I had never heard of the story of the rugby players that survived in the Andes, despite all odds, for 70 days until the movie came out in the 90's. For some reason I was fascinated with the story and convinced my friends to go with me and see the movie on opening night. The movie was so crowded that we had to sit in the aisle of the theater because there were no more seats left. For the next 2 hours though, I was transfixed and amazed at the story being told on the screen and when I got home I still could not wrap my mind around the fact that the story was true.
Shortly after, I found and read Alive by Piers Paul Read and was more impressed with their story than I was after the movie. How these men survived was even more unimaginable after reading the book. The movie made things seem like they happened in minutes, days when in reality it was hours and weeks. I had no idea how long it took Canessa and Nando to reach the valley and what they really had to endure to get there. Even still, in Alive everything still wasn't fully hashed.
Miracle in the Andes is an astonishing book. I read it in just over a day - it would have been done in less than one but New Years Eve isn't a day typically to sit and read an entire novel.
Nando's story has been heard before, but never in this detail. In the previous telling of their tale, one had to use a little imagination to put themselves into the minds of the men. In this novel, there is no imagination needed, you simply are there. You are Nando, holding your beloved sister as she slowly slips away before you. You are the man that almost dies in an avalanche. You are the man that conquered a mountain, to despair at the sight at the summit and you are the man that finally found salvation by way of a farmer in the middle of nowhere. The story itself is gripping and intense, even with the most rudimentary writing, the story would have power. However, the writing in this novel is far beyond rudimentary and the story literally explodes off the pages.
In the end, this story is about how an ordinary man was able to go to extraordinary lengths with the simple power of love.
Currently 5/5 Stars.
Gary T. reviewed Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home on
1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Once started, this is difficult book to put down. At certain points I found myself pausing to look into the distance to ponder the incredible struggle for survival that these people went through. I can't help but wonder what I would have done in these life trying circumstances. Nando Parrado tells his story with clarity and full honesty about himself those who suffered with him. The story conveys the importance of nevering giving up, even in the face of overwhelming adversity.