on 14 September 2006
I read this book over a few days. Each time I picked it up I ended up reading for much longer than I had planned as it was difficult to put down. Nando's story is incredible, and we find out so much more about what he was thinking than in Alive (the book and the film). We follow his high points and low points, and I was inspired by his message that love is what saved him. I think it would be impossible to read this book and not gain a fresh perspective on life and love. As I was reading I got very involved in the story, as his thoughts and feelings are portrayed so well.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
on 3 November 2006
This is, without question, one of the best books I have ever read. You may think you know the story but this book moves it onto a different level entirely. I guarantee, you simply will not be able to put it down: an old cliche but, in this case, absolutely true. The proof is that, although you know the outcome, you read each page believing they simply won't survive. That's not to give the impression that this is melodramatic and over the top: far from it. This is as sensitive an account as you will ever read. And the bonus in the final section is Parrado's views on life, love and religion; if you are not moved by this man's honesty, you never will be. The key to the success of the book is Raus's totally brilliant job as a ghost writer. His articulation of Parrado's thoughts is done with an economy of words which nevertheless describes each situation with clarity and simplicity. It is so effective, you are right there in the Andes. It is beautifully written. I can not recommend this book highly enough.
on 12 July 2006
I read Alive by Piers Paul Read over 10 years ago and the courage and strength of all the survivors has stayed with me since. This book offers a different perspective as it tells the story from the eyes of one of the survivors. It is both harrowing and compelling, the type of book you won't want to put down. A fantastic and humbling read to all of us who grumble about the daily stresses and strains of life.
I'm familiar with the story of the plane crash in the Andes involving a young rugby team from Uruguay on their way to a match in Chile. I've seen a feature film and a documentary about events. Both were challenging to watch, but I had no idea about the real extent of this tragedy.
The author was a survivor and after some years, he's written this considered, well balanced although often harrowing account of the crash and its aftermath. There's barely a spare word in a narrative which details deprivation and endurance beyond understanding. Ingenuity, resourcefulness, courage and occasional divine intervention, both good and bad, all played a part in the aftermath of the crash. This is one of the most profoundly moving books I've ever read. Nando Parrado writes with warmth and understanding about his friends and team mates. He writes with insight, compassion and self awareness which brings these (mainly) young men vividly to life. That anyone survived the actual crash may be considered a miracle, but to follow the story of the next weeks as a group of survivors struggle to live is a really emotional ride. It's impossible to imagine being stranded thousands of feet up in the Andes, wearing light summer clothing, without food or heat and no experience of snow which was waist deep. Their physical strength depleted through starvation and dehydration, to say nothing of the injuries sustained during the crash, they had to draw on every ounce of mental and spiritual strength in order to survive.
The writing is always measured, which makes it all the more powerful and it's a very thought provoking account which leaves the reader reflecting on a number of moral issues. It certainly puts every day to day gripe about some misfortune or other into perspective. It's a book I'd recommend to everyone.
on 5 June 2006
I was 8 years old when I first read about the horrendous crash in the Andes and the subsequent journey by 2 of the survivors to get help. It is probably one of only a few news stories that I really remember.
I have read 'Alive' by Piers Paul Reid, but found this book more heartwrenching because it was actually by one of the men who walked across the mountains to freedom and to get help for their friends who stayed behind at the crash site. This is a story that will stay with you, probably all the more because it is true. A true tale of courage and stamina that I don't think anyone would be able to match.
Having read Piers Paul Read's book, "Alive", a riveting account of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes mountains in which sixteen of the forty-five aboard survived a harrowing ordeal on the mountain for nearly two and a half months, I was sufficiently intrigued to read a first person account by one of the pivotal survivors of that ordeal. I was not disappointed.
Nando Parrado, reflecting back over a span of thirty plus years, shares his experiences with the reader. At twenty-three, as a young Uruguayan high on life and flying to an exhibition rugby game in Chile, he was master of his universe, when the unthinkable happened. The plane carrying his family, friends, and teammates, suddenly crashed onto a glacier deep in the Andes Mountains. The crash killed many of those he had known and loved, including his beloved mother and sister. Life as he knew it was over, and from its ashes a new Nando Parrado was born.
Before the crash, Nando had lived a comfortable, privileged life and was more of a follower than a leader. Yet, as their situation on the mountain became more desperate and death seemed a certainty for all of them were extraordinary measures not taken, Nando rose to the challenge, emerging as a leader in the unlikeliest of circumstances. In a desperate bid to save his life and that of the other survivors, an emaciated and ill-clad Nando, together with his friend, Roberto Canessa, climbed an unknown peak in the Andes, and trekked over forty-five miles across frozen terrain to seek help for the remaining survivors. How he and Roberto did this is the stuff from which legends are made. It is simply an extraordinary and riveting story.
