Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors

by Piers Paul Read

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Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read

The #1 New York Times bestseller and the true story behind the film: A rugby team resorts to the unthinkable after a plane crash in the Andes.

Spirits were high when the Fairchild F-227 took off from Mendoza, Argentina, and headed for Santiago, Chile. On board were forty-five people, including an amateur rugby team from Uruguay and their friends and family. The skies were clear that Friday, October 13, 1972, and at 3:30 p.m., the Fairchild’s pilot reported their altitude at 15,000 feet. But one minute later, the Santiago control tower lost all contact with the aircraft. For eight days, Chileans, Uruguayans, and Argentinians searched for it, but snowfall in the Andes had been heavy, and the odds of locating any wreckage were slim.
Ten weeks later, a Chilean peasant in a remote valley noticed two haggard men desperately gesticulating to him from across a river. He threw them a pen and paper, and the note they tossed back read: “I come from a plane that fell in the mountains . . .”
Sixteen of the original forty-five passengers on the F-227 survived its horrific crash. In the remote glacial wilderness, they camped in the plane’s fuselage, where they faced freezing temperatures, life-threatening injuries, an avalanche, and imminent starvation. As their meager food supplies ran out, and after they heard on a patched-together radio that the search parties had been called off, it seemed like all hope was lost. To save their own lives, these men and women not only had to keep their faith, they had to make an impossible decision: Should they eat the flesh of their dead friends?
A remarkable story of endurance and determination, friendship and the human spirit, Alive is the dramatic bestselling account of one of the most harrowing quests for survival in modern times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504039123
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 318
Sales rank: 88,325
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Piers Paul Read, third son of poet and art critic Sir Herbert Read, was born in 1941, raised in North Yorkshire, and educated by Benedictine monks at Ampleforth College. After studying history at Cambridge University, he spent two years in Germany, and on his return to London, worked as a subeditor on the Times Literary Supplement. His first novel, Game in Heaven with Tussy Marx, was published in 1966. His fiction has won the Hawthornden Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Two of his novels, A Married Man and The Free Frenchman, have been adapted for television and a third, Monk Dawson, as a feature film. In 1974, Read wrote his first work of reportage, Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, which has since sold five million copies worldwide. A film of Alive was released in 1993, directed by Frank Marshall and starring Ethan Hawke. His other works of nonfiction include Ablaze, an account of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl; The Templars, a history of the crusading military order; Alec Guinness: The Authorised Biography, and The Dreyfus Affair. Read is a fellow and member of the Council of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the Council of the Society of Authors. He lives in London.

Read an Excerpt


The Story of the Andes Survivors

By Piers Paul Read


Copyright © 1974 Piers Paul Read
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-3912-3



Uruguay, one of the smallest countries on the South American continent, was founded on the eastern bank of the River Plate as a buffer state between the emerging giants of Brazil and Argentina. Geographically it was a pleasant land, with cattle running wild over immense pasturelands, and its population lived modestly either as merchants, doctors and lawyers in the city of Montevideo or as proud and restless gauchos on the range.

The history of the Uruguayans in the nineteenth century is filled first with fierce battles for their independence against Argentina and Brazil and then with equally savage civil skirmishes between the Blanco and Colorado parties, the Conservatives from the interior and the Liberals from Montevideo. In 1904 the last Blanco uprising was defeated by the Colorado president, José Batlle y Ordóñez, who then established a secular and democratic state which for many decades was regarded as the most advanced and enlightened in South America.

The economy of this welfare state depended upon the pastoral and agricultural products which Uruguay exported to Europe, and while world prices for wool, beef and hide remained high, Uruguay remained prosperous; but in the course of the 1950s the value of these commodities went down and Uruguay went into a decline. There was unemployment and inflation, which in turn gave rise to social discontent. The civil service was overstaffed and underpaid; lawyers, architects, and engineers – once the aristocracy of the nation – found themselves with little work and were paid too little for what there was. Many were compelled to choose secondary professions. Only those who owned land in the interior could be sure of their prosperity. The rest worked for what they could get in an atmosphere of economic stagnation and administrative corruption.

