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G. Bruce Knecht

Author of The Proving Ground

7 Works 409 Members 11 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

After earning his MBA at Harvard, Bruce Knecht began writing for the "Wall Street Journal" in New York, where he covered the banking & publishing industries before he became a Hong Kong-based foreign correspondent. He is an avid sailor who has written about his own adventures for "Conde Nast show more Traveler", "The Atlantic Monthly", & the "Journal", from which he is currently on leave. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: G. Bruce Knecht

Works by G. Bruce Knecht


adventure (15) Australia (12) boating (3) commerce (2) conservation (4) disaster (7) disasters (3) ecology (2) Ellison (3) environment (4) fish (2) fisheries (3) fishing (6) food (4) history (13) Hobart (4) Kindle (6) maritime (4) maritime history (2) nature (7) nautical (12) non-fiction (44) Patagonian Toothfish (3) pirates (5) poaching (4) race (4) racing (9) rescue (8) sailing (33) sayonara (3) sea (5) sports (6) storm (3) storms (3) survival (6) Sydney (3) to-read (12) yacht (2) yacht racing (9) yachts (2)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Knecht, G. Bruce
Places of residence
New York, New York, USA
Wall Street Journal



Interesting modern pirate story involving the illegal harvesting of Patagonian tooth fish. one of the longest and expensive and few attempts at prosecution of a bizarre industry. A classic story about fisheries - the tragedy of the commons. And the Moby Dick format - chase narrative interspersed with chapters on fisheries destruction, markets, biographies of key players - works.
Sandydog1 | 4 other reviews | May 25, 2020 |
Still one of my favourite authors... but this was a bit of a let down. Not sure that this piece was ever imagined to be a book. The pace of it is all wrong and it doesn’t build any tension at all.
kenno82 | Jul 27, 2019 |
This was a fascinating story about a subject with which I was completely unfamiliar. I had never heard of the Hobart and knew nothing whatsoever about sailing or yacht racing. I found that this book was an excellent introduction. The story of the disaster itself is a gripping tale - the author focuses on a few specific boats and specific crewmen, alternating between different boats and rescue professionals. I found it relatively easy to recall most of the backgrounds for each of the crewmen that were featured prominently, though some of the crewmen who were mentioned less frequently became jumbled to me.

Although this is a disaster story, and many of the men found themselves in terrible predicaments, I did find that several of the sailors were unlikeable due to their arrogance and unchecked ambition. Larry Ellison - the founder of Oracle - has always had a reputation for his aggressively arrogant nature, and this book didn't do a whole lot to cast him in a different light. Several other sailors had opportunities for growth and change during their harrowing experience and instead went on to be as self-aggrandizing as they were prior to the start of the race. It was hard to drum up sympathy for some of those individuals. However, there were several sailors who showed great strength of character before, during, and after the storm. Although he is not central to the story, Rupert Murdoch's son, Lachlan Murdoch, was aboard Larry Ellison's boat and came across as extremely hard-working and self-reflective.

If you are unfamiliar with yachts, some of the technical details (such as how boats broke apart during the storm) will be lost on you. Since my understanding of yachts is virtually non-existent and comes largely from seeing pictures of recreational yachts, I found it a little difficult to envision the bunks, life rafts, and the decks on a racing yacht, and I wish the book had more pictures. I used Google Images to supplement where the book fell short.
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slug9000 | 2 other reviews | Jul 16, 2014 |
This book reads like an adventure story. Knecht recounts the true story of an Australian Fisheries patrol boat chase of a pirate fishing vessel that had been taking Patagonian toothfish (commercially known as Chilean Sea Bass - how the name change occurred is also part of this story) illegally off Heard Island. The chase went on for weeks through incredibly bad weather and under the most difficult legal conditions. The ship was finally boarded with the help of the South African Navy and then sailed to Australia where the crew was put on trial. I won't spoil the ending for you by revealing the outcome.

Unfortunately, the ultimate message is not optimistic. Short of a worldwide effort to stop illegal fishing in order to prevent the total destruction of a species, I doubt that anything can be done (although the example of porpoise-safe tuna fishing might be one way.) I had difficulty putting this book down.
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ecw0647 | 4 other reviews | Sep 30, 2013 |


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