Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

A First-Person Fictional Memoir. of Crash Survival in Alaska

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

A First-Person Fictional Memoir. of Crash Survival in Alaska

Article excerpt

A First-Person Fictional Memoir... of Crash Survival in Alaska Brian Murphy with Toula Vlahou. 81 Days Below Zero: The Incredible Survival Story of a World War II Pilot in Alaska's Frozen Wilderness. Boston: Da Capo Press: Perseus Books Group, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-306-82452-4. $15.99. 6X9". 238pp.

This is the dramatic adventure story of five Army aviators that went on a simple mission to test their B-24 Liberator plane in December of 1943 only to crash in Alaska's unforgiving wilderness. Only Leon Crane survived the crash. Unlike another author that I'm reviewing in this set, Bruce L. Smith, who had plenty of survival training in other harsh conditions before his helicopter crashed, Crane had no wilder- ness experience, having grown up in urban Philadelphia. With only a "parachute for cover and an old Boy Scout knife in his pocket," Crane managed to survive a twelve-week journey to rescue himself. Sadly, Crane did not write this but, but rather it was written by two researchers after his death. The "Preface" explains that the inner dialogue included in the narrative is their invention based on what they believe Crane might have been thinking. This scares me away from the book because it promises to be a sentimental novel rather than an honest portrayal of this adventure. …

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