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We Die Alone: A World War Two Epic of Escape and Endurance Paperback – 23 May 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; New edition edition (23 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841952486
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841952482
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.5 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 971,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Fills one with humble admiration."--"New York Times " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

During World War II David Howarth ran a spy ring from which both this volume and his previous best-seller - The Shetland Bus - derive. Mr Howarth, who died in 1991, was the author of two dozen major history books.

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
The author sets the scene very well and takes you into the story without delay. Four men set out to carry out sabotage operations in occupied Norway during WWII, arranged by London. An unfortunate set of circumstances leads to their discovery before they have a chance to even get going. This results in one man of Norweigan origin, on the run trying to evade capture.
Isolation, extreme temperatures, lack of food, lack of medical aid, constant real threat of capture and therefore death. This man appears to have survived on pure determination and the generosity of the people who helped "one of their own", despite risk of certain death and the death of their families should they be discovered.
A very good read
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By bevandnigelbrown@bigfoot.com on 9 Jan. 2000
Format: Paperback
Having operated in the region in winter myself,the story of this incredible Norwegian, who having landed on the North Nowegian coast by fishing boat from Shetland, was then to undertake a perilous journey over the mountains and fjords to safety in Sweden. Hunted by the Germans occupying his native country, the story of Jan Balstrud, as told by David Howarth, demonstrates the ability of the mind to conquer the body in appaling conditions and with little or no equipment. I could not put the book down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Calixthe on 11 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a story I enjoyed reading right from the opening chapter. I like stories that ring true and depict human endurance that make our daily ordeals look pale in comparison. We Die Alone does just that, with Jan and his friends going through trials that take them through hell and back. I like the era, WWII, after reading Disciples of Fortune that has a similar setting. The plot of We Die Alone is brilliant and the writing flows in an effortless manner, bringing forth a strong narration and succinct dialogue. Overall, this is a great story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Annie on 28 Feb. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This book caught my attention from the very begining and held it to the very last word. An amazing story of one one mans survival against all the odds.A story full of courage, humility and human strength. Though the story was of one mans survival it also made clear the great spirit of human kindness and loyalty.I could see every place and every detail mentioned which is something I always expect from a good book and it did not let me down. It is well worth the purchase and I would recomend it without hesitation
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By james turnbull on 14 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book makes the tales that cam out of the gulf war look tame. Stories about going 3 days walking through the deserts of Iraq and then having to do a couple of heroic things is nothing compared to the struggle faced by Jan.
Jan went to hell and back in the worse terrain the world has on offer. Not only is he the hero but he is helped by so many who risk their lives to help a man in the finals stages of life. Their actions are inspirational and truely saved him.
You wont put this book down.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jesus Alberto Diez Sanz on 15 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
In my opinion is one of the best books I've ever read. It symbolises the triumph of the courage and the spirit against the worst circunstances.
An incredible story. It seems impossible to believe it is a true story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rob Kitchin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 May 2012
Format: Paperback
In March 1943 a fishing boat sailed into Norwegian waters high above the Arctic Circle near to Tromso. On board were 8 crew, 4 Norwegian commandos and several tonnes of supplies and arms. The mission was to land the commandos and the cargo, make contact with local resistance leaders and to train them, and to attack a German airbase used to patrol the north Atlantic and the northern passage to arctic Russian ports. They find their original landing site patrolled by German craft so head to a new island 30 miles to the north. There, their attempt to make contact with local allies goes disastrously wrong and they are betrayed. Attacked by a warship, only one man, Jan Baalstrud, manages to get away, swimming to shore in freezing waters and climbing up a snow gully to the top of steep fjord walls whilst under fire. Baalstrud has already had an eventful war. When the German's invaded Norway he worked with the resistance, eventually being arrested by the Swedes whilst operating an escape route. He was imprisoned, then deported, travelling through Russia and eventually making his way to England via Bulgaria, Egypt, Aden, India, South Africa, America and New Foundland. It's 40 miles across Norway to enter neutral Sweden. It is a journey of 40 miles, but it takes Baalstrud 68 days.

Howarth does an admirable job in researching and telling Baalstrud's story. It is a remarkable read - one of those survival against all odds stories that stays with you. I was hooked from the first page to the last. My only quibbles are with the surface stuff - I've no idea why the book is titled, `We Die Alone' (since he didn't), nor why it has the cover it does (he didn't have a rifle, he saw no planes, the landscape is wrong), and the book badly needed a map of the journey (I managed to find one here).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S.B. on 7 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is unbelievably good. You would'nt believe this man could survive under these conditions, but he did !! A testament to human endurance like no other.
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