Thursday, April 03, 2014

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (Throwback Thursdays Review)

I am a fan of memoirs and biographical non-fiction. Within that genre I am fairly flexible about what types of stories I enjoy. Stories about illness, families, work, pets and animals, I read it all. One of my favorites is adventure and survival stories.  

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read and Scott P. Werther is a classic in this area. Time has not changed the impact of their story, most well known for the desperate survival tactic utilized by survivors. But this story is about so much more: desperation, fear, love and loss.

In October of 1972, an Uruguayan rugby team was on its way to a game in Chile. Unfortunately, their plane had trouble and crashed in Argentina in the snowy Andes Mountains. The forty-five or so survivors gathered together to wait for rescue, but after weeks many more had died and hope was gone.

Survivors huddled in what was left of the fuselage of the plane, with no food or supplies. A small group of boys set out to find help when the original search was called off. Eventually, the survivors found themselves in the most direst of positions and were forced to cannibalize the bodies of those who had died in the hopes of lasting long enough for rescue to arrive.

This book was an extremely well written story of tragedy and human endurance. The accounting of those harrowing and horrific days is also a tribute to those who were lost. An excellent read for anyone interested in survival stories, but definitely not for the faint of heart.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.