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Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II [Hardcover]

Mitchell Zuckoff
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 April 2013

Frozen in Time is a gripping true story of survival, bravery, and honor in the vast Arctic wilderness during World War II, from the author of New York Times bestseller Lost in Shangri-La.

On November 5, 1942, a US cargo plane slammed into the Greenland Ice Cap. Four days later, the B-17 assigned to the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on board survived, and the US military launched a daring rescue operation. But after picking up one man, the Grumman Duck amphibious plane flew into a severe storm and vanished.

Frozen in Time tells the story of these crashes and the fate of the survivors, bringing vividly to life their battle to endure 148 days of the brutal Arctic winter, until an expedition headed by famed Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen brought them to safety. Mitchell Zuckoff takes the reader deep into the most hostile environment on earth, through hurricane-force winds, vicious blizzards, and subzero temperatures.

Moving forward to today, he recounts the efforts of the Coast Guard and North South Polar Inc. – led by indefatigable dreamer Lou Sapienza – who worked for years to solve the mystery of the Duck’s last flight and recover the remains of its crew.

A breathtaking blend of mystery and adventure Mitchell Zuckoff's Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II is also a poignant reminder of the sacrifices of our military personnel and a tribute to the everyday heroism of the US Coast Guard.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (23 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062133438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062133434
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 15.9 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 511,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Frozen in Time is an “excellent, affecting” book of “considerable suspense…. [Zuckoff’] is a skilled writer, reporter and researcher, but what gives his latest book its power is his poignant, persuasive depiction of men under arms.” (Howard Schneider, Wall Street Journal)

“This is not a genre known for literary style, but Zuckoff’s clear-eyed prose does just what it needs to do…. He even manages to add a contemporary story…and stitch it into the historical narrative so deftly that one feeds the other.” (Washington Post)

“Frozen in Time makes WWII history seem fresh…. [I]t’s non-fiction that reads like a page-turner of a mystery. It’s filled with heroism, tragedy and remarkable persistence, in the past and present.…. Zuckoff is a good writer and rigorous researcher.” (Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today, 3.5/4 stars)

“Mitchell Zuckoff has a nose for the classic adventure story…. As he details the bomber crew’s odyssey…weeks stretch into months, but the pages fly by as you eagerly read on. Will they ever get home safely? Zuckoff’s mastery keeps readers wondering all the way to the end.” (Matthew Price, Boston Globe)

“The gripping story of a WWII-era plane crash, the survivors who braved subzero conditions, and the modern-day quest for answers.” (People)

“A true-life nail-biter—as nimbly paced as a novel. Grade: A.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“This stunningly immersive true-life account of a U.S. military search-and-rescue operation…reads like a stellar adventure novel.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Zuckoff has produced a wonderful book that combines telling details, thoughtful background and vivid storytelling into a fascinating tale of courage, war and perseverance.” (David Williams, Seattle Times)

“If Lost in Shangri-La was a prize-winning page-turner, Frozen in Time is even more enthralling… a must-read.” (Austin American-Statesman)

“Zuckoff’s gripping narrative unfolds with immediacy and verve as men in fetid snow caves and sputtering aircraft pit their dogged camaraderie and desperate, white-knuckle improvisations against the fury of an Arctic winter.” (Publishers Weekly(starred review))

“An . . . exciting account involving characters of enormous courage and stamina.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“This tale of true heroism, human ingenuity, and sacrifice by ordinary people in the face of a bitter enemy is for anyone interested not only in World War II aviation or modern scientific techniques for locating missing aircraft, but in popular histories of real adventure.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“[A]n engaging testimony to perseverance, ingenuity and monumental self-sacrifice.… [Zuckoff is] astoundingly thorough in his research.” (BookPage)

“Once again, Mitchell Zuckoff has uncovered a thrilling historical tale and told it masterfully. Seamlessly interweaving the past and the present, Frozen in Time is one of those epic adventure stories that will hold you in its grip from beginning to end.” (David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z)

“FROZEN IN TIME is a beautifully-written war yarn, but at its heart, it’s a non-fiction mystery—the tale of a group of heroes united in a desire to solve a riddle buried in the Arctic ice.” (Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and Hellhound on His Trail)

“You would think that all the World War II stories have been told by now. But Mitchell Zuckoff has a remarkable knack for finding new ones, and he has done it again, with a gripping, moving tale, suspensefully told—whose final act takes place today.” (Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918)

