spawned the IMO and
its resulting bureaucracy, he skillfully demonstrates that the UN’s
efforts are as effective as weapons inspections in Iraq. The reason?
Ship’s crews and ship’s flags are as easy to fake as
spammers’ e-mail addresses and pirates and terrorists don’t
leave paper trails.
addition, there is the inherent environmental unpredictability of
the ocean that collapsed the merchant ship Kristal. Langewiesche
writes of the incident with Jon Krakauer / Sebastian Junger brilliance.
If this preview is anything to go by, Langewiesche’s book
will compel us so that we must go down to the sea again.