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From AbeBooks: Ultimate Survival Stories – Man vs Nature

Ultimate Survival Stories – Man vs Nature

by editor Julie Oreskovich



For a story to engage a reader, conflict is essential. When the conflict involves man versus nature, it is guaranteed that the tale will be engrossing, horrifying and compelling. There have been countless stories of harrowing journeys, expeditions and conquests that prove humans have a strong desire to reach the uncharted, explore the unfamiliar, conquer the unknown and ultimately survive all that is thrown at them.

This genre of survival storytelling is utterly compelling, with no shortage of captivating tales. Having just recently seen The Revenant - an ultimate survival story - our love of tales of survival has been rekindled. Like many of the books mentioned below, The Revenant is a tale that shows how far a human will go to survive against the odds. Freezing temperatures, inhospitable terrain, vicious animals, starvation, unquenchable thirst – these elements found in The Revenant are all integral ingredients for a good survival story.

There are some incredible stories of survival including Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston, and Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing and Nathaniel Philbrick. But, have you read the story about the man whose sailboat sank in the Atlantic and spent 76 days drifting 1,800 miles in a five foot inflatable boat? Or the tale of a woman who falls 60 feet in the Sierra Mountains, breaks both of her legs but still manages to pull herself to safety? Or the classic tale of The Wreck of the Medusa where survivors of a 19th century shipwreck are forced on a makeshift raft where mayhem, mutiny and murder ensues?



Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan
This is a book that I tell everyone to read, it's that good. This survival story is about a man whose boat sinks in the middle of the Atlantic, 800 miles west of the Canary Islands with nothing but a little bit of food and water – enough to last a few days. Steven Callahan spent 76 days adrift on the Atlantic in a tiny raft and lived to tell the tale.



Alive by Piers Paul Read

In 1972, a plane goes down in the snowy, remote peaks of the Andes. Only 16 of the original passengers survive for 10 weeks in frigid temperatures with no food. This is a terrifying tale but highlights the resilience of man's will to survive.




Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea by Tami Oldham Ashcraft
Tami and her fiancé set sail from Tahiti and all is good, until they meet a monster hurricane which destroys their boat. Oh, and her fiancé is missing.





Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg

It's hard to say what would be more terrifying, adrift on an expansive ocean, or lost in a jungle. In this book, four travelers set out on an expedition in the Amazon rainforest but things quickly take a turn, for the worst. The group is split up and only some of them back it back.




Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King

Man's will to survive is tested in this account of a crew who miraculously survives a shipwreck and finds themselves in a hot and desolate desert. They are starving, severely dehydrated, desperate to be found and are then robbed and enslaved. It's a hard read, but thrilling to the end.



Angels in the Wilderness by Amy Racina

A hiking trip gone wrong, terribly wrong. Amy Racina was hiking by herself in California's Sierra mountains when she fell 60 feet and broke both her legs. Yet, she manages to survive four days and nights and is eventually found and rescued.



Island of the Lost by Joan Druett

Shipwrecked on Auckland Island, a crew survives and thrives while another crew succumbs to starvation and cannibalism 20 miles away.




The Lost City of Z by David Grann

A man dedicates his life to finding a lost city – The City of Z, buried in the depths of the inhospitable Amazon jungle. Other people have spent a lifetime searching for evidence of Z and meet disease, starvation and death in their quest to locate the city.



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

A fascinating tale of survival in the harshest conditions. A US cargo plane crashes in Greenland and all survive. The plane sent to Greenland to rescue the men encounters its own problems. The men left alive are ill-equipped to survive 148 days in sub-Arctic weather – ferocious winds, freezing temperatures and white-out blizzards are just the beginning of their problems.



The Wreck of the Medusa by Jonathan Miles

Perhaps the most famous shipwreck of them all, The Wreck of the Medusa inspired the famous painting by Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa. After the boat sinks and the captain claims the lifeboats, the rest of the crew are left to survive on makeshift rafts – things get ugly and not everyone survives.


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