“[F]ierce…. Mitchell Zuckoff recounts a harrowing tale of survival in Greenland during World War II..” (Daily News)

“[H]arrowing…. Zuckoff…[has] earned his literary reputation uncovering forgotten adventure stories.” (New York Post)

“When it comes to riveting nonfiction, author Mitchell Zuckoff has a knack for finding fascinating but forgotten stories from World War II…. This is a truly suspenseful and thrilling American story of perseverance with a worthwhile payoff in the final pages.… [A] must-read.” (CNN Online)

“First-rate.… His dual narrative is a welcome change of pace from so many other World War II books. It is well-researched and superbly written.” (Steve Weinberg, Dallas Morning News) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

When a cargo plane goes missing over the Greenland ice cap in November 1942, a B-17 is dispatched on a perilous search-and-rescue mission that ends in disaster when the plane crashes into a fogged-out glacier. Almost three weeks later, the U.S. Coast Guard learns that contact has been made with the B-17 crew, who are taking refuge in the plane's broken tail. The Coast Guard begins rescue efforts, successfully extracting two of the B-17 survivors and promising to return for the rest. But as the brutal winter ravages the savage Arctic wilderness, the odds of saving the remaining men rapidly diminish. Out of options, they have no choice but to try and survive alone on the ice cap.

Into this narrative of endurance against all odds, bestselling author Mitchell Zuckoff weaves a breathtaking account of his 2012 journey with a private crew to recover the wreckage of the crashes and the bodies of the victims entombed in the ice, finally piecing together this epic tale of adventure, resilience, and courage.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History brought to life 26 May 2013
By Luanne Ollivier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Subtitled: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II

Mitchell Zuckoff's name might already be familiar to you - he's also the author of a previous best seller - Lost in Shangri-La.

Zuckoff again revisits World War II history, recounting the fate of the men on a US military cargo plane that crashed in November 1942 on the inhospitable shores of Greenland. And that of the men on the rescue B17 plane - that also crashed. And unbelievably, the third rescue plane, the Grumman Duck, that managed to pick up one survivor - and disappeared.

It sounds like a movie plot and improbable that three planes could crash or disappear. What's even more unbelievable is the will of the crash survivors to survive the dead of winter in frozen Greenland.

Zuckoff takes this factual piece of history and makes it 'real' and personal by inserting many, many details. Where did he get his information? There are survivors to this miraculous tale and Zuckoff follows them all the way through to the present.

But, there are those whose bodies have never been recovered. And that's where the present day story kicks in. Between the US Coast Guard and North South Polar Inc. (a group, who as one of their mandates, tries to bring home the bodies of US servicemen) a mission is mounted to find the lost Duck and the men aboard. Zuckoff accompanies this mission to Greenland.

Cutting between past and present Zuckoff brings to life this phenomenal story. I could feel the cold seep into my bone as the men were stranded yet another day. And the desperation of those determined to save them.

I chose to listen to Frozen in Time. Zuckoff himself reads the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read 26 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Makes compelling reading. A real insight into the human endurance against the odds. Would recommend this book to anyone interested in WW2 history.
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Format:Kindle Edition
Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff is a vivid and compelling story of survivial and overcoming the harshest conditions on Earth, The North Arctic Ice. There are actually two stories within this book. The first story is a story of survival within the Arctic wilderness during World War II. This book details the 148 days the surviving crew spent in the Arctic. The book not only describes how the crew physically dealt with the subzero tempertures but also how they coped psychologically with being trapped on the Arctic ice. This part of the book will show you what limits we can endure.

The second story within the book is the modern telling of the attempt to locate and recovery of the two planes that crashed in November of 1942. The first plane was a US cargo plane and the second was a B-17 (Duck) assigned to the search-and-rescue for the first aircraft. The author who actually participated in the search for B-17 (Duck) describes the efforts of the Coast Guard and the private company, North South Polar Inc. Who was led Lou Sapienza. This book is definitely worth your time and I would recommend it to others.

Thank you for reading my review.
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4.0 out of 5 stars True story of fights against the elements 20 Aug 2013
By Andrew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a good intertwined story of 3 different crashes in greenland one plane searching for another and a rescue that went wrong I have read a few war stories but this is really a story of saving lives and recovering the lost
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Format:Kindle Edition
This book is fantastic (I have the audio version), an awesome story of rescue, survival and human perseverance.
A must read for all aviation fans.
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