Imagine a real-life Lost where personal survival replaces viewer suspense. On the morning of October 12, 1972, a plane crashed into an inaccessible region of the Argentine Andes. For 72 harrowing days, the survivors, most of them members of a top Uruguayan rugby team, fought to stay alive on a windy glacier without food, blankets, warm clothing, or means of communicating with the outside world. For more than two months, they struggled against hunger, forcing themselves to eat strips of leather and, eventually, human flesh stripped from their dead colleagues. The survivors' plight was rendered in Piers Paul Read's 1974 Alive and the 1993 film with the same title, but no previous account can match this intense first-person narrative.
Miracle in the Andes tells much the same story as is recounted in Alive, published more than 30 years ago. The difference is that this book contains a level of emotion only a firsthand account can provide. Parrado's narrative paints the terrible tale in vivid colors for the first time. It would be hard to find another book written with such engaging sensitivity and, at the same time, so charged with sheer humanity. Parrado's extraordinary quality is to remind those of us living within the firm safety net of society that we are all capable of pushing ourselves to the limit. But more important, it teaches us not to waste a single moment, or a single breath.
The Washington Post
In October 1972, a plane carrying an Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes. Not immediately rescued, the survivors turned to cannibalism to survive and after 72 days were saved. Rugby team member Parrado has written a beautiful story of friendship, tragedy and perseverance. High in the Andes, with a fractured skull, eating the flesh of his teammates and friends, Parrado calmly ponders the cruelties of fate, the power of the natural world and the possibility of continued existence. "I would live from moment to moment and from breath to breath, until I had used up all the life I had." Parrado, who for the past 10 years has been giving inspirational talks based on his experiences, lost his mother and sister in the crash. Struggling to stay alive, his guide becomes his beloved father: "each [stride] brought me closer to my father... each step I took was a step stolen back from death." More than a companion to the 1970s bestselling chronicle of the disaster, Alive, this is a fresh, gripping page-turner that will satisfy adventure readers, and a complex reflection on camaraderie, family and love. Photos. First serial in Outside. (May 9) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In October 1972, Uruguayan rugby player Parrado awoke bewildered, freezing, and wracked with pain, finding himself stranded high in the Andes, one of numerous survivors of the crash of the airplane that had been carrying his rugby team to Chile. With little food or warm clothing, suffering from a head injury, and grieving the deaths of family members and friends, Parrado, with the other survivors, was plunged into a harrowing life-or-death struggle. Over 30 years later, he explains that he found the means to persevere through his deep love for his father, which enabled him to endure subzero temperatures, deadly avalanches, and the gruesome necessity of cannibalism. Contemplative yet unflinching, this thought-provoking work is both a gripping survival story and a sensitive examination of the sustaining power of religious faith, friendship, love, and family ties. More introspective than Piers Paul Read's journalistic account, Alive, published soon after the ordeal, Parrado presents both the jaw-dropping realities of the 16 survivors' story and the life-altering lessons he learned from the experience. With its universal themes of courage and determination and its broad appeal to true-adventure fans, this work is recommended for all public libraries.-Ingrid Levin, Florida Atlantic Univ., Jupiter Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-In 1972, Parrado and his rugby teammates from Uruguay were flying to Chile to play a match against the national team. Crossing the Andes, the aircraft crashed on a remote, high-altitude, glaciated slope. This remarkable story of the survivors omits none of the raw intensity and brutality of their experience but is burnished by time, casting an analytical perspective on ways in which their subsequent lives were influenced by the ordeal. The many forms of courage exhibited and the sustaining power of love of family are the basis of the narrative as the group supported one another in a collective "refusal to surrender to the mountain." Parrado credits their physical conditioning and the rigorous team ethic inherent in the sport as the foundation for the trust and allegiance that enabled the men to battle the odds. Reduced to the most elemental human needs and learning from a radio transmission that rescue efforts had been abandoned, they reluctantly realized that their only food source was the bodies of the victims. Parrado was respectful of the spiritual faith of those who clung to a belief in rescue, but put his energy into engineering a plan and acted as a leader of the "expeditionaries" who hiked through the perilous mountains to find help. A detailed chronicle of these events was presented in Piers Paul Read's Alive (Avon, 1975), but Parrado's memoir offers a reflective expansion of that work. Dramatic photographs are included.-Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Intense memoir of epic survival that both shocked and thrilled a worldwide audience. Piers Paul Read's Alive was an international bestseller based on the 1972 ordeal of Uruguayan survivors of a plane crash high in the Andes mountains. Now Parrado, one of the members of that Montevideo rugby club, who was instrumental in the story's outcome, sets down his personal recollections for the first time. The bare facts remain gripping: In October, 45 passengers and crew, comprising the team, family members and fans departed Mendoza, Argentina, bound for Santiago, Chile, in a chartered twin-engine turboprop plane. The plane, traveling through turbulent mountain passes in lowering visibility, crashed into a peak and came to rest in a glacial snow field at an altitude of about 12,000 feet. There were 32 survivors, some terminally injured. Parrado's harrowing account details the burial of his mother, dead on impact, and later his sister, who died of internal injuries; meanwhile, the group, without heavy clothing (some had never seen snow before) or any source of food, set about improvising for survival on the freezing mountain. They cared for injured teammates, watched others die and finally made the agonizing decision that the bodies were, indeed, their only potential source of food-hence the sensational reaction to the original story. After two months, Parrado, who sustained a skull fracture, and one companion were able to traverse some 70 miles of Andean terrain without any mountaineering equipment or know-how in order to contact rescuers in Chile, saving the remaining 16. The author claims to not have flashbacks, but his candid, vivid memories bring this nearly incredible story to life onceagain.