I had recently watched a documentary about this real life story and the subject of eating the dead to stay alive for some reason totally compelled me to find out more. As I am not a book reader I firstly decided to watch the 1993 film Alive which disappointingly did not do the story any justice or the survivors and what they went through; I therefore decided to buy the book. The book is brilliant. It captures the struggle the survivors went through and explains in detail what they had to do to say alive. The author also draws attention to the parents of the boys and what they went through in this time. If you are into none-fiction novels of survival this is definitely a book for you! I loved it and will for sure read it again.
Like some others, I recently came across the documentary of this story on youtube - and it rekindled my interest in the event - as I can remember it when it actually happened. I like others watched the film many years ago - but it wasn't a patch on the documentary (I did try and watch he film again - but couldn't get through it). So because of the documentary (which mentioned this book), I decided to get the book (also as it had the best reviews of all the books written about the events) and I thought it would add more detail than a 1.5 hour documentary can actually manage. Overall I enjoyed the book - but I wouldn't give it 5 stars - as I think it could have been constructed better than it actually was (in my humble opinion!). First, it was hard to follow all the 44 characters in the book who were on the flight - because it was just too difficult to remember who someone was just by their name - so it would have been useful to have an index of who they were and how they fitted into the overall scheme of things - so when they were mentioned - I didn't have to leaf back through the book to find out more information about the person mentioned. Also, I found there was too much time spent on the 'search and rescue' part of the story - this at times, was quite boring - especially as you probably know before you start that this turned out to be fruitless - so this section could have been summarised, as it didn't contribute that much to the overall story. Equally, what should have been part of the most dramatic piece in the book - when Nando and Robert Canessa trekked down from the climbing the highest point - just seemed lacking in detail - especially as they were walking a long way - over many days descending from over 15,000 feet - I expected to be told much more than we were - and it seemed to me - as if this part of the story was skipped over to some extent - perhaps because they were just relentlessly slogging out the miles - however I'm sure there must have been more to tell than there actually was? Finally, one of the criticisms of the book made by the survivors (recorded in the documentary) - was that it didn't convey any of the raw 'life and death' emotion the survivors felt being in that situation - and I tend to agree - as the book does read more like a novel (in which the author is detached from situation) rather than being biographical in nature (e.g. there are no quotes). That said - I would still recommend it - as the story itself is a remarkable one - and this is still conveyed quite well in the book.
I devoured this book in 2 days reading whenever I could as I could not put it down. It is one of my favourite books now and will be reread over and over. It is just such an amazing survival story. We all know the story and the outcome but reading the book was like living through the experience with them. The style of writing I found was matter of fact, simple and truthful. It was not sensationalised and dramatic, the simplicity of the language had a bigger impact on me and as I read I felt that I was there. The book starts with a bit of background on the boys, their school and rugby team and the decision to charter a plane. Then the journey, the crash, their time on the andes, the expedition, their rescue, and the aftermath. Reading the crash was so well explained I felt I was experiencing it too. The story on the survivors on the andes was broken up by chapters on the search efforts of the parents and relatives and this was a very interesting addition to the story. They had consulted a clairvoyant in their desperation who ended up making quite a few remarkably accurate predictions. We all know that the survivors ate human flesh to stay alive but the book, which could be gruesome to some, fully explains how and why. I was surprised at the honesty of the language in detailing it wasn't just the meat that they ate. As hunger and desperation to survive took over they were forced to literally eat whatever they could from the bodies-blood clots, lungs, fat, skin, organs. But as a reader I didn't feel repulsion, just awe and sympathy for what they had to do. The expedition to reach Chile was fascinating to read and the rescue. This is what I loved about the book over the movie. In the movie it ends as the boys are being rescued but the book continues the story and answers the unanswered questions. For example I did not know that the boys on the andes were forced to spend another night there with their rescuers as the weather did not permit the helicopter to reach them safely. I also was interested to learn about the aftermath-their time in hospital recovering, and the early press conferences they gave. The end of the book explained some unanswered questions I had regarding the plane and what happened. If you want to know, they sent a rescue team there to bury the bodies amd then they set fire to the plane so that it no longer exists. The book had maps and photos for reference which was a helpful addition. All in all I recommend this book as one of the greatest survival stories and I urge you to read it for yourself.
I can only speak for myself when I say, This is my favorite book of all time. I bought a copy of Alive when it first came out and could not put it down. My copy has become very tatty over the years. so this is a replacement. True story of survival against all the odds. Would thoroughly recommend.
I Got Interested In This story again after seeing an absorbing Documentary on TV over The Christmas holidays. of course I have read The book and had a well worn copy in my library for Quite sometime I felt after seeing The program it was Time to renew it. I am not really going To give you a review of The story Except to say This is The True account of The Andes plane crash Disaster from 1972 as Told by The survivors Themselves. I Think it's safe To say for a certain Generation of us we all know The harrowing events surrounding This story and That it would have been retold and passed down To our younger Generation. The book is 16 survivors interpretation of The ordeal each one went Through The pages olso retell The story Through archive pictures Taken before The Tragedy and during The survivors ordeal. It is an absorbing read from start to finish To remind each of us That The events of Friday 13th October 1972 Should Never Be Forgotten.
Loved the book and the way it was presented. I will however say that Nando Parrado's own account is better because it is a 1st person testimony. Overall, Piers did a good job I will say. But what makes the book good is the story itself. What an experience! what an amazing example! I am amazed and the more a read and see about "the miracle of the Andes" the more I am amazed by it and with it. My advise is to buy the book and to read it but also, buy the first person account of Nando Parrado or any of the other survivors.
I bought this after watching on documentary about the incident and I was not disappointed. This book is very honest account of the Andes survivors story and is a testament to a person's willingness to survive. I had difficulty putting this one down. The only problem I had was remembering which character was which but given the scope of the people involved this was inescapable and the author managed this as best he could. I would recommend this to anyone lover of survival stories real or fiction.