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Star Dust Falling Paperback – 1 Apr 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New edition edition (1 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552999083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552999083
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 511,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

At 13.46 on August 2, 1947 a British South American Airways plane called Star Dust took off from Buenos Aires to fly over the Andes to Santiago in Chile. It never arrived there. The radio tower at Santiago received a message from Star Dust at 17.41 saying that the plane was a few minutes away from landing. The message ended with the mysterious word, "STENDEC" which was repeated three times. After that there was silence. Star Dust had disappeared.

Many theories were advanced to explain the disappearance. There had been an explosion on board. Despite the message to the contrary, the plane had not made it over the Andes. Aliens had abducted it. (A UFO spotters' magazine later took that last, enigmatic word "STENDEC" as its title.) It was to be more than 50 years before two Argentinian climbers stumbled across debris from Star Dust which led to an explanation of its fate.

Jay Rayner is a fine journalist and the disappearance of Star Dust is a great story. His book gives a gripping and readable account of the plane's last journey and of the modern expedition to locate its final resting place. And, in reconstructing the background to the disaster, he pays a belated tribute to the memory of the 11 people who disappeared with the plane. --Nick Rennison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'A great success...Rayner is a brilliant storyteller' -- Daily Mail

'An intriguing piece of investigative journalism...cleverly done' -- The Times Literary Supplement

'Fleshes out the story exhaustively...Rayner navigates with an easy fluency' -- Guardian

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Dexter on 21 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like many people, I was captivated when I first heard about the loss of the Star Dust and its cryptic last message. However, I suspect that, when writing his account, Jay Rayner found the truth to be rather more banal than it at first appears. The fact is that this is little more than the tale of a crashed aircraft at a time where meteorology was poorly understood and the technology insufficient to compensate. Insofar as that last message, I concur with Rayner; we'll never know what it meant.

Notwithstanding the rather superficial nature of the mystery, the telling of the tale is also disappointing. For instance, Rayner starts to develop biographies of the passengers and crew but never really finishes them: it's difficult to understand why he bothers as they add little to the story or the mystery. Sadly, (for me) he also fails to capture the remoteness, beauty, and ruggedness of the crash site and as a result, the book ends up as a rather arid account that is almost clinical in its presentation.

Perhaps what Rayner should have written is a biography of Don Bennett with the Star Dust story contributing a chapter or two. Clearly, Bennett was an interesting character and he certainly caught the author's imagination; however, whilst it would have made a better book, it would have been harder to sell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 4 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having first heard the story of Stardust as an aside in a programme about avalanches, i was intrugued to find out more.
This was the only book i could find on the subject and wasn't sure what it would be like as i only Know the author as a food critic rather than a journalist. However i was not disappointed. the story itself is facinating and is well told by Mr Rayner.
A jolly good read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
BSAA was an airline that was dogged with rivalry and an over confidence in sub optimal british equipment. Other books have tried to defend the airline's record of disasters.Some of the accidents were due to the pilots being the wrong stuff, determined to press on, when caution should have been the watch word.The loss of the Star Dust was probably unavoidable, as the jet stream was not fully understood. The later crashes were due to the airline purchasing the Avro Tudor, which was a real rotter of an aircraft. BOAC preferred DC4/6/7 and the Stratocruiser or the super Constellation.The Tudor was not in this league.
Rayner is being unfair to BSAA as it had more going for it that BOAC with all its Imperial airways baggage.
Rayner's book is interesting but a bit of a polemic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian Hocking on 2 May 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A just note to say that this is a well written, compelling book. The tone is a little knowing, but if want to know just about as much as there is to know about the mystery, this is the book to read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By chris@christophercook.com on 30 April 2002
Format: Hardcover
Firstly,there is the baffling, sad mystery of a British passenger plane lost for 53 years in the Andes then the incredible tale of a British RAF war hero who went on to set up and run the most dangerous airline in the world. We are transported to a time immediately after the Second World War when flying was rather different than today. The author presents his well-researched and well-written material without sensationalising it, yet he produces a book that is difficult to put down.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 April 2002
Format: Hardcover
Extremely well researched and very readable story of what is probably the greatest aviation mystery of all time. Jay Rayner has travelled extensively and conducted a large number of detailed interviews into this subject. The story is somewhat incredibly still evolving as the wreckage of the aircraft is slowly emerging from an inaccesable glacier high in the Andes.
The book also covers in some detail the earliest days of long distance air travel and gives a very clear idea of what it must have been like to have suffered a journey such as London-Santiago just after WW2.
It is in many ways an amazing story comprising history, moutaineering, aviation, journalism, and wreckless heroics. It would certainly be too incredible to be fiction!
I greatly enjoyed it, Rayner's passion for his subject clearly comes through.
One criticism, the pictures within the book are limited...
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