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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Frozen In Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II (audiobook) by Mitchell Zuckoff

Published by HarperAudio in April of 2013
Read by the author
Duration: 8 hours, 57 minutes

Frozen In Time is an adventure story, a mystery story, a story of perseverance and a story of honor - all wrapped up in one audiobook by Mitchell Zuckoff.  To be more exact, it is really two stories. The first story is set in World War II, the second one is set in 2012.

During World War II American airplanes, men and supplies were ferried to Great Britain by flying from the United States to Canada to Greenland to Iceland and finally on to Scotland. But, Greenland proved to be consistently tough. Freak storms, horizons that seem to merge into the ice pack and thick fog are all common in one of the toughest environments in the world. To make it worse, Greenland is not just covered with ice, it is covered with moving glaciers. These glaciers make the ice rough and full of deep cuts in the ice caused by the glacier moving at different speeds. These cuts can go down hundreds of feet and can be covered by "ice bridges" that hide the drops but really can't hold any weight.

A Grumman Duck
In November of 1942 an American cargo plane crashed into this nightmare environment. A B-17 bomber was diverted to try to spot the cargo plane and it also crashed. Zuckoff tells the story of these men and how they managed to survive for months on the ice. Their story is pitiful and moving. The men who made one effort after another to save them and dropped supplies to them.  A Grumman Duck amphibious plane from the Coast Guard also went down in the rescue effort. That plane was never found  and its men were never recovered.

The second story in the book is the story of the 2012 attempt to find the Grumman Duck so that its men could be brought back to the United States and given a proper burial. Lining up the funding, getting the right equipment (including those last-second purchases), and the right crew (they have to be unique, the kind of person that gets excited about Greenland and says things like this: "I have never before worked in a place that can kill you in a second without batting an eye. It was great.").

The audiobook is read by the author, Mitchell Zuckoff. Zuckoff generally does a solid but unexceptional job of reading. The positive thing is that he knows what he wanted to be emphasized when it was read and his reading voice is better than some professional readers. But, sometimes Zuckoff's reading voice became a pleasant monotone that encouraged me to drift off a bit and I would have to rewind a few minutes to see what I had missed.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.
Reviewed on July 4, 2013.

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