The Perfect Storm is a terrific book that was made into a great movie. It is an accurate portrayal of the men, women, families, and communities that comprise the fishing industry. It is semi-biographical in that the author Sebastian Junger tells the story of the six men on the Andrea Gail who were lost at sea during a horrendous storm.
The book contains numerous subplots and character conflicts. There are three problems in the book. The first is the fishing industry is in decline. The fishermen on the Andrea Gail are struggling financially, and the pressing financial needs of the men strain their relationships with their families and each other. The implication is the men know of the danger and unpredictability of the weather but choose to leave the safety of the harbor to fish one last time during the season.
The second problem in the book implies the men of the Andrea Gail were conflicted as to what to do when the massive storm suddenly overtakes the small fishing boat. The movie visually portrays the struggle and decisions of a seasoned captain and crew not unfamiliar with storms. But this storm is a "perfect storm": an unprecedented collision between two weather fronts from two different directions colliding at the point where the hapless boat happened to be.
The third problem is the main problem: the storm itself. The collision of two weather fronts was violent. Hurricanes are the most violent weather storms on Earth. It is hard to put into words in terms we can comprehend how much energy is released in a hurricane. NOAA estimates, "This is equivalent to 200 times the world-wide electrical generating capacity—an incredible amount of energy produced!" One can only imagine what the last few hours of the brave crew of the Andrea Gail must have been like.