Stories of Survival

I am a big fan of true stories of survival. Here is a short list of some of my favorites in that genre.
In addition to those in the list below, here are three on the Mt. Everest winter of 1996: Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer – it ends up that the author, a journalist who was also on the trip, was accused of being a bit self-serving in his version of events so I recommend reading more on the fatal expeditions; The Climb, by Anatoli Boukreev was an answer to Krakauer; and Left For Dead, was Beck Weathers’ first hand account of his experience on the mountain with Krakauer and Boukreev.

In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic
4 of 5 stars true
Up there with all the great stories of survival I have read. Includes two great elements: shipwreck and fine writing. So many parallels with Shackleton, including the characters’ unawareness of the outbreak of WWI!
The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
5 of 5 stars true
Beautiful book. Nicely written. Pictures like you have never seen before. Must own.
The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
4 of 5 stars true
Great book. What a difference in factual and educational value vs the tall-tale quality of the Bounty Trilogy (Mutiny on the Bounty et al).
With God in Russia
4 of 5 stars true
So simply and humbly written, it took me half the book to realize what horrors Fr. Ciszek lived through. This is the account of the life of a saint written by the saint himself. Truly horrifying to realize that all of his suffering was unjustly visited upon him by fellow human beings. More from me on this book here.
Abandon Ship!: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the Navy's Greatest Sea Disaster
4 of 5 stars true
This was one of the saddest stories I have ever read, if not the saddest. About the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the loss of over 800 men in the final days of WWII. A horrible miscarriage of justice on so many levels.
The Mutiny on the Bounty Trilogy
4 of 5 stars true
Wonderfully written, fascinating tale of the sea. The books get better as the trilogy progresses. My only criticism is that an awful lot of the facts seem to be disputed in more serious sources.
The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
5 of 5 stars true
I would not believe this book if I did not know it was true. If you need to give yourself anIi-can-do-it talk, read this and you will know you can do anything if you have the character and determination.


  1. mary says:

    Although it is fiction, I’m going to recommend “The Martian” by Andy Weir. It is a compelling story of the survival of an astronaut stranded on Mars — plausible and incredibly well written.

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