Thursday, November 7, 2013

REVIEW: Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff

Title: Frozen in Time
Author: Mitchell Zuckoff Website Twitter Facebook
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Pages: 416
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: Two harrowing crashes . . . A vanished rescue plane . . . A desperate fight for life in a frozen, hostile land . . . The quest to solve a seventy-year-old mystery

The author of the smash New York Times bestseller Lost in Shangri-Ladelivers a gripping true story of endurance, bravery, ingenuity, and honor set in the vast Arctic wilderness of World War II and today.

On November 5, 1942, a U.S. cargo plane on a routine flight slammed into the Greenland ice cap. Four days later, a B-17 on the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on the B-17 survived. The U.S. military launched a second daring rescue operation, but the Grumman Duck amphibious plane sent to find the men flew into a severe storm and vanished.

In this thrilling adventure, Mitchell Zuckoff offers a spellbinding account of these harrowing disasters and the fate of the survivors and their would-be saviors. Frozen in Time places us at the center of a group of valiant airmen fighting to stay alive through 148 days of a brutal Arctic winter by sheltering from subzero temperatures and vicious blizzards in the tail section of the broken B-17 until an expedition headed by famed Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen attempts to bring them to safety.

But that is only part of the story that unfolds in Frozen in Time. In present-day Greenland, Zuckoff joins the U.S. Coast Guard and North South Polar—a company led by the indefatigable dreamer Lou Sapienza, who worked for years to solve the mystery of the Duck’s last flight—on a dangerous expedition to recover the remains of the lost plane’s crew.

Drawing on intensive research and Zuckoff ’s firsthand account of the dramatic 2012 expedition, Frozen in Time is a breathtaking blend of mystery, adventure, heroism, and survival. It is also a poignant reminder of the sacrifices of our military personnel and their families—and a tribute to the important, perilous, and often-overlooked work of the U.S. Coast Guard.

First Thoughts: How did I not know any of this happened? Come on past history teachers! The struggle those men went through on the tundra of Greenland is amazing and somewhat difficult to even comprehend. Eye-opening!

This is definitely a nonfiction book. Whereas Unbroken felt like a story, this felt like history...but not necessarily in a bad way. I learned A LOT in this book. Did you know any of this even happened? I had no idea Greenland was even involved in WWII let alone a base for the United States. And the men whose planes crashed? I couldn’t survive for two days out in that cold with no food and they did it for over one hundred. Insane!

I say this book is nonfiction because well, it is, but also because there are a lot of facts, dates, and people’s names. I constantly found myself rereading, flipping back to an earlier chapter, and stopping to think. The story focuses on two plane crashes in the past, the people trying to rescue them, and then jumps to the present where researchers are still searching for them. It’s just a lot to keep track of. That’s what stopped it from being a “story” to me. I never felt fully connected to any of the people (characters?) because the story’s point of view so often changed. In Unbroken, it’s Louie’s story the entire way; the reader is bound to him through reading his experiences. In Frozen in Time I was in awe of these men, but I couldn’t really keep them all straight, not that Zuckoff didn’t try to constantly remind the reader who is who.

I do think this is an important read because it really opens your eyes to the history that’s out there. Our textbooks in high school and college can only teach us so much. Frozen in Time left me questioning about the past; what other events happened that the majority of society has no idea about? For example, did you know that the military branches are still searching for soldiers MIA from WWII, Vietnam, and Korea? I had no idea, but I do now. I love a book that opens my eyes and teaches me something new - Frozen in Time definitely did both!

Final Thoughts: Not quite as life-changing as Unbroken (can anything ever be?), but an interesting nonfiction read that introduces the reader to a historical past completely  unheard of least for me.

Who Should Read It? If you like nonfiction, if you like history, if you like interesting WWII stories, give this book a read. It’s definitely fact-heavy but the writing carries the reader along quite nicely. Adults may appreciate Frozen in Time more than teens, but I think a history-buff young adult reader can get equally immersed.

1 comment:

  1. I've been looking for more non-fiction books to read lately and this one sounds really good! I feel the same way as you about learning history in high school/college...there is so much that I've learned from reading books (literature or nonfiction) that I was never taught in school, its amazing. It makes me want to read so many more books, so that I can learn about everything that I never heard about before.