Friday, March 14, 2008

book of the month - The Raft

I've been listening to an audiobook called "The Raft" by Bill Trumbull, randomly selected from our local library shelves in an opportune moment when I was there to browse without the kids.

It is a true story of 3 Navy men who got lost on a routine mission (scouting for submarines) early in 1942 - just 2 months after Pearl Harbor - and couldn't make it back to their aircraft carrier in the Pacific. They landed the plane in the water and managed to get the life raft out before the plane sank, but all the survival gear went down in the plane. The US fleet was stretched too thin in the Pacific for much of a search and rescue effort - so after a search plane passed over them the first day, they were on their own. For the next 34 days they floated at the mercy of the elements and had to survive on what they could catch - fish, birds, a couple of floating coconuts. It sounds like it might be boring but actually is a pretty engrossing story - well told and full of good details - I don't know how they remembered the details so well afterward but I guess maybe you would if you were in that situation. I don't know why I like these kind of near-death adventure stories so much, but I do. Some of my favorites are Alive and Into Thin Air. I listened to one called The Hatchet earlier this year, about a boy stranded alone in the Canadian woods with nothing but a hatchet, and I liked that too, but I think it was fiction.

Anyway - if you have a car trip coming up or just need a good true adventure story, I recommend The Raft. You'll be glad to be warm, safe, and dry.

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