In his reflections and reminiscences, Nando explains the impact this singular event had on his life and how it shaped him into the man he became. It is a story well-told and one worth reading. Those who love memoirs and true life adventure stories will find themselves riveted to the pages of this book. It is little wonder that this book has become a New York Times bestseller.
on 27 October 2006
. . . Well, almost. This is, quite simply, one of the most moving and life-enhancing books I have read. I managed to put it down for just three and a half hours - to get some sleep - while reading it in one sitting. It's one of those books you want to put into the hands of all your friends and beg them to read it. I was completely overwhelmed by the strength and courage of Nando and the other survivors - and indeed of those who fought so bravely to stay alive, but eventually lost the battle. If you never buy another book this year, buy this one. You won't regret it.
Most of us will never have to ask ourselves such a question, but at only 23 years old, Nando Parrado had to.
We have all heard the story of the Uruguayan rugby team travelling to Chile by plane that met with disaster. The plane, unable to maintain its height because of severe weather conditions, collides with one of the sharp mountainous peaks. The plane is cut in two, one half plummets from the sky only to crash among the towering peaks of the Andes, while the other half--carrying survivors--hits the incline of a snow-covered mountain and dives deep into a valley. Those who survived the crash, look to the skies above, hoping and praying for any sign of rescue. With limited food supplies and limited clothing to shield them from the cold, they are forced to come face to face with the knowledge that they must act or they will die. Three brave men begin a journey--a gruelling trek that no one has ever attempted before, with only a glimmer of hope and no clear path to their destination, they set out to help their friends and save themselves. One of these men is Nando Parrado; Miracle in the Andes is his personal story.
The first few pages of the novel walks the reader through Parrado's first moments after the crash as he wakes up and realises his gruesome predicament. He describes the cold as it first hit him, "burning his skin like acid," making it hard to breathe, hard to move, and as a consequence even harder to live. Those first moments are terrifying, and the reader is right there with him, experiencing every chilling second. As the book progresses, Parrado reflects on his life leading up to the crash. Unlike Nando, his father was a hardworking man who worked long hours to make sure that his family could live the life that he did not. His father's philosophy was that all the good things in life have to be earned. Parrado talks about how his father tried to teach him this lesson, but he did not listen as he was more interested in girls and rugby than having to grind out a living. Yet Parrado must have learnt this lesson; how else could he have survived what he did?
Written in the first person, Miracle in the Andes enables the reader to experience each long, excruciating step of Parrado's journey. It is an open and honest account of a tragedy and one man's struggle to survive. I would not recommend this book for in-flight reading! But I do highly recommend reading this book at some point in life. Miracle in the Andes is not just a story of survival; it is a story of the lengths a person will go to save a friend. The boys who were travelling to Chile to play rugby became men through their experiences. They should be thought of as heroes, an example to us all - "that anything is possible as long as you are willing to suffer."
If this book has any lesson for us, it is perfectly expressed in the last line: "Do not waste a breath."
on 5 December 2011
I looked at the reviews for this book and was shocked that there could possibly be a 2* review...... Obviously they are entitled to their opinion.....
However in my opinion that is extremely harsh!
What I didn't understand is that it is clearly a version of events written by Nando himself, so of course it's going to be different o the version of Alive, which I have not yet read... I am waiting for the kindle version....
It is still a brilliant story a true story, that hopefully none of us will ever have to endure. I happen to think that the brief description of those aboard is actually very clever, some of these people simply did not survive for very long, so why go into detail about them when they are simply not going to be in the book. This is not an obituary.....
I'm sure Nando harbours great feelings to those aboard, but it does not mean he has to explain all of their lives in character development.
The story is gripping, extremely well written, upsetting in parts, simply amazing in others.
I say well done to Nando and more people should buy and read this book.
on 17 April 2011
This book was captivating from the very beginning, and I had to be diciplined to put the book down go to sleep at night!
I didn't know much about this famous plane crash, and I hadn't seen any of the films, but the impression I'm left with is that the story is told very realistically. Nando Parrado was one of the two survivors who, after spending weeks at the crash site in the snowy Andes, without much to eat (we get all the inside info here, too), and walked all the way to the civilization to get help. Parrado introduces the personalities of many of the people involved in the plane crash, and then starts the story about their intense fight for survival. The book gripped me, and held me in it's grip until the end. Actually, I can take it so far as to say the book has changed me as a person (in a good way).