Frozen In Time

   3W, 3H  (audio)

Zuckoff, Mitchell, (c. 2013). Frozen In Time.  Harper Collins Publisher. 8 discs (9 hours), $34.19.  Read by Mitchell Zuckoff.

ISBN  978-0-0622-8344-3

Reviews:

Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor

Annotation:

A true-life adventure about a WW II cargo plane that crashed into the Greenland ice cap and the rescue attempts that stranded the crewmen for 148 days.

Summary:  

In November of 1942, a cargo plane crashed into the Greenland ice cap trapping the survivors in Arctic Winter conditions surrounded by innumerable fissures overlaid with precarious ice bridges.  Many were killed on impact, one fell through an ice bridge never to be seen again and yet another watched as his feet turned black from frostbite. Zuckoff’s gripping tale, written from historical documents and interviews with those who were part of the efforts, captures the heroic efforts and frustrations surrounding this event that gripped the nation for a short period of time but then was forgotten.

Zuckhoff, a successful journalist with a previous published success, joins the 2012 expedition undertaken to recover the cargo plane and the remains of the crew that still lay under ice 70 years later.  His personal adventure is intertwined with the events of the original crash which generated two rescue attempts; the first attempt crashed with all nine crew members surviving and the second attempt simply vanished.

Evaluation:

Zuckhoff writes with a clean style, clearly describing both the harsh landscape and the important technical details involved in both the early rescue attempts and then the current day recovery mission.  The introduction explains how he found this story by searching through World War II era newspapers to find reports of incidents that captured the headlines but then faded away.  He successfully brings his words to life (he is also the reader for the audiobook) and it is apparent the passion he feels for those that survived and those that tragically died.  With so many heroic tales generated from the war, it is always a wonder that the drama behind such a situation has only recently been dug up and shared with the world.

Genre/Subgenre:

Non-Fiction/Historical

Awards:

School Library Journal’s Adult Books 4 Teens – 2013

Readalikes:

Vanished by Wil S. Hylton.  Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado.

Book Discussion Questions:

How did the intertwining of past and present work to make the story more (or less) appealing?

What do you think of the story?  Were there parts that slowed down the momentum?

Did Zuckoff effectively remove himself from the narrative even though he was a part of it?

Reasons for selection:

I need to expand my very limited knowledge of readable non-fiction and I thought this would be a good place to start.  Although it is highly rated and I do enjoy tales about World War II, I just could not get into the story.  That’s not to say that it won’t be a great read for those history and airplane buffs.  Personally, I need more character building and less technical description.