Dangers of the Sea

"A Squall off Cape Horn" - Currier & Ives (Library of Congress)

“Never trust her at any time when the calm sea shows her false, alluring smile.”

– Lucretius


It seems vaguely appropriate to take a look at stories of the sea when we’ve been getting a little drenched here in the Magic Valley (but not as bad as in other places – fingers crossed). Still, they say the sea is a harsh mistress, and those of us in landlocked Idaho may only be able to appreciate this vicariously through a good book.

Featuring tragedies and triumphs – and sometimes both at the same time – the following books detail the challenges of a sea voyage. If you’re looking for a watery adventure, try one of these without the fear of getting wet (unless you read it outside during the next week – you might want to check the forecast!).


Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea – Steven Callahan

All the Men in the Sea: The Untold Story of One of the Greatest Rescues in History – Michael J. Krieger

Black Wave: A Family’s Voyage of Adventure and the Disaster that Saved Them – John Silverwood and Jean Silverwood

Burning Cold: The Cruise Ship Prinsendam and the Greatest Sea Rescue of All Time – H. Paul Jeffers

Capsized – James Nalepka

Deadliest Sea: The Untold Story Behind the Greatest Rescue in Coast Guard History – Kalee Thompson

Fatal Forecast: An Incredible True Tale of Disaster and Survival at Sea – Mike Tougias

The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue – Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex – Nathaniel Philbrick

The Last Run: A True Story of Rescue and Redemption on the Alaska Seas -Todd Lewan

Left for Dead: The Untold Story of the Greatest Disaster in Modern Sailing History – Nick Ward

Miracles on the Water: The Heroic Survivors of a World War II U-Boat Attack – Tom Nagorski

The Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Michael Schumacher

Not Without Hope – Nick Schuyler and Jere Longman

On the Edge of Survival: A Shipwreck, a Raging Storm, and the Harrowing Alaskan Rescue that Became a Legend – Spike Walker

A Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea – Sebastian Junger

Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea – Tami Oldham Ashcraft

Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum – Edward T. O’Donnell

The Ship and the Storm: Hurricane Mitch and the Loss of the Fantome – Jim Carrier

Shipwrecks: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Worst Disasters at Sea – David Ritchie

Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea – Frank Delaney

Ten Hours Until Dawn: The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do – Mike Tougias

The Terrible Hours: The Man Behind the Greatest Submarine Rescue in History – Peter Maas

Titanic at Two AM – Paul J. Quinn

Wreck of the Carl D.: A True Story of Loss, Survival, and Rescue at Sea – Michael Schumacher

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