Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival by Laurence Gonzales, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival

Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival

4.6 9
by Laurence Gonzales
     
 

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“A richly detailed story that is equal parts heartbreaking, inspiring . . . and full of fascinating science . . . masterful.”—San Francisco Chronicle
As hundreds of rescue workers waited on the ground, United Airlines Flight 232 wallowed drunkenly over the bluffs northwest of Sioux City. The plane slammed onto the runway and burst into a vast

Overview

“A richly detailed story that is equal parts heartbreaking, inspiring . . . and full of fascinating science . . . masterful.”—San Francisco Chronicle
As hundreds of rescue workers waited on the ground, United Airlines Flight 232 wallowed drunkenly over the bluffs northwest of Sioux City. The plane slammed onto the runway and burst into a vast fireball. The rescuers didn't move at first: nobody could possibly survive that crash. And then people began emerging from the summer corn that lined the runways. Miraculously, 184 of 296 passengers lived.
No one has ever attempted the complete reconstruction of a crash of this magnitude. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of survivors, crew, and airport and rescue personnel, Laurence Gonzales, a commercial pilot himself, captures, minute by minute, the harrowing journey of pilots flying a plane with no controls and flight attendants keeping their calm in the face of certain death. He plumbs the hearts and minds of passengers as they pray, bargain with God, plot their strategies for survival, and sacrifice themselves to save others.Ultimately he takes us, step by step, through the gripping scientific detective work in super-secret labs to dive into the heart of a flaw smaller than a grain of rice that shows what brought the aircraft down.An unforgettable drama of the triumph of heroism over tragedy and human ingenuity over technological breakdown, Flight 232 is a masterpiece in the tradition of the greatest aviation stories ever told.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/14/2014
Journalist Gonzalez (Deep Survival) finds grace amid tragedy in his searing study of the fiery 1989 crash of United Airlines Flight 232: 184 of the 296 passengers survived, and the drama unfolded over 44 nerve-wracking minutes while the pilots wrestled the plane towards an airport after an explosion destroyed the hydraulic controls, a catastrophe that should have rendered the huge DC-10 jet unflyable. Working from extensive interviews with survivors and rescue workers, Gonzalez presents a engrossing, cinematic account of the crash and the ordeal that preceded it as crew and passengers prepared themselves for almost certain death. There’s heroism here, and dumbfounding twists of fate that allowed the lucky to step straight from flame and carnage into a sunlit Iowa cornfield with barely a scratch. Along the way, Gonzalez presents an absorbing account of the delicate machinery of flight—and the titanic forces it must withstand—and of the investigation that traced the disaster to a tiny flaw therein. Gonzalez’s gripping narrative shows us people at their most vulnerable, and admirable. Photos. (July)
Booklist
“A powerful, unforgettable look at a devastating accident.”
Jonathan Yardly - The Washington Post
“The definitive account of this catastrophe… Flight 232 stands alone: for its absolutely riveting depiction of the flight’s last minutes and the horrendous aftermath; for its vivid and sympathetic portraits of many of those aboard the plane, the crew most particularly; and for its meticulous inquiry into the mechanical failure.”
John Quinlan - Sioux City Journal
“Fascinating…a remarkably vivid, cinematic account, with one cliffhanger after the other.”
Phaedra Hise - San Francisco Chronicle
“Gonzales…tells a richly detailed story that is equal parts heartbreaking, inspiring, gruesome and full of fascinating science. Through his masterful reporting we come to know both the survivors and the doomed as the story unfolds.”
Michael Korda
“A kind of miracle. Gonzales combines meticulous research, intense and even agonizing drama, and a soaring intensity of emotion. Flight 232 leaves one feeling exalted, not depressed, at the end of a book about a grisly air crash that spares no details. The instances of heroism and self-sacrifice in the face of unimaginable horror are countless, and rendered with a spare dignity that rises above the macabre.”
Rachel Rose - Rumpus
“A book that bears witness to the dead, and to the extraordinary courage of ordinary people; …a thriller, with a mystery at its core.”
Carson Vaughn - Chicago Tribune
“Gonzales offers an astonishingly in-depth reconstruction of the events… destined to stand as the definitive book on its namesake… One could hardly finish Flight 232 without a new respect for both the genius of flight and the army of trained professionals who make it happen tens of thousands of times each day across the United States alone.”
Jets
“This might just be the best aviation book you’ll read this year.”
Jonathan Yardly - Washington Post
“The definitive account . . . Flight 232 stands alone: for its absolutely riveting depiction of the flight’s last minutes and the horrendous aftermath; for its vivid and sympathetic portraits of many of those aboard the plane, the crew most particularly; and for its meticulous inquiry into the mechanical failure.”
Jonathan Yardley - Washington Post
“The definitive account . . . Flight 232 stands alone: for its absolutely riveting depiction of the flight’s last minutes and the horrendous aftermath; for its vivid and sympathetic portraits of many of those aboard the plane, the crew most particularly; and for its meticulous inquiry into the mechanical failure.”
Carson Vaughan - Chicago Tribune
“Astonishingly in-depth… Gonzales covers extensive territory, much of it with…obsessive detail and aplomb.”
Richard Rhodes
“Intense, gripping, alive with knowledge and compassion, Flight 232 is a new masterpiece of calamity and courage.”
Jennifer Latson - Boston Globe
“Painstakingly researched… A white knuckle read, so vividly detailed that it’s like watching an accident in slow-motion and being unable to look away.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393240023
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/07/2014
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
292,116
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Laurence Gonzales is the author of Surviving Survival and the bestseller Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why. He has won two National Magazine Awards and is a fellow of the Santa Fe Institute. His essays are collected in the book House of Pain. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.

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Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Suzanne_L More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend. Taut yet descriptive, alternating between the compelling human elements of the story and the technical details that led to the cause of the crash. Outstanding writing on every level.
Yamsi1912 More than 1 year ago
I was in Iowa that day - heard about the crash on the radio. Lots about the disaster in this book that I was not aware of. Good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Warning, the details can be gruesome and quite descriptive. Overall great read. Covers all aspects of the tragedy.
Anonymous 12 months ago
I thought this book was very goof and interesting. Ss an Iowa myself, i found this book very interesting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was an awesome read. Very thorough, very well written from the point of view of the crew, passengers, and staff on the ground. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JGBN More than 1 year ago
The book interweaves human stories of the passengers and crew on the doomed flight -- they knew the plane was headed for a crash long before it came to earth -- with detailed discussions of how DC-10s were constructed and why this one failed. The author is obviously an expert on his subjects, and the book is both well researched and well worth reading.
MistyWilliams More than 1 year ago
This book is a well-written gripping account of the crash of Flight 232. Everything was going as well as could be expected until the wing dropped and hit the ground. This was disasterous but providentially many people survived. This book provides an interesting and rivetting story of many survivors' experiences, which are quite amazing. It also tells the story of what happened to cause the crash, which makes the book hard to put down. The only thing I didn't like was that there was a lot of detail about technical details of the failure of the engine, and interspersed even within the same chapters were stories from survivors, so I felt the back and forth was a bit distracting. There are photos and a few illustrations. A thick book, I'm glad I bought it. It is a good story, and I found the survivors' accounts very gripping and interesting - why did some die and some live? Even seated next to each other. Prayers to both the survivors and deceased.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago