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Extended Audio Sample The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime, by William Langewiesche Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Langewiesche Narrator: William Langewiesche Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Riveting stories of our last frontier and the acts of God and man upon it

Even if we live within sight of the sea, it is easy to forget that our world is an ocean world. The open ocean spreads across three-fourths of the globe. It is a place of storms and danger, both natural and manmade. And at a time when every last patch of land is claimed by one government or another, it is a place that remains radically free. With typically understated lyricism, William Langewiesche explores this ocean world and the enterprises—licit and illicit—that flourish in the privacy afforded by its horizons. Forty-three thousand gargantuan ships ply the open ocean, carrying nearly all the raw materials and products on which our lives are built. Many are owned or managed by one-ship companies so ghostly that they exist only on paper. They are the embodiment of modern global capital and the most independent objects on earth—many of them without allegiances of any kind, changing identity and nationality at will. Here is free enterprise at it freest, opportunity taken to extremes. But its efficiencies are accompanied by global problems—shipwrecks and pollution, the hard lives and deaths of the crews, and the growth of two perfectly adapted pathogens: a modern and sophisticated strain of piracy and its close cousin, the maritime form of the new stateless terrorism. This is the outlaw sea—perennially defiant and untamable—that Langewiesche brings startlingly into view. The ocean is our world, he reminds us, and it is wild.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Astonishing…Langeweische’s narrative achieves an almost operatic grandeur…As [he] demonstrates time and time again in this brave, often electrifying book, [the sea] is a world that is both new and very old, and we ignore it at our own peril.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Langewiesche has evolved into perhaps our leading forensic journalist, a voracious student of all that can go wrong. Like a literary-minded accident investigator, he digs for every shred of evidence, without worrying about whom his conclusions might offend.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “In understated prose that highlights the dangers inherent in the freedom of the seas, Mr. Langewiesche points out the helplessness of American officials who believe that a large-scale maritime terrorist attach currently poses the most serious threat to their national security…Mr. Langewiesche is especially good on how the ocean…can descend into such chaos in practice.”


  • “[Langewiesche’s] nail-biting description is more gripping than The Perfect Storm or Titanic.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “William Langewiesche is that rare magazine writer whose narrative journalism has a shelf life longer than a week or a month…A magisterial effort of reporting.”


  • “Eye-opening…[Langewiesche] is a master at explaining complex technological subjects for a general audience…With a simple and unadorned prose that is elegant in its clarity, Langewiesche…lets his astonishing facts tell the story.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “An unsettling and hard-hitting account.”

    Boston Sunday Herald

  • The Outlaw Sea points out the sea’s great influence on our lives, something that is often forgotten, ignored, or taken for granted…Langewiesche presents an excellent overall picture of the many problems affecting the world’s shipping, for which practical solutions have so far been elusive.”

    Associated Press

  • “Exteremely detailed and highly readable…An important tale, informatively told.”

    Buffalo News

  • “Langewiesche’s prose is always elegant and gripping for its restraint…We’re lucky to have Langewiesche’s The Outlaw Sea as our map.”

    Detroit Free Press

  • One of the 2004 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction
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