As a result, there arose the first and most notable movement of urban guerrilla revolutionaries, the Tupamaros, whose ambition was to bring down the oligarchy which governed Uruguay through the Blanco and Colorado parties. For a while things went their way. They kidnapped and ransomed officials and diplomats and infiltrated the police force, which was set against them. The government called upon the army, which ruthlessly uprooted these urban guerrillas from their middleclass homes. The movement was suppressed; the Tupamaros were locked away.

In the early 1950s a group of Catholic parents, alarmed at the atheistic tendencies of the teachers in the state schools – and dissatisfied with the teaching of English by the Jesuits – invited the Irish Province of the Christian Brothers to start a school in Montevideo. This invitation was accepted, and five Irish lay brothers came out from Ireland by way of Buenos Aires to found the Stella Maris College – a school for boys between the ages of nine and sixteen – in the suburb of Carrasco. In May 1955 classes were started in a house on the rambla which looked out under vast skies over the South Atlantic.

Though they spoke only halting Spanish, these Irish Brothers were well suited to the task they now sought to perform. Uruguay might be far from Ireland, but it too was a small country with an agricultural economy. The Uruguayans ate beef as the Irish ate potatoes, and life here, like life in Ireland, was led at a gentle pace. Nor was the structure of that part of Uruguayan society to which they catered unfamiliar to the Brothers. The families who lived in the pleasant modern houses built amid the pine trees of Carrasco – the most desirable suburb of Montevideo – were mostly large, and there were strong bonds between parents and children which persisted through adolescence into maturity. The affection and respect which the boys felt for their parents was readily transferred to their teachers. This proved enough to maintain good behaviour and, at the request of the parents of their pupils, the Christian Brothers gave up their long-standing use of the disciplinary cane.

It was also customary in Uruguay for young men and women to live with their parents even after they had left school, and it was not until they got married that they left home. The Christian Brothers often asked themselves how it was that, in a world where acrimony between generations sometimes seemed to be the spirit of the age, the citizens of Uruguay – or at least the residents of Carrasco – should be spared this conflict. It was as if the torrid vastness of Brazil to the north and the muddy waters of the River Plate to the south and west acted not only as natural barriers but as a protective shell in a cocoon of time.

Not even the Tupamaros troubled the Stella Maris College. The pupils, who came from Catholic families with conservative inclinations, had been sent by their parents to the Christian Brothers because of this order's traditional methods and old-fashioned objectives. Political idealism was more likely to flourish under the Jesuits, who trained the intellect, than under the Christian Brothers, whose aim was to build the character of their boys – and the generous use of corporal punishment, which they had abandoned at the request of the parents, was not the only means to this end at their disposal. The other was rugby football.

When the Christian Brothers first came to Uruguay, rugby was hardly played there at all; indeed, they found themselves in a country where soccer was not just the national sport but a communal passion. Along with per capita consumption of beef, it was the only sphere in which Uruguay triumphed over the great nations of the world (they won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950), and to ask young Uruguayans to play a different game was like feeding them on bread and potatoes instead of their usual diet of beef.

Having sacrificed one pillar of their educational system in giving up the cane, the Christian Brothers were not going to give up the other. They held to their contention that soccer was a sport for the prima donna, whereas rugby football would teach the boys to suffer in silence and work as a team. The parents expostulated but they acquiesced, and in time they even came to share the opinion of the Christian Brothers as to the merits of the game.

As for their sons, they played it with growing enthusiasm, and when the first generation had passed through the school, many of the graduates were unwilling to give up either rugby or the Stella Maris College. The idea of an old boys' group of alumni was conceived, and in 1965, ten years after the foundation of the school, this association came into being. It was called the Old Christians' Club, and its chief activity was playing rugby on a Sunday afternoon.

