BOOKS: CAST UP BY THE SEA

THREE MODERN-DAY MARINERS' TALES THAT SHOULD SWEEP AWAY EVEN THE MOST RESOLUTE LANDLUBBER

Reading horribilious accounts of the wet, wide and awful while remaining safe, snug and dry may be a bookworm's naughty perversion. Or call it simple good sense to do one's seafaring while seated and ashore. At any rate, in this boating season armchair mariners have an unusually good selection of chilling watery chronicles to keep them landlocked.

The most striking, and frightening, is Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm (Norton; 227 pages; $23.95). The somewhat peculiar title refers to the disastrous confluence of a large hurricane and a muscular nor'easter in the fishing grounds off New England and Newfoundland in 1991. The...

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