Mitchell Zuckoff’s new book Frozen in Time ranks  among the best non-fiction works of survival and rescue during the Second World War. Furthermore,  the book  is testament to the strength of the human spirit.


Frozen in Time details the crash of a B-17 Flying Fortress  on the Greenland ice cap, while itself on a mission to find the crew of another downed plane. A Grumman Duck  amphibious rescue plane also vanishes, adding to the complexity of what becomes an epic tragedy.

Imagine, 9-men huddled in the tail section of a broken B-17 bomber, who during the first month on the ice, had no verification that anyone knew where they were!  They survived 148 days of 50-degree below zero weather with 100 mile per hour winds threatening to dump their makeshift shelter into bottomless crevasse only inches away. Then came the disappointment of many failed rescue attempts and further loss of life by those who tried to save them.  Zuckoff unveils a determination and fortitude of the human spirit that defies comprehension.

The dimension of this gripping survival story is enhanced with the telling of the parallel expedition that took place in 2012, to find the wreckage of the U.S. Coast Guard Grumman Duck rescue plane and to return home the remains of the heroic crew.




There are four other books of this genre and caliber that I highly recommend reading:

The Endurance, by Caroline Alexander, Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition

The Terrible Hours, by Peter Mass, The Greatest Submarine Rescue in History

In Harm’s Way, by Doug Stanton, The Sinking of the USS INDIANAPOLIS

FLYBOYS, by James Bradley, The Tragedy of Chichi Jima

Lost in Shangri-La, by Mitchell Zuckoff, A True Story of Survival and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II.



I first became acquainted with novelist Isabel Allende when her 2009 novel Island Beneath The Sea was recommended to me by my daughter.  See my overview  at , January, 2013.  Allende is  talented and prolific , having written a dozen novels and three books for young adults. Island Beneath The Sea  is not only a good read but Allende combines a love story with a vivid  picture of events leading to the slave revolution on the great sugar plantations in Dominique , now Haiti.  The story culminates with the great slave migration to the United States, particularly New Orleans.


Ten years prior to Island  Beneath The Sea, Allende published Daughter of Fortune another wonderful tale, this time beginning in Chile where she was raised.  Allende’s uncle Chilean President Salvatore Allende was assassinated in 1974, upon which Allende fled Chile for Venezuela, then moved to the United States.

Like Island, Daughter of Fortune is a complex love story set in the environment of what would  today be called a non-traditional family, the main character having been left as a foundling on the doorstep of prosperous British transplants in Valparaiso, Chile. Allende is generous in her portrait of  nineteenth century life in  this isolated outpost. It is here that her characters  evolve then embark on a journey to the gold fields of California in search of lost love and fortunes .   You will be fascinated with Eliza and even more so with Tao Chi’en.

Isabel Allende is an excellent storyteller, her work is enjoyable, engaging  and with a generous sharing of cultures and history always in the mix. Either of the books will make a good addition to your summer reading. Also by Isabel Allende Ines of my Soul, Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses.


Nathaniel Philbrick’s new non-fiction work  BUNKER HILL, A CITY, A SIEGE, A REVOLUTION is a rewarding  history of the early stages of the American Revolution including the battles of Lexington and Concord,  Breeds Hill/Bunker Hill and the siege and eventual evacuation of Boston by the  British.  Philbrick, as was his style in his previous books Mayflower and  The Last Stand,  Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of Little Big Horn ( see review at ) , is focused. His  historical research is precise  and the development of the characters of the  historical figures adds new dimension to this period of American History.


Set in 1775 and 1776, Philbrick explores the passions and the conflicts between Patriots , Loyalists and the multitude of  views  of those suspended in the middle. Many Patriots remained loyal to King George but simultaneously reviled against the British Parliament, clearly defining the difference between a call for “Liberty”  and the pursuit of  “Independence.”   In the ensuing American Revolutionary War, liberty and independence became synonymous.

Readers will meet a key revolutionary who stands unique among the better-known  Sam Adams , John Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere.  Thirty three-year-old physician Joseph Warren cobbled together a group of independent thinking community leaders  and often unmanageable  farmers turned militiamen  into what would become the Continental Army.  Warren was  a self-styled political and military leader.  If it were not for Warren’s  death at the Battle of Bunker Hill,  Philbrick  speculates that relatively obscure George Washington may never have been called  upon to assume  leadership  of the Patriot  forces, which  of course ultimately lead to Washington becoming the nation’s first president. Thus , Bunker Hill gains even greater historical importance.

The Battle of Bunker Hill  ( June 17, 1775) , which came two  months after  Concord and Lexington  ( April 19, 1775  “The Shot Heard Round the World” ) , is considered the actual beginning of the Revolutionary War.  Concord and Lexington are referred to as ” skirmishes.”  British loses were so great at Bunker Hill, despite a technical victory, General Howe concluded that the British had in fact lost the battle for Boston, and was later forced to withdraw to Halifax, Nova Scotia following  a winter long siege of the city .

I greatly appreciate well researched non-fiction  like BUNKER HILL that focuses on specific events and the individuals  that played a vital role in the larger story.   Another example is David McCullough’s  biography  John Adams , critical to understanding  the American Revolution, the  drafting of the Declaration  of Independence and the Constitution.  An enlightening part of the puzzle pertaining to  George Washington and the Revolutionary War  is David Clary’s book Washington Lafayette, and the Friendship That Saved the Revolution. The book details the relationship between  the childless George Washington and a glory seeking teenage French Aristocrat,  Marquis de Lafayette. They become unlikely comrades-in-arms , forming  an unbreakable trust with great impact on  the war’s outcome and the forming of a new nation.  

BUNKER HILL, A CITY, A SIEGE, A REVOLUTION is worthy of your time and your library.