Book Review: Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff


frozen in time 
This is a book reviewed for ireadabookonce.com, and possibly the most widely known author I have reviewed.  I was thrilled to review it.

I am a huge fan of anything that is about World War II and survival under the most trying circumstances.  This book was right up my alley.  Here is the synopsis:

Frozen in Time is a gripping true story of survival, bravery, and honor in the vast Arctic wilderness during World War II, from the author of New York Times bestseller Lost in Shangri-La.

On November 5, 1942, a US cargo plane slammed into the Greenland Ice Cap. Four days later, the B-17 assigned to the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on board survived, and the US military launched a daring rescue operation. But after picking up one man, the Grumman Duck amphibious plane flew into a severe storm and vanished.

Frozen in Time tells the story of these crashes and the fate of the survivors, bringing vividly to life their battle to endure 148 days of the brutal Arctic winter, until an expedition headed by famed Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen brought them to safety. Mitchell Zuckoff takes the reader deep into the most hostile environment on earth, through hurricane-force winds, vicious blizzards, and subzero temperatures.

Moving forward to today, he recounts the efforts of the Coast Guard and North South Polar Inc. – led by indefatigable dreamer Lou Sapienza – who worked for years to solve the mystery of the Duck’s last flight and recover the remains of its crew.

A breathtaking blend of mystery and adventure Mitchell Zuckoff’s Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II is also a poignant reminder of the sacrifices of our military personnel and a tribute to the everyday heroism of the US Coast Guard.

This book reminded me of Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resiliance and Redemption”.  Much like that book captivated me, this one did as well.

I grew up in the northeast, so I know cold.  But not this type of cold: “Cold in Greenland is almost a living thing, a tormenting force that robs strapping men of strength, denies them rest, and refuses them comfort.  In time, it kills like a python, squeezing life from its victims.”

Mitchell Zuckoff paints such a vivid picture of the landscape.  The ice, the snow, the crevasses.  The day to day torment of living on a glacier with a thin skin of aluminum to block out the wind and cold.

This book is absolutely thrilling.  From the dual stories of the men marooned on this barren wasteland alternating with the push for an expedition to find artifacts, both stories are equally compelling.

I honestly feel that these types of true stories should be required reading in high schools.  The strength and fortitude exhibited by the soldiers in WWII helps to illustrate just how much has been sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy now.

The “greatest generation” is truly that.  I will always read books of this nature, and I look forward to Mr. Zuckoff’s sequel to this story, the one where the ending includes the team bringing the Duck home.

I give this book four stars for the way the information is presented and weaved into the story from today.  Mr. Zuckoff’s writing is impeccable and draws the reader in and keeps them interested throughout.  Although the reader knows that some of the crew survived from the very beginning, the reader just wants to know how, and what their lives were like after.

Highly recommended for those who have an interest in history, aviation, or a tale that takes place in one of the most inhospitable locations on the planet.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

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