“You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back.”
It is amazing what a person can survive. During World War II, the Allies used Greenland as a stopping point across the ocean for refueling. Several small bases were established across the island and one Coast Guard ship helped patrol the coast. If the Axis were able to establish a foothold on the enormous ice-covered island, they would be within flying distance of New York. It was a crucial piece of land, but unforgiving.
I read Zuckoff’s Lost in Shangri-La a few years ago and really enjoyed how he told the story of a plane that crashed on an island where people still lived as if it were centuries ago. The crew stumbled upon the tribe and the story tells of their interactions. In Frozen in Time, Zuckoff takes the reader back in history to the site of more plane crashes and more tales of survival. Zuckoff takes his assignment as a writer of history seriously and is thorough with his research and details.
When a cargo ship crashed in Greenland, search and rescue teams activated to seek out the crew in hopes of finding survivors. However, one of the search and rescue planes also crashes with nine men aboard who all survive the crash. Planes then take off when they can to try and find both planes.
Weather holds the search teams at bay for several days at a time and while the initial crash site is never found, the B-17 with nine crewmembers is located and the men receive airdrops of supplies and food. The closest a plane could safely land near the crash is several miles away due to ice crevasses hidden across the island.
The rescue operation takes 148 long, cold days to succeed and Zuckoff tells the story masterfully giving the perspectives of the crew and the search and rescue teams. Tragedy does strike a few times, including another plane crash. People in present day are trying to locate that crash site and Zuckoff brings the story to the present day by joining that search team.
There are a lot of details in this book – to the point that it almost reads like a history book. I think that was the author’s intention, though. There are so many stories to tell about how our military members served during World War II, Zuckoff wanted to make sure this story was told well so it wasn’t lost.
I would recommend this book to any adult, especially anyone who loves survival stories or World War II era stories.