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Download The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime (Unabridged), by William Langewiesche
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (401 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Langewiesche Narrator: William Langewiesche Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2004 ISBN:
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Even if we live within sight of the sea, it is easy to forget that our world is an ocean world. The open ocean, that vast expanse of international waters, begins just a few miles out and 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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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 shannon | 2/17/2014

    " pirate stories, dramatic ships sinkings, terrorism threats, storms - this book is intense and factual and great and really makes you appreciate the power of the ocean "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh | 2/16/2014

    " This book makes the choosing of # of stars an odd activity. On the one hand, this book changed my understanding of the world. On the other hand, parts of it went on too long and I got a bit bored, even with riveting subject matter. If you've ever wondered why international shipping is so cheap, really, stop wondering. You don't want to know. The sea gives us capitalism at its most pure and terrifying. The chapter about the ship breaking industry in India is one of the most unforgettable things I've ever read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 LeeAnn Heringer | 2/12/2014

    " While the cover blurbs on the book promise another "Prefect Storm" quality reading experience, it's a fine read, but it's not quite that good. The book is broken up into 3 sections, a pirate hijacking in the Asian seas, the Estonia ferry sinking in heavy seas, and the ship breaking beach at Alang, India. The pirate section is great. The ferry sinking less so because in explaining the political fallout, he goes over the same information multiple times. (Though I was shocked at the statistic he threw out that supposedly 20% of all Germans believe that the 9/11 World Trade Center attack was actually done by the United States against its own people.) The 3rd section about the ship breaking industry was the reason I'd picked up the book, but it spends most its space on the Greenpeace efforts to shut down Alang. The author admires Greenpeace more than I do. When during an interview with Greenpeace, he keeps asking what I think is a very interesting question and the Greenpeace representative keeps refusing to answer it, the author says that it's really his fault for asking the wrong question. And since the ship breaking section of the book is over 10 years old, it leaves the question unanswered about what happened with the whole Greenpeace movement to shut down Alang because I believe ships are still being broken down in Alang. I would describe the book as interesting, but not crucial. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 2/11/2014

    " Just finished this book. Dunno why I thought it would be a good book to read right before bedtime--his account of an Estonian shipwreck had me up for hours with my heart in my throat. This is non-fiction that reads like a novel; both intellectually interesting and emotionally effecting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greenbes | 2/11/2014

    " This is basically a pair of magazine articles that have been padded out to book length. There is some really interesting stuff in here, but easily two thirds of the book feels like filler. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tim Shores | 1/31/2014

    " not bad. the book is disproportionately balanced in covering the wrecked Estonia. this shipwreck affords Langewiesche a jaw-dropping prose bonanza when he at last describes the survival-of-the-fittest series of events when the ship goes down. but the examination of the tangled investigation is too well trod, and at times too well revisited. this author is a gifted prose stylist, but because his treatment focuses on narrow, articulate examinations of particular ships and straits, i finished the book feeling still uninformed about the breadth of contemporary shipping in our world. there is only a touch of historical context, only a few nods to the geophysics of our ocean world. i would probably read other books by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leah | 1/30/2014

    " This is a hard book to rate. On one hand, I love Langewiesche's writing style. And I loved the first section of the book about modern piracy and the limitations of a state's ability to protect ports and territorial waters. Unfortunately, the middle section forced me to award three stars when I wanted to give four- too long, too detailed, out of proportion (and tone, I think) with the rest of the book. It was still compelling and truly terrifying- I had nightmares about it... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrew | 1/8/2014

    " Contains a fascinating section on shipbreaking in Alang, India. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo | 1/7/2014

    " Lots of details and events you never hear about. Parts are fasinating, others tragic. It is set up like one news story after another. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin | 1/6/2014

    " Fascinating... and terrifying. I usually don't pay attention to journalists' names, but this fellow's reporting is something else. At this point I just have to see the name "Langewiesche" on the cover and I'm geeked. Seriously, William Langewiesche is the red-pill... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William Thomas | 12/7/2013

    " an enjoyable book about the frontier of the water, the oceans, a sociopolitical study combined with historical analyses of piracy and the IMO, of the dangers of the unregulated cargo liners and accounts of the deaths and sinking of ships year after year due to lax regulatory standards. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric | 7/11/2013

    " Parts of this book were really interesting, including the chapters about the "flags of convenience" and the shipbreaking yards in Alang. However, the chapters about the ferry accidents were too drawn out. Overall, a pretty good book that covers a very interesting topic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A. Jesse | 6/26/2013

    " Langewiesche doesn't have *that* much to say in this big book: Just that the oceans are ungovernable by law or engineering. The individual stories, though, are gripping and the writing propulsive. I usually read pretty dry stuff, and this wet book kept me up one night -- I finished it at 6am. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason Ronstadt | 1/18/2013

    " This guy wrote some profoundly disturbing stuff on terrorism and 9/11. Now this fantastic book on modern day piracy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noah | 1/15/2013

    " As with Fly By Wire, it's tough to describe this book. Langewiesche presents a few different case studies in piracy, shipwrecks, and the like with a very lyrical touch. The accounts of shipwrecks (reconstructed from survivor interviews) are absolutely riveting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael Shilling | 11/23/2012

    " Solid and interesting but a bit dry (no pun intended). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 4/14/2012

    " Though I found Langewiesche's deadpan delivery a bit slow at times, the reseach and detail of this book is deeply impressive. The topic was gripping enough that I didn't mind the author's rather questionable political perspective on the whole thing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 1/5/2012

    " Awesome book; I loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Gager | 4/5/2011

    " I read whatever part of this appeared in The Atlantic as an account of the sinking of the ferry Estonia. Double brutal... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 2/12/2011

    " The book was good in spots but it didn't deliver on the title. The book seemed a bit disjointed to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry | 8/12/2010

    " We may think that we control the se. Langewiesche shows that we don't. Given piracy, oil spills, terrorism, and the abuse of flags of convenience, it's a chilling read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noah | 2/18/2010

    " As with Fly By Wire, it's tough to describe this book. Langewiesche presents a few different case studies in piracy, shipwrecks, and the like with a very lyrical touch. The accounts of shipwrecks (reconstructed from survivor interviews) are absolutely riveting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caroline | 2/11/2010

    " A good book, and includes pirates! But feels superficial, false, somehow. Still, it's provided my best small talk conversations in the past month, so I recommend it. Did you know that some countries make most of their GDP on flags of convenience??? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A. | 12/19/2009

    " Langewiesche doesn't have *that* much to say in this big book: Just that the oceans are ungovernable by law or engineering. The individual stories, though, are gripping and the writing propulsive. I usually read pretty dry stuff, and this wet book kept me up one night -- I finished it at 6am. "

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