We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth
I read this book while growing up and didn’t remember the title, or some of the specific details, but the overall story stuck with me. And some specific events I’ve never forgotten.
Then, a couple of years ago, I stumbled across the book and was thrilled to have the author & title of that book I’d remembered. I devoured it more than read it, and found that it was as entrancing as I’d remembered. Not because of smooth storytelling or beautiful passages, but because the story is so gripping.
Jan Baalsrud’s survival account is astonishing and unforgettable (even if the title and author were somewhat forgettable). The risks the villagers took to help him survive, the ordeal he had to go through, it’s all a remarkable tale. I’ve read a lot of survival accounts, and this one is particularly powerful because so much of the time Baalsrud is alone, and his refusal to die is incredible.
In March 1943 a team of expatriate Norwegian commandos sailed from the Shetland Islands for Nazi-occupied Norway. Their mission was to organise and support the Norwegian resistance. They were betrayed. And only one man survived a terrifying ambush by Nazi soldiers. This is the incredible and gripping story of his escape. Crippled by frostbite and snow-blind, hunted by the Germans, Jan Baalsrud, the sole survivor, managed to find a tiny Arctic village. There, delirious and close to death, he found villagers willing to risk their lives to save him. We Die Alone is his incredible story – an incomparable epic of survival in the most hostile conditions.
To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads, go to the series page.
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