As the years passed, these games became popular – even fashionable – and each summer brought new members to the Old Christians' Club and a wider choice of players for a better team. Rugby itself caught on in Uruguay, and the Old Christians' first fifteen, with the shamrock on their shirts, became one of the best teams in the country. In 1968 they won the Uruguayan national championship, and again in 1970. Ambition grew with success. The team made a trip across the estuary of the River Plate to play teams in Argentina, and in 1971 they made up their minds to go farther afield and play in Chile. To make this possible and not too expensive, the club chartered a plane from the Uruguayan Air Force to fly them from Montevideo to Santiago, and tickets for seats not required by the team were sold to their friends and supporters. The trip was a great success. The team played the Chilean national team and the first fifteen of the Old Boys Grange, winning one match and losing the other. At the same time, they had a short holiday in a foreign land. For many it was their first journey abroad and their first sight of the snow-covered peaks and glacial valleys of the Andes. Indeed, the trip was such a success that no sooner had they returned to Montevideo than they planned to go again the following year.


By the end of the next season, considerable doubt surrounded their plans. The first fifteen of the Old Christians had, through overconfidence, lost the Uruguayan championship to a team they considered inferior; as a result, some of the club's officers thought that they did not deserve another trip to Chile. Another problem they faced was filling the forty-odd seats of the Fairchild F-227 which they had chartered from the Air Force. The cost of hiring the plane was US $1,600. If forty seats were filled, it would only cost each passenger around $40 to fly to Santiago and back – less than a third of the commercial fare. The more seats that remained empty, the more it would cost each passenger, and they still had to meet the expenses of five days in Chile.

Word went around that the trip might have to be cancelled, whereupon those who wanted to go began to look for recruits among their friends, relations and fellow students. There were various arguments for going to Chile. For the serious-minded students of economics there was the experiment in democratic Marxism under President Allende; for the less earnest there was the promise of high living at a low price. The Chilean escudo was weak; the dollar fetched a high price on the black market, and, as a sports delegation, the Old Christians would not be obliged to exchange their money at the official rate. The rugby players tempted their friends with visions of the pretty and uninhibited Chilean girls on the beaches of Viña del Mar or at the ski resort of Portillo. The net was cast wide, drawing in the mother and sister of one boy, the older cousins of another. By the day when the money had to be delivered to the Air Force, they had sold enough tickets to cover the cost.

At around six on the morning of Thursday, October 12, 1972, the passengers began to arrive in small groups at Carrasco airport for the second Old Christians' trip to Chile. They were driven in cars or pickup trucks by parents and girl friends, and their vehicles were parked beneath the palm trees outside the airport building, which, surrounded by large tracts of well-cut grass, looked more like the clubhouse of a golf course than an international airport. In spite of the early hour and the bleary looks on their faces, the boys were dressed smartly in slacks and sports coats, and they greeted one another with great spirit and excitement. The parents, too, all seemed to know one another. With fifty or sixty people talking and laughing together, it was almost as if someone had chosen the foyer of the airport to throw a party.

Calm amid all this confusion stood the two somewhat stocky figures of Marcelo Pérez, the captain of the first fifteen, and Daniel Juan, the president of the Old Christians, who had come to see them off. Pérez looked decidedly happy. It was he who had been most enthusiastic about this trip to Chile and he who had suffered most at the prospect of its cancellation. Even now that it was taking place, the brow beneath his balding head would wrinkle as some problem was brought to his attention. One such problem was the absence of Gilberto Regules. The boy had not met his friends at the appointed time; he had not come to the airport; and now, when they telephoned his home, there was no reply.

Marcelo knew they could not wait for long. Their departure had to be early in the morning because it was dangerous to fly through the Andes in the afternoon when the warm air of the Argentine plains rose to clash with the cold air of the mountains; already, the Fairchild had taxied across the tarmac from the military base which adjoined the civilian airport.

The boys milling around seemed a motley collection, ranging in age from eighteen to twenty-six, but they had more in common than met the eye. Most of them were Old Christians; and most of those who were not had been to the Jesuit College of the Sacred Heart in the centre of Montevideo. Besides the team and its supporters, there were their friends, cousins of friends, and fellow students from the faculties of law, agriculture, economics and architecture in which many of the Old Christians were now studying. Three of the boys were medical students, two of whom played on the team. Some of them had neighbouring ranches in the interior; many more were neighbours in Carrasco, for what they all had in common was their class and their religion. They were, almost without exception, from the more prosperous section of the community, and all were Roman Catholic.

