Against All Odds
Bookmark these 6 inspiring true stories of survival.
One of the pleasures of reading a really gripping nonfiction book is knowing that the characters you are rooting for are real people. This is especially true with stories of survival.
Though fiction feeds off imagination, captivating nonfiction survival tales nourish the soul: They reveal just what the human spirit is capable of — be it trekking across the West Australia desert with some camels and a dog or growing up feral with a troop of capuchin monkeys in the Colombian jungle.
The following page-turners are inspiring, thrilling, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
During the height of World War II, in the heart of Hitler’s Berlin, 12 brave Jewish men and women went underground, hiding in plain sight, right under the noses of the Gestapo. Each character in this incredible true story has their own remarkable and riveting tale of how they escaped Hitler’s camps against all odds. Their incredible stories of survival and loss represent some of the few inspiring moments from Hitler’s empire.
in 1954, when Marina Chapman was just four years old, she was abducted from her family’s home in a remote mountain village in South America. Abandoned by her captors deep in the Colombian jungle, she survived by acting purely on instinct, living with a group of capuchin monkeys and learning to fend for herself. When she was discovered by a pair of hunters six years later, she was taken to the Columbian city of Cucuta, where a whole new series of trials and narrow escapes awaited her. This amazing story is so enthralling that it can be consumed in one sitting.
In 1977, Robyn Davidson began her 1,700 mile trek across the Australian outback, accompanied only by her dog and four camels she had trained specifically to survive with her on her journey. During this personal odyssey she had to forge for food, defend herself against dangerous wild bull camels, and befriend native peoples. As one reviewer on Amazon writes, “If she can do this, anything is possible!”
U.S. Airforce Pararescue is the world’s most elite rescue force, playing a prominent role in every armed conflict since World War II. Pararescuemen regularly risk their lives to rescue the sick and injured, and often find themselves battling through icy mountains, performing midair recoveries of pilots or navigating their way through bomb blasts to pull out survivors. William Sine spent 28 years as a pararescue and takes readers deep into the true death-defying, harrowing adventures of his fellow pararescuemen.
The peak of Annapurna 1, the most formidable mountain in the Himalayas, was thought to be unreachable until a team of French mountaineers made the first successful assent in 1950. Without so much as a comprehensive map to guide them, the group, led by Maurice Herzog barely survived the treacherous 8,100-meter climb. Herzog dictated his incredible first-person account from his hospital bed as he recovered from injuries sustained during the climb. Annapurna is considered by many to be the “grandaddy” of first-person mountaineering stories and remains a classic more than 60 years after it was first published.
“Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” If you’ve ever wanted to know what really happened on the Apollo 13 mission made famous by Ron Howard’s 1995 film, you have to read Thirteen. After an explosion badly damaged their spacecraft more than 200,000 miles from Earth, it seemed unlikely that the crew of Apollo 13 would make it safely back to earth. Henry Cooper’s dramatic account offers unparalleled detail on the moment-by-moment developments of one of NASA’s most nail-biting missions.