(CBS Local)– It’s been almost 40 years since a commercial fishing boat named Wind Blown left Montauk Harbor and never returned. Four men were on that boat and neither the bodies nor the boat were ever recovered. A new book from author and journalist Amanda Fairbanks called “The Lost Boys of Montauk” takes a look back at the tragedy and features conversations with the family members who lost husbands, brothers and sons.
CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith caught up with Fairbanks to discuss what it was like to write the book and why it was important to have an outside perspective on this story.READ MORE: Primary Election Day Guide For Voters In New York
“I’m a longtime print and newspaper reporter and this is my first book. It took me about three and a half years,” said Fairbanks. “Once I had 10,000 interview notes on my computer, I felt like this was not a newspaper or a magazine story, but the beginnings of a book. I interviewed over 100 people and dove into public and private correspondences and public records. I became particularly interested in this story, not just because of the four men who lost their lives, but also because of the widows, the girlfriends and the mothers and how each of them would piece their lives back together after this tragedy.”
Fairbanks says being an outsider helped her because she wasn’t beholden to anyone’s version of what happened. The author moved to New York from California and only learned about this story when she was working as a writer at East Hampton Star newspaper.READ MORE: NYC Mayoral Candidates Make Last-Minute Push For Votes Ahead Of Primary Day
“I live in Sag Harbor and I love living here, but I grew up on the West Coast. I have a real fondness and appreciation for the area and the history,” said Fairbanks. “This is not an authorized biography. This is one journalist’s objective retelling on what had occurred based on all the interviews with sources. I have such reverence for everyone in the story, especially the survivors. This was 1984 with four young men and four class differences. It was fascinating for me to learn about trauma’s insidious effect on people’s lives, some of whom have moved on more successfully than others after this incident.”
The author became obsessed with the story because of how many different layers there were to write about. Another intriguing part of the reporting was learning how Montauk evolved from a middle class whaling town to a popular destination for the wealthy.
“In addition to the women piece of this story, this is very much a story about fathers and sons,” said Fairbanks. “These four men found themselves on this boat and were caught in this horrific storm and they never came back. Through my reporting, I discovered they shared one thing in common, which was this very intense dynamic between their fathers. There was a uniting force that led them all out to sea.”MORE NEWS: More Violence On Subways: Police Say Tourist Hit With Bottle, Man Slashed In Separate Attacks
“The Lost Boys of Montauk” is available on Tuesday, May 25 wherever books are sold.