Not all the passengers who checked in at the desk of the Uruguayan Military Transport were Old Christians or even young men. There was a plump middleaged woman, Señora Mariani, who had bought a ticket from the Air Force to go to her daughter's marriage to a political exile in Chile. There were two middle-aged couples and a tall pleasant-looking girl of around twenty named Susana Parrado, who stood in the queue with her mother, her brother Nando, and her father, who had come to see them off.

When their baggage had been checked in, the Parrados went up to the airport restaurant which overlooked the runway and ordered breakfast. At another table, a little distance from the Parrados, sat two students of economics who wore scruffier clothes than the rest, as if to show that they were socialists – a contrast to Susana Parrado, who wore a beautiful fur-lined coat made from antelope skin which she had bought only the day before.

Eugenia Parrado, her mother, had been born in the Ukraine, and both Susana and her brother were exceptionally tall, with fine, brownish-blond hair, blue eyes, and soft, round Russian faces. Neither could have been called glamorous. Nando was gangling, nearsighted, and somewhat shy; Susana, while youthful and sweet in appearance and with a fine figure, had an earnest, unflirtatious expression on her face.

While she drank her coffee, the flight was called. The Parrados, the two socialists, and everyone else in the restaurant went down to the departure lounge and then passed through customs and passport control and out onto the tarmac. There they saw the shining white plane which was to take them to Chile. They climbed up an aluminium ladder to the door at the front of the fuselage, filed into the confined cabin, and filled up the seats, which were placed in pairs on either side of the aisle.

At 8.05 a.m. the Fairchild, No. 571 of the Uruguayan Air Force, took off from Carrasco airport for Santiago de Chile, loaded with forty passengers, five crewmen, and their luggage. The pilot and commander of the plane was Colonel Julio César Ferradas. He had served in the Air Force for more than twenty years, had 5,117 hours of flying experience, and had flown over the treacherous cordillera de los Andes twenty-nine times. His copilot, Lieutenant Dante Hector Lagurara, was older than Ferradas but not as experienced. He had once had to parachute out of a T-33 jet and was now flying the Fairchild under the eyes of Ferradas to gain extra experience, as was the custom in the Uruguayan Air Force.

The plane he was flying – the Fairchild F-227 – was a twin-engined turboprop manufactured in the United States and bought by the Uruguayan Air Force only two years earlier. Ferradas himself had flown it down from Maryland. Since then it had only logged 792 hours: by aeronautical standards it was as good as new. If there was any doubt in the pilots' minds, it did not concern the qualities of the plane but rather the notoriously treacherous currents of air in the Andes. Only twelve or thirteen weeks before, a four-engined cargo plane with a crew of six, half of whom were Uruguayans, had disappeared in the mountains.

The flight plan filed by Lagurara was to take the Fairchild direct from Montevideo to Santiago by way of Buenos Aires and Mendoza, a distance of around nine hundred miles. The Fairchild cruised at about 240 knots; it would therefore take them approximately four hours, the last half hour of which would be over the Andes. By leaving at eight, however, the pilots expected to reach the mountains before noon and avoid the dangerous postmeridianal turbulence. All the same, they worried about the crossing, because the Andes, though less than a hundred miles wide, rise to an average height of 13,000 feet, with peaks as high as 20,000 feet; one mountain, Aconcagua, which lies between Mendoza and Santiago, rises to 22,834 feet, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere and only about 6,000 feet short of Mount Everest.


