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"A phenomenal feat of journalism. . . . I tore through it like a novel but with the queasy knowledge that the whole damn thing is true." —Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm and War

Blending exclusive first-person interviews and penetrating investigative reporting, oil rig captain John Konrad and veteran Washington Post writer Tom Shroder give the definitive, white-knuckled account of the Deepwater Horizon explosion—as well as a riveting insider’s view of the byzantine culture of offshore drilling that made the disaster inevitable. As the world continues to cope with the oil spill’s grim aftermath—with environmental and economic consequences all the more dire in a region still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina—Konrad and Schroder’s real-time account of the disaster shows us just where things went wrong, and points the way to a safer future for us all.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062063021
List price: $14.99
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Interesting retelling of the events of the recent oil spill. Includes some stories about how oil rigs are run, life on them, etc.more
What often seemed forgotten were the eleven men who lost their lives during the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon. In “Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster”, authors John Konrad and Tom Shroder make sure their stories, as well as the stories of the survivors, are told.Konrad, an oil rig captain, worked for Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon, and knew many of the people who worked on Horizon. His blog, gCaptain.com, was an immediate source of information on the blast, as people working on a supply ship near the Horizon who witnessed the explosion sent photos and updates to his blog.Konrad and Shroder, a former editor and writer at the Washington Post, teamed up to tell this incredible story, which will appeal to anyone who enjoyed Sebastian Junger’s “The Perfect Storm”. (Junger even contributes a blurb for the book.)While both books put the reader right in the middle of the disasters, “Fire on the Horizon” has the advantage of the first-hand stories of the survivors. The section of the book that deals with the actual explosion is so harrowing, your heart will pound and your pulse will race as you read the minute-by-minute account from the people who survived it. The writing is so intense, I could almost feel the unbearable heat and the confusion of the people on that rig as they raced to save themselves and their coworkers from this disaster. Dave Young is one of the most interesting men on the rig. He graduated from the oldest maritime college in the country, SUNY Maritime College. He is “short and tough, supremely self-confident, (and) perfectly represented the scrappy, resourceful, unruly spirit of his college, little known even in its own southeastern Bronx neighborhood.” Young was the chief mate on the ship, and among his responsibilities was to direct the emergency response and firefighting. He had to convince the captain it was time to abandon ship when all attempts to fight the fire were futile. He and a few others narrowly escaped on a life raft that was caught tethered to the rig, and their account of nearly being overcome by heat and fire is frightening.The authors balance the technical aspects of oil rig drilling with the humanity of the people who work on them. They begin the book with the launching of the Deepwater Horizon from the place where it was built. We meet the crew in charge of sailing it from Korea in 2001, around the southern tip of Africa, a fifteen thousand mile trip to the Gulf of Mexico, before it even can begin to do the job for which it was designed.The technical aspects of oil drilling are clearly explained, and there are excellent photos and drawings of the blowout preventer that failed and caused the explosion. The Deepwater Horizon was almost ten years old at the time of the accident, and the age of the rig contributed to accident, as did cuts in the maintenance and human resource budgets from BP and Transocean.“Fire on the Horizon” is fascinating, explaining to the reader in understandable terms how this disaster happened, and bringing to life the people who worked on the rig. It successfully combines the technical and human aspects of the story, and the minute-by-minute retelling of the disaster itself, from the first-hand account of survivors, is as harrowing a story as you’ll ever read.more

Reviews

Interesting retelling of the events of the recent oil spill. Includes some stories about how oil rigs are run, life on them, etc.more
What often seemed forgotten were the eleven men who lost their lives during the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon. In “Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster”, authors John Konrad and Tom Shroder make sure their stories, as well as the stories of the survivors, are told.Konrad, an oil rig captain, worked for Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon, and knew many of the people who worked on Horizon. His blog, gCaptain.com, was an immediate source of information on the blast, as people working on a supply ship near the Horizon who witnessed the explosion sent photos and updates to his blog.Konrad and Shroder, a former editor and writer at the Washington Post, teamed up to tell this incredible story, which will appeal to anyone who enjoyed Sebastian Junger’s “The Perfect Storm”. (Junger even contributes a blurb for the book.)While both books put the reader right in the middle of the disasters, “Fire on the Horizon” has the advantage of the first-hand stories of the survivors. The section of the book that deals with the actual explosion is so harrowing, your heart will pound and your pulse will race as you read the minute-by-minute account from the people who survived it. The writing is so intense, I could almost feel the unbearable heat and the confusion of the people on that rig as they raced to save themselves and their coworkers from this disaster. Dave Young is one of the most interesting men on the rig. He graduated from the oldest maritime college in the country, SUNY Maritime College. He is “short and tough, supremely self-confident, (and) perfectly represented the scrappy, resourceful, unruly spirit of his college, little known even in its own southeastern Bronx neighborhood.” Young was the chief mate on the ship, and among his responsibilities was to direct the emergency response and firefighting. He had to convince the captain it was time to abandon ship when all attempts to fight the fire were futile. He and a few others narrowly escaped on a life raft that was caught tethered to the rig, and their account of nearly being overcome by heat and fire is frightening.The authors balance the technical aspects of oil rig drilling with the humanity of the people who work on them. They begin the book with the launching of the Deepwater Horizon from the place where it was built. We meet the crew in charge of sailing it from Korea in 2001, around the southern tip of Africa, a fifteen thousand mile trip to the Gulf of Mexico, before it even can begin to do the job for which it was designed.The technical aspects of oil drilling are clearly explained, and there are excellent photos and drawings of the blowout preventer that failed and caused the explosion. The Deepwater Horizon was almost ten years old at the time of the accident, and the age of the rig contributed to accident, as did cuts in the maintenance and human resource budgets from BP and Transocean.“Fire on the Horizon” is fascinating, explaining to the reader in understandable terms how this disaster happened, and bringing to life the people who worked on the rig. It successfully combines the technical and human aspects of the story, and the minute-by-minute retelling of the disaster itself, from the first-hand account of survivors, is as harrowing a story as you’ll ever read.more
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