I am a self-confessed non-fiction geek and my favourite type of book is one full of remarkable true stories. Beautifully written by David Long and sumptuously illustrated by Kerry Hyndman Survivors is an epic collection of such stories and it makes for a superb read.
Survivors is twenty-three amazing stories of survival against the odds…Julianne Koepcke never thought she would need to ‘survive’ when she boarded a plane to fly home. Brant Webb and Todd Russell didn’t think they would need to ‘survive’ when they headed to work. Rob Tesar didn’t think he would need to ‘survive’ on a hiking trip. But when things went catastrophically wrong and their lives depended on it they all needed to find a way to survive…
Available as a deluxe oversized hardback and featuring stunning illustrations, Survivors is a fascinating collection of terrifying ordeals and true survival stories. Each short story is highly readable and the dramatic recounts will thrill, inspire, excite, shock and will be met with sharp intakes of breath, gasps and whispers of ‘no way’.
The stories date as far back in time as 1823 (Hugh Glass - The trapper who grappled with a grizzly bear; Missouri River, USA) through to 2014 (Johann Westhauser - The caver who got trapped for a dozen days; Germany). More well-known stories include Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctica expedition and Aron Ralston’s venture into Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, the latter would inspire the movie 127 Hours.
As I sat reading I was trying to imagine the various situations and it was impossibly difficult. Imagine the worst day possible and then amp it up by a very large number and you might get close to an idea of how bad the days and weeks that these ‘survivors’ had to endure were. Expeditions gone wrong and harrowing events in all corners of the globe leave various individuals stranded in the worst possible circumstances and fighting to stay alive when the odds are firmly stacked against them. Air, land, sea and in some case under the sea all pose their own challenges and lead to unbelievable solo survival efforts and daring and carefully plotted rescues. What unites these stories is humankind's innate survival instincts, an incredible resourcefulness and a steely determination to survive.
Quite often staring death in the face and having to deal with unsurmountable challenges and life threatening situations, each story has a person or persons who, with the bit between their teeth, display grit, courage, bravery, determination and show the true strength of the human spirit. In many instances it would have been easier to give up and die than to live through the distressing experiences but each story reaches a favourable and quite often miraculous conclusion.
Survival is tough and David Long does not shy away from the harsh realities of the situations and the grim and gruesome acts that are needed to survive: bruises come as standard, bones are often broken, limbs are cut off, animals are killed and life-saving surgery is performed on one’s self. Nothing is explained in graphic detail, it simply states what needed to be done to survive.
Readers of all ages who are fascinated by incredible human stories will thoroughly enjoy this collection. Outstanding.
Recommended for 9+.