Excerpted from Alive by Piers Paul Read. Copyright © 1974 Piers Paul Read. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Alive 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entertaining Classic Alive is the true story of the Uruguayan plane, carrying a team of rugby players and their friends and families that crashed in the middle of the Andes Mountains. The survivors of the initial crash must face the harsh conditions of the mountains, their injuries, and their eventual lack of food. This book explores the deep desire to survive, and the extremes to which people will go to reach it. Hearing about how the survivors grew in their faith of God throughout their ordeal also proved an important and thought provoking theme. Being Catholic myself, like the author, and most of those on the plane, I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. One of the more pleasing traits of this book was its honesty. Alive was actually written shortly after the survivors were rescued due to all of the rumors that were started after the survivor’s rescue. As a result, Alive was written for the sole purpose of truthfully ending the rumors, and giving the survivors some peace. I respect the honesty of the book because even when the survivors must eat the flesh of their dead companions, the story is not embellished to become gruesome, or played down to make it sound like nothing. The only drawback to this book was that it is a long read. Someone interested in reading it should be prepared to be in it for the long haul, but also know that it is well worth it. Alive is reminiscent Gary Paulson’s Hatchet, but more in depth, intense, and really just all around better. The bottom line is that even though Alive was written in the ‘70s, the story and motifs are timeless. I have heard countless references to this book in many classes and thoughtful discussions, leading me to believe that Alive deserves the title of classic. Alive is simply an entertaining and quite unforgettable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alive is the story a Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes Mountains and what occurred during the seventy two days they awaited their rescue. This is not a story for the easily faint or queasy, as some pretty disturbing and gruesome actions take place in order for the men to survive for almost two and a half months. The compelling themes of this story include the tests of friendship, the power of faith, the will to survive, the precious gift of life, and love. I loved this book because the author not only told the story, but let the reader bond with the characters and discover their different personalities. You feel their pain, sorrow, joy, sadness, anger, disappointment, and hope just as much as they do. The beginning of the book is a lot of background information and was a bit boring, but after you get through that it is a very enjoyable and exciting read. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a good adventure and can withstand a little bit of blood and gore. This story is truly remarkable teaches the reader how fragile life is and to live every day to the absolute fullest. I promise one will not regret reading this incredible true story.
jwl on LibraryThing 13 hours ago
True account of a plane crash in the Andes where several people survived by living in the snow in the remains of the airplane and eating what was left of their fellow passangers. Pretty morbid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most incredible and inspiring stories of survival I've ever read, and I really appreciated how thorough and un-biased it was - the author really let the people and events dictate themselves. I couldn't put it down and have not stopped thinking about it since I finished!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
-He walks up to the building with buds in his ears, blasting some hip hop. He stops before the double doors and looks at the entryway and the siding of the school. He pushes through the doors and walks through the hallway trying to find the root access stairway-
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"That was fast. Your move?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When the Fairchild F-227 crashed into the Andes Mountains, the survivors struggled to not only find security in the confines of their plane, but also in their mental state. Knowing that the chances of their rescue were slim to none, the remaining passengers relied on their ingenuity to create food, water, blankets, and a wall to keep out the cold. With the need to survive overcoming the moral and ethical battles of consuming human flesh, everyone still alive did what they had to for the chance of rescue. Believing that their sons and daughters could still be alive, the families of the passengers pooled together their money and searched for remnants of the crash, and possible survivors. This book not only paints a mental picture of what it's like to be stranded in the Andes mountains, but there are also photographs of the many passengers aboard the plane, maps of search parties, and the situations they were forced to live in. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is seeking a life-or-death thriller, or simply just an overall great read.
Rebecca_Berto More than 1 year ago
