This is a work of integrity, compassion, and old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism. I didn't know much about commercial shipping or weather systems when I opened the book; now I not only know more, I care. How does George Michelsen Foy manage to make a container ship's pumps, holds, and consoles (not to mention the physics of how a tropical depression becomes a Category 4 hurricane) so fascinating? Here's how: He starts and ends with El Faro's people, the mates and hands and captain who uncomplainingly do their jobs until they can't do them any more.
Some "disaster book" authors tug at the reader's pity or conscience by resorting to inventions and assumptions. Foy doesn't play those tricks. When no one knows exactly what occurred at a particular moment, he reports that no one knows exactly what occurred. When he makes an informed guess, he says "maybe" and "perhaps." He acknowledges the agonizing void at the center of this story—the "why" that won't ever be answered. And still he keeps you racing through his book, because you HAVE to know what happens to El Faro and her people at the end.