Saturday, June 29, 2013

"The Arctic shows no mercy..."

Looking for a great summer read?  I've come across several excellent books the last few months I'd recommend like The Last of the Doughboys, Toms River, and The Boys in the Boat, and I'll add one more: If you loved Unbroken (and who didn't? It's still on the NYTimes best-seller list) you'll love Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff, too.

In November 1942 a cargo plane on its way to Europe crashed on the Greenland ice cap. The crew of 5 survived the crash but were in a dangerous situation. No one knew exactly where they were, and four days later a B-17 involved in the search-and-rescue with 9 men aboard crashed as well. With winter weather making searches difficult and frequently impossible, the men faced sub-zero temperatures and hurricane force winds with little protection except a plane broken in half and only a couple of days worth of food. Even more frightening was the glacier they sat on, which was riddled with deep crevasses that were hidden by thin layers of snow and ice preventing them from leaving and keeping rescuers from reaching them.

This is an incredible story of danger and survival in one of the least hospitable places on earth. It's by the same author who wrote Lost in Shangri-La but I think this one is better. (It's a lot like Unbroken but with a Shackleton-like twist.) The situation of the crashed men continually goes from bad to worse, and would-be rescuers willingly put their lives at risk for strangers. It's a story full of heroes, but it's also two stories in one as Zuckoff tells of the modern-day efforts to find the wreckage and retrieve any bodies still on the ice cap – a story that's still in process. (I received an advance copy from Amazon Vine.)

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