A story told without sympathetic or judgemental tones ... I couldn't help but feel like I was with these poor sufferers on the mountain. It unravelled as though right before my eyes. And there was so much heart told in such a matter-of-fact way. So much courage. And honesty. It was a lot brutal there for much of their time being lost. But I feel like a better person for having read this story. It is just *something else*, put simply.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing Story Alive is the story about the miraculous survival of 16 passengers aboard the Fairchild FH-227D plane when it crashed in the Andes Mountains on October 13th, 1972. The plane was a chartered flight designated to Chile from Uruguay carrying 45 people including the crew, a rugby team, and their friends, family. More than a quarter of the passengers died in the crash, many others of fatalities and injuries after. With little food and no heat source in the harsh conditions of the mountains, the survivors were forced to feed off of their dead friends in order to survive. It wasn't until two of the survivors took a 10 day hike through the mountains that rescuers realized of the survival of some passengers after they alerted a Chilean arriero. On December 23rd, 1972, the 16 survivors were rescued. I thought that this was a very interesting read that made me realize how precious life is. The author gave a very honest and detailed description of all the events that took place. He got the message across with his vivid descriptions and triggered emotion. It gave me perspective on the story and it was easy to follow just what they experienced. Reading about this tragic event really opened my eyes to be thankful for the things I don't really think about. I liked how the story also showed how brave and clever the survivors had to be in order to withstand any of the conditions they were in. I really enjoyed the pictures that were included in the book because it was helpful to put faces to the names and for me, it made it easier to connect with each of them. The way this story was written kept me on the edge of my seat because who or how anybody survived was never told until the end of the story. Even though the author probably established a connection with the survivors while he was interviewing them, he approaches the events in an unbiased manner. He always let the readers decide for themselves what they thought, which I really liked because he never let himself take part in the story. Although I have very few complaints about this book, I did not enjoy how the author skipped back and forth from the survivors' point of views and the survivors' family's point of view. It was very confusing and was difficult for me to follow, especially since there were the names of the plane crash victims to remember. When the author included the family member's names and their story, it made it challenging to keep track of everybody. I think that this book is suitable for ages fifteen and up (highschoolers) because cannibalism is a delicate subject and the way it is described could be traumatizing to younger ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! Reading about this tragic event opened my eyes to be thankful for what I have. Having to eat their loved ones, fight injuries and sicknesses, and endure frigid weather are just a few of the hardships they had to battle. You watch how they grow in their faith with God and learn to trust one another. As you read the book, you grow to know each and every character. You learn about their families and their beliefs and you truly feel like you know them. I really like how the author wrote the book. He got the message across with a lot of detail and it caused a lot of emotion for me, which I like when I read. I like to feel like I'm there. If you want to read a great story about a plane that crashed in the Andes and how they survived, you should read this book. It will change your view forever.
super-pelo-rojo More than 1 year ago
An interesting and though provoking true story. Alive by Piers Paul Read is an educational book detailing the struggles and sacrifices of a group of people who are stranded in the Andes Mountains. Based on a true story, the book focuses on a group of Uruguayan Rugby players who are flying home October 12, 1972 when the plane they are on crashes and leaves them stranded in the Andes. Out of the forty-five people who were on the plane thirteen died in the initial crash, later an avalanche killed eight more, when they were finally rescued after seventy days only sixteen survived. Faced with the threat of starvation the survivors had to eat the bodies of their friends. A major theme in this book is mans will to survive. No matter what challenges were thrown their way, crash, avalanche, starvation they survived. One thing I liked about this book, and another theme, is man’s ingenuity, faced with starvation, lack of food, water, warmth, and shelter the survivors of the crash had to use their limited resources to stay alive, they did this by dividing the work and making small devices that would help them survive. Some things I liked about this book was just the story, all their misfortunes, and how they were able to rise up so to say and deal with all the challenges set before them. Another reason I enjoyed the book was because it made me think. As I was reading it I couldn’t stop imagining myself inside the plane, part of the group. I kept thinking what would I have done in that situation, what would I have done different. I believe someone should read this to be informed of the struggles that happened to those people and see the sacrifices they had to go through in order to survive, as well as realize that however unlikely it is something like this can happen to you.
rocky34 More than 1 year ago
Alive tells the fascinating story of a plane crash. It starts off telling of a rugby team called the Old Christians, that needed to fly across the Andes mountains to play teams in Argentina. During their flight with a total of forty five passengers the plane unexpectedly crashes and they are stranded amidst the below freezing, snow covered, remote peaks of the Andes mountains. Despite the efforts of families and search teams, the victims of the crash are forced to either die on the mountain or find a way home. Piers Paul tells about the families and the outstanding struggle of the victims (a rugby team and other passengers). He gives every important detail of the families' efforts to save their loved ones in the crash: they call search teams, they preform their own searches and they keep the victims in their prayers. Paul also tells of how clever and brave the victims are: they have to figure out