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4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  44,348 Ratings  ·  815 Reviews
On October 12, 1972, an Uruguayan Air Force plany carrying a team of rugby players crashed in the remote snowy peaks of the Andes. Ten weeks later, only sixteen of the forty-five passengers were found alive. This is the story of those ten weeks spent in the shelter of the plane's fuselage without food and with scarcely any hope of a rescue. The survivors protected and help ...more
Published April 15th 1993 by Mandarin Paperbacks (first published 1974)
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DeeRae I don't necessarily think that's the theme, "..all humans have it in them to survive...". Many that had resorted to cannibalism died. I think it was…moreI don't necessarily think that's the theme, "..all humans have it in them to survive...". Many that had resorted to cannibalism died. I think it was simply telling their story. It also may have been a way to reintroduce them back into society and their own everyday lives. If an author can put you into the mind of the characters, in this case the team, you can rationalize their choices, their actions. Perhaps it paved the way and provided understanding for society to allow them to resume normal functioning and not be perceived as monsters for resorting to cannibalism. Or maybe it was a money maker? I haven't researched the motives, and it was before my time ;) (less)
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Aug 16, 2014 julio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i read this when i was 14. totally scandalized.


three months later i still couldn't sit in a chair without wondering what my own asscheeks would taste like if i ate them sashimi-style.
Nov 16, 2014 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
"[The survivors] had neither sensationalized nor sentimentalized their own experience and it seemed important for me to tell the reader what they had told me in the same 'matter-of-fact' manner." –Piers Paul Read

I remember watching the film adaptation of this book when I was quite young, and being so impressed with the resilience of the human spirit, and the desire to live. This book surpassed the film, because Read did such a great job of involving the reader in the whole ordeal, including th
Mar 05, 2011 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In October of 1972, a chartered plane carrying 45 passengers and crew left Uruguay to travel to Chile. A majority of the passengers were made up of young men who were part of an amateur rugby team going to Chile for a game. Others included family and friends. Over the rugged Andes, the pilot made a fatal error, and the plane crashed into the side of a mountain, flinging parts of the tail section, fuselage, wing, rudder and even some passengers out over the desolate landscape. The survivors were, ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this when it first came out in PB, so many years ago, mid-70's. I'd give it 5 stars because I still remember it so clearly, but I never wanted to re-read it. It was well done, but pretty gruesome. Stranded for 10 weeks with not much else to eat but dead passengers (some of them team mates) injured, & cold. They tried a number of things, but finally 2 of them managed to walk out & get help. It's one of the most incredible stories of survival I've ever read.

I wondered what happened
Dec 13, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jon Bon Jovi
The story itself is rather astounding - after a plane crash high in the Andes, which killed most on board (and a subsequent avalanche which killed more), the remaining survivors lived for ten weeks on melted snow, human flesh and organs of the deceased (and bone marrow and even intestinal contents, squeezed out) and almost certainly would have died had not two of them climbed out of the Andes and found a neighboring valley and other humans, a trip which itself took ten days. Read competed with o ...more
Jul 01, 2011 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not gonna lie--I read this book because I wanted to read about how they ate the people. That is what hooked everyone to this story, isn't it? I saw the movie to see how they ate the people. It's what everyone remembers and why we remember the Donner party all these years later. Dude, they ATE THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!

In the book, they had already eaten the first people by about page 70; the book is hundreds of pages longer. Huh, I thought. What are they going to talk about for the rest of the book?

Oct 25, 2007 Catharine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
One of the survivors in this book is quoted as saying that his experience of surviving following a plane crash in the Andes Mountains was the greatest experience of his life. All of the survivors suffered from severe cold, lack of food, and some had injuries,or infections, The test was severe, and yet, this young man could say that it was his greatest exprience. I think whenever we prove to ourselves how much we can handle, we grow and we can look back and say that the hardship, whatever it was, ...more
Jul 08, 2015 Dorcas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Haunting, haunting book. I read this too long ago to give a proper review but the account itself has stayed with me for years. Amazing story of survival against incredible odds. Not for the faint hearted but truly gripping.

Some strong language and traumatic events. (And by that I mean, plane crash, avalanche, death and cannibalism)
Brendon Schrodinger
I purchased this book looking for the facts and an account of the Fairchild Andes crash. What I got was an account, religiously biased, lacking certain facts when needed.

Most of the passengers on the plane were related by being part of or supporting the football team of a religious institution. So of course prayer and the talk of miracles would turn up. But when selecting a writing to tell the story they selected a fellow catholic.

I do not believe the author intentionally hid any facts, however
Jun 24, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Around the World-ers
This book has to be one of the best examples of an author able to relate an account containing culturally taboo subject matter without judgment or sensationalism. Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors recounts the survival story of a rugby team whose plane crashes in the Andes Mountains. Those who live find themselves confronted with awful choices that no human would want to make. Given up for dead by most of the world and even some of their families, they exist despite little shelter from the ...more
Jennifer Jacobs
If you could read just 10 books in rest of your life,this book is worthy of being one of them!
This is a book based on reality that shook the conscience of the world in 1970s and even after almost 40 years past the incident,the book makes such a compelling reading!
A football team hires a chartered Plane to play a friendly match across the Andes,due to co-piolt's mistake the plane crashes and our story begins,
how they managed to survive is one of the all time great stories of them all!
They don't h
Jul 13, 2015 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, reviewed
One of my two favorite books. (The other is To Kill a Mockingbird.) I read this three summers in a row as a teenager, and probably another three times as an adult. And if I live long enough I will read it as many times again. It's simply the greatest