#1 New York Times bestseller
Frozen in Time is a gripping true story of survival, bravery, and honor in the vast Arctic wilderness during World War II, from the author of New York Times bestseller Lost in Shangri-La.
On November 5, 1942, a US cargo plane slammed into the Greenland Ice Cap. Four days later, the B-17 assigned to the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on board survived, and the US military launched a daring rescue operation. But after picking up one man, the Grumman Duck amphibious plane flew into a severe storm and vanished.
Frozen in Time tells the story of these crashes and the fate of the survivors, bringing vividly to life their battle to endure 148 days of the brutal Arctic winter, until an expedition headed by famed Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen brought them to safety. Mitchell Zuckoff takes the reader deep into the most hostile environment on earth, through hurricane-force winds, vicious blizzards, and subzero temperatures.
Moving forward to today, he recounts the efforts of the Coast Guard and North South Polar Inc. - led by indefatigable dreamer Lou Sapienza - who worked for years to solve the mystery of the Duck's last flight and recover the remains of its crew.
A breathtaking blend of mystery and adventure Mitchell Zuckoff's Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II is also a poignant reminder of the sacrifices of our military personnel and a tribute to the everyday heroism of the US Coast Guard.
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- ISBN-13: 9780062133434
- ISBN-10: 0062133438
- Publisher: Harper
- Publish Date: April 2013
- Dimensions: 9.34 x 6.27 x 1.35 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.36 pounds
- Page Count: 416
An impossible tale of Arctic survival during WWII
In Frozen in Time, his second recounting of a largely forgotten World War II rescue mission, Mitchell Zuckoff shifts his focus from the steamy jungles of New Guinea—the locale of 2011’s Lost in Shangri-La—to the glacial wilderness of Greenland. Even before America entered the war, it began constructing military bases in Greenland, both to defend the frozen island against possible German invasion and to serve as a way station for ferrying planes from the U.S. to Britain. So much air traffic over such a hostile environment made crashes inevitable and rescue attempts perilous.
On November 5, 1942, a C-53 Skytrooper cargo plane crashed onto a glacier there. But its five-man crew survived the impact. One of the planes dispatched to locate the survivors was a B-17 bomber. It also went down in a snowstorm, leaving nine survivors stranded. Yet another rescue plane, a Grumman Duck, crashed after having transported two of the downed B-17’s crew to safety. These three crashes and their aftermaths form the core of Zuckoff’s account. Drawing on personal letters, recollections and official reports, he spins claustrophobically up-close stories of what it was like to be marooned for weeks and months in subfreezing temperatures with gravely ill comrades, insufficient supplies and dwindling hope.
Early in the book, Zuckoff introduces yet another level of drama. While amassing details for his main story, he encounters a modern-day adventurer who is intent on finding and retrieving the Grumman Duck, now buried under hundreds of feet of ice. Zuckoff joins in, helps finance the project and describes the bumpy course of this high-risk effort.
Astoundingly thorough in his research, Zuckoff not only chronicles the significant actions of dozens of “characters,” but he also probes their individual lives before they went to war, sketches in their personality traits, digs up their photographs and interviews their descendants. Thus, each character stands apart from the others.
Because so much of this narrative takes place against an unvarying backdrop of snow and ice, and because there are no real “villains” to heighten tension, Frozen in Time doesn’t have quite the same expansive, edge-of-your-seat quality that Lost in Shangri-La possesses. Even so, it is an engaging testimony to perseverance, ingenuity and monumental self-sacrifice.