their own shelter, food and escape routes and try not to fight with each other, in the meantime. Some of the victims write letters, some take pictures, pray or sing and some just sleep and eat. I would say that this is a story of how far some people will go for love. It shows that these families would do whatever it takes to be together again. The main themes of the story seem to be family, bravery, courage, sacrifice and strength. I liked how it was written, for the most part, because I felt that throughout the story i knew what was going on with the victims and with the families at home. Also, I liked how it kept me on the edge of my seat. I was reading this book for hours at a time because I just couldn't stop and I don't even like reading that much. The only thing i didn't like was that at times, it was a little hard to keep track of all the characters. I could keep track of all the victims, but when he started talking about all of the different moms and friends and sisters it was difficult to remember who was who. Other than that, i thought Piers Paul wrote in every necessary detail of the crash and its victims. You should read this book because it is extremely inspiring and well written. The fact that it is a true story is unbelievable. It is incredible what the survivors had to go through. There aren't a lot of stories like this one because it isn't every day that a you find plane crash in the unforgiving, Andes with survivors. This book is like nothing I have ever read or heard of. It will make you cry, laugh, and it will keep you turning the pages until it's over. I really hope you read this book and I definitely give it a 10/10. It is one of my favorite books. Five stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book by chance years ago, and my interest in the survivors and their story took off. At that time I would have rated it as many stars as I could, but now knock a star off only because I read Miracle in the Andes and think it tells the story much better. Then again, it is written by a survivor who has his own personal take on the story and, since he waited many many years to write it, has had time to put the whole situation into perspective. The author of Alive wrote the story based on interviews and pieced them together soon after the rescue. So there is still a feel of the excitement of youthful survival, whereas Miracle in the Andes is a more mature and thoughtful memoir. I would recommend both books, but if you had to choose between the two, I would go wit Miracle in the Andes, hands down. Beautiful and inspiring story, it will lead you to want more. I researched and found many pictures and video clips after reading both books, but still want more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alive was one of the greatest books I have ever read. I loved almost every inch of it especially all of the in depth detail used to describe their circumstances throughout the book. The only problem arose in the middle of the story because it dragged on a bit with continuous details about eating the dead and having constipation. I loved the rest of the book especially the irony in the beginning when one of he players got on the intercom to tell everyone to grab a parachute because they were going to crash into the mountains. What I took from this story was mostly that, as humans, we can do anything we need to do, but not If we want to do it seeing as no one wanted to eat human flesh they just had to. I would definitely recommend the book to anyone who loves a good survival story because it truly is one of the best survival stories I have ever read and the best part about it was that Alive is a true story. All in all it was great book with a great beginnings long middle and excellently detailed escape for help by two young men. I would also recommend Into Thin Air, Miracle in the Andes, and Left for dead because they are also suvival books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alive is the story of the Old Christians rugby team from Uruguay that crashed deep in the Andes Mountains and their fight for survival that included doing what many people would consider the unthinkable. The incredible bravery and endurance displayed out of disparity by the boys are evident through the entire story. Many a good moral lesson can be learned out of this book such as how many of us are quite blessed and not grateful for the everyday luxuries that many of us take for granted in our society. The book is quite factual in tone and can be easily mistaken for a boring story. This only occurs because, as Read points out in his introduction, the survivors felt as though the details of their story should not be in any way exaggerated or brought out to be more than they really were. They also felt that the story itself is powerful enough that nothing extra was needed to make it sound better (which Read does an incredible job of). I personally loved every aspect in this book with the exception of the explicit details that the author went into regarding the parent's search for the kids which I feel were not entirely needed and may be extremely uninteresting to other readers. If you do buy this book, then you should definately find one of the versions containing pcitures of the boys and other people that flew aboard the fairchild as well as some of their other experiences. The add tremendously to the experience of reading this book. One should definately read this to better grasp the highly unknown aspect of human nature that is our survival gear as well as to read just an overall fantastic story. If you loved this book as much as I did, the two books below are similar stories that bring about relatively similar themes. Enjoy!!!
Late_In_Life_Wife More than 1 year ago
