33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners

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33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners is the riveting and authoritative account of the 2010 San José mine rescue in Chile-after one of the longest human entrapments in history. With his coveted "Rescue Pass," Franklin was permitted access far past the police perimeter. It would be seventeen long days before the miners were discovered alive and the world press descended. It would be another fifty-two days before the miners were all ...
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33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners

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Overview

33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners is the riveting and authoritative account of the 2010 San José mine rescue in Chile-after one of the longest human entrapments in history. With his coveted "Rescue Pass," Franklin was permitted access far past the police perimeter. It would be seventeen long days before the miners were discovered alive and the world press descended. It would be another fifty-two days before the miners were all successfully rescued.

For eight weeks, Franklin conducted interviews with families, rescue workers, the mine psychologist, drill operators, scientists, and the architects of the rescue operation. He reported from an improvised office on the mountainside that was the nerve center of the rescue operation, in a makeshift container. Far below, families and loved ones lived in a cluster of tents known as Camp Hope. While the men were still underground, Franklin interviewed them via a crude telephone; he helped send vital supplies to them via the "paloma" (pigeon). And when the first miners were rescued on October 13, Mr. Franklin had the first media contact with the recently freed men in a series of interviews from inside the field hospital.

33 Men reads like a thriller, toggling between the dramatic chaos belowground as the men realized that their escape routes were blocked and that their shelter held only enough rations for ten men to survive seventy-two hours; and the desperate rescue efforts aboveground-the massive campaign from the top level of the Chilean government to enlist and unite brilliant minds from around the world in the San José rescue effort. In captivating and never-before- revealed detail, Franklin tells a spellbinding story of the improbable survival of the miners, trapped some 2,200 feet underground for sixty-nine days. He also chronicles what had to go right-an impossibly long list-to rescue them all alive. The death-defying rescue demanded endurance, ingenuity, and most of all, unified fronts above and below ground. To be sure, none of this came easily.

Based on more than 110 interviews with the miners, their families, and the rescue team, Franklin's account combines an expert eye for detail and dialogue with the remarkable human interest story of these miners struggling to survive in a savage environment.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The dramatic story of 33 trapped Chilean miners captivated the world for more than two months in the summer of 2010, but Dante himself could not have conjured a ring of hell like the one British journalist Franklin describes in his fascinating account of the miners' ordeal.Sealed a half-mile underground after a 700,000-ton piece of earth collapsed at the notoriously unsafe San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile, the miners endured 17 days in darkness, 90 degree heat and 95% humidity, ingesting just a single spoonful of rationed tuna every two days, and metallic, oil-laden water from an underground tank before rescue workers miraculously made contact. With a narrow shoot in place, through which supplies could be delivered, the next 50 days became a test of human endurance unparalleled in modern history. Physically, the men endured only minor ailments: an infected tooth, fungal infections caused by the subterranean environment, but, overall, they stayed remarkably healthy in a situation where even a mild case of diarrhea could have proven fatal. Their psychological health, however, was more tenuous. After rallying around a leader, miner Mario Sepulveda, petty jealousies, stress, tension and boredom set in, all while the fragile mine constantly creaked and shattered around them, a Sword of Damocles that seemed poised to crush the men at any moment. In the first days of their ordeal, the men initially formed something of a democracy, a work schedule and a meritocracy that gave them purpose, and unity. But as supplies began to flow into the mine—including television, letters, and eventually, contraband, like marijuana—those bonds began to fray. Their hell was exacerbated by the efforts of a government psychologist, Alberto Iturra, who treated the miners like subjects in a Skinner Box, frequently drawing the men’s ire by censoring their mail, and insisting on daily evaluations. At one point, doctors contemplated sending the men inflatable sex dolls to relieve their tension. Reason prevailed, however, and the men had to settle for pornography. Above ground, tensions also ran high, and Franklin’s brisk narrative captures the turmoil that simmered in “Camp Hope,” the makeshift tent city where the miner’s families, rescue workers, and the press had camped, and the site of a full-blown media circus, as well as the intense pressure on the Peruvian government, led by President Pinera, just months after a devastating earthquake had ravaged the country. Stories of innovation, bravery, and good decisions are also abundant, however, in Franklin's admirably unsentimental account. Perhaps the best decision, was Pinera's call to authorize three separate rescue efforts, a decision that kicked off a good-natured race among rescue crews, and guarded against an eggs-in-one-basket failure. That strategy paid off against long odds: an American-led team with an ingenious pneumatic drill reached the miners almost a month faster than initially projected, on day 67. The miners ascended a day later, one-by-one, clad in Oakley sunglasses, a most improbable happy ending, and a rare, uplifting moment, Franklin observes, in a decade marred by global terror, famine, genocide, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods. “By August, 2010, the world seemed starved of hope,” Franklin writes, “but the bravery of 33 men and a band of generous and tenacious rescue workers brought the world together.” -By Andrew Richard Albanese The 24/7 coverage may make you think you already know the miners' story—but, you don’t, and this fast-moving, yet in-depth account is a testament to the enduring value of good, old-fashioned journalism—and, of course, a great story. It could easily have been different, of course. The situation could have ended quickly, in tragedy, or, worse, with an underground version of Lord of the Flies. Instead, the story of “Los 33” stands as a historic triumph of the human spirit. By Andrew Richard Albanese
James M. Tabor
A disaster book's success depends on multiple factors. Speedy publication and new information are two musts. 33 Men is both first out of the gate on this event and rich with revelations. Serendipity is important, too—being in the right place at the right time—but even that is not enough. Twenty-nine people survived the 1996 disaster on Mount Everest, but it took a Jon Krakauer to write Into Thin Air. A couple of thousand journalists were in the right place at the right time in Chile in the summer of 2010. 33 Men is proof that Franklin was the right man among them to write the book.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399157776
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/14/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.12 (w) x 6.26 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Franklin has lived in Chile for fifteen years, twelve of those as The Guardian (UK) correspondent for South America. His investigative reporting has been used by ABC News Nightline, CBS's 60 Minutes, A&E, the BBC, and numerous documentary productions worldwide. He currently resides with his wife and their six daughters in Santiago.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Eyes of the World 1

1 Buried Alive 7

2 A Desperate Search 27

3 Stuck in Hell 451

4 Speed vs. Precision 69

5 17 Days of Silence 93

6 A Bonanza at the Bottom of the Mine 113

7 Crawling Back to Life 131

8 The Marathon 155

9 TV Reality 175

10 Finish Line in Sight 197

11 The Final Days 217

12 The Final Preparations 233

13 The Rescue 257

14 First Days of Freedom 275

Epilogue: The Triumph of Hope 295

Author's Note 301

Acknowledgments 305

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 30 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Interesting read!

    This book is a fast read, informative, and thought provoking! I appreciate being able to be part of the rescue as well as having insight into the trapped miners. You will want to view the rescue again as it brings memories of those days when the world stopped and watched this amazing rescue!

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  • Posted March 16, 2012

    Recommend

    Even though the world watched this event through intensive media coverage, the book is worth reading. It give interesting psychological insights and details about each miner.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    Great read

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted July 11, 2011

    Worthwhile, dignified

    I think you will want to view YouTube clips of this event while reading the book. I think you will find the author's style both factual and reserved. This does not mean boring, rather it is not exploitative. Mr. Franklin evenhandedly deals with the personalities of the miners, their circumstance and the international response to their entrapment. There is nothing gratuitous in the telling of the story.I wanted philosophical insight. It is there. Some is stated and some must be developed by reflection after the reading. I suppose in a rush to print, the psychological and medical findings would be more than one should expect.I get a sense that this knowledge was considered proprietary by those involved with it anyhow. I recommend this book. It reads fast and does teach.

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