A synopsis isn't truly necessary here. If you are reading this review, you already have a vague sense of the content . What you don't know, is how it's going to make you feel and you will feel it, believe me. You will feel yourself in the center of that glacier. Piers spared no detail. Those details are, at times, very hard to take. Nando Parrado once said "You will see and do things over there that you would NEVER imagine yourself seeing and doing" I "thought" I knew what he meant. Only after reading "Alive" did the depths of those words truly take hold of me. It cannot be an easy thing to put anguish into words, but Piers managed to do so. Not only the anguish of the boys, but of their families as well. The highs are as heart wrenching as the lows. You can imagine being there with Carlos Paez Vilaro when his Son's name is read off the survivor list. This is only a small portion of the emotions this book evokes. The spirit, the will of these boys being raised and dashed repeatedly. The turmoil, the lost hope and even mistrust that sometimes arose between them. The faith they had in their expeditionary party. It's all here, no stone is left unturned. This book gives you something that will stay with you always. Even when all hope is lost, life is still worth living. I am so glad I picked this book up. You will be glad you did too. I must offer the warning of graphic content. I thought I knew what to expect in that department, but I was wrong. It can get to you. You don't physically "see" it, but through Piers's words, your imagination will paint a fairly vivid picture. Until you have walked in these boy's shoes, (picture the shoes your now wearing in waist deep snow for 72 days.) you honestly have no right to judge the boys. The dreaded "C" word does NOT apply here. They took no lives, they only did what they had to do to stay alive. "Was it worth it?" You may ask yourself. These 16 survivors have now grown to over 100 strong. There is no better testament to life than that. Read the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Alive, by Piers Paul Read, was an admirable story of a plane of rugby players who crashed in the Andes and were forced to survive ten unforgiving weeks in a desolate snow-covered region. Although the story itself is noble and intense, the book wasn't my favorite. I loved the story, and respected the people who were a part of it; however the read altogether was lackluster and tedious. The chapters seemed to drone on and on, and it seemed to me as though the author simply copied and pasted each chapter into the next. After a while, I got tired of reading about the living eating the deceased. There were many fascinating parts of the story in which I was eager to find out what would happen next, but the boring parts seemed to overrule these. I feel like the book could have been a lot shorter and still gotten the point across, in fact I probably would have been more willing to read it had it not been solely about people eating each other. And so, I would not recommend the book, but rather the story itself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After leaving Uruguay for a rugby tournament in Chile, a team of men along with forty or so other people (including friends and family) find themselves stranded in the middle of the Andes. Their flight crashed due to powerful winds, cloudy weather conditions, and misjudgment by the pilot. Although most died instantly in the wreck, the survivors turned to every means of survival fighting frostbite, starvation, dehydration, injuries obtained in the crash, and even insanity. Alive is a story of love. When it came down to it, the love for family and friends was the only motivation for survival after all hope was lost. Leadership and teamwork are other very prominent themes of the book that saved lives. Without the leadership of certain individuals and the teamwork of every survivor, no one would have lived through the seventy days of isolation. I really like the story this book enlightens because it is so unique and inspiring. It was such a life-altering event and was very well told. The book had good detail and imagery with gory and stomach-churning events. Some parts of Alive get slow and excessively in depth for their importance and are hard to follow, but it's an overall easy read that draws the reader in. I would strongly recommend Alive for thrill seeking readers who like stories of adventure and survival. It inspires one to live life to the fullest and appreciate every aspect of life. Even when times seem hard, hope and determination should never be lost.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In excitement to be going to their big game, 40+ Rugby Players and their families boarded their plane; the Fairchild. After hours upon hours of waiting the team finally took off, headed towards Chile, yet to pass through the Andes Mountains. Half way through the treacherous journey, the plane hit an air pocket and fell several hundred feet to the summit of the mountain, and killed many of the travelers. Throughout the next eight weeks stranded on the mountain, the team went through hell to try everything to be rescued. Cannibalism, avalanches, and starvation all contributed to the hulk of their journey home. This book was an exciting adventure, to read and to experience. I thought that all of the adventure, and sudden changes kept the book interesting. I would definitely recommend this book to others! I LOVED everything in this book, except the fact that the first 20 or so pages were really hard to get into. The reason people should read this is because it was just a feel-good book, with a couple twists of horror. ALIVE, portrayed many situations where only friendship could save someone, and I really appreciated that aspect in this book. There were many themes present in this book; death, life, survival, friendship, and dealing with harsh changes in climate or just within families. This book was very complex, but not too hard that it was difficult at a high school level. Some words were worthy of looking up in a dictionary though!! Out of five stars, I would definitely give this book a four and a half! Definitely put this book on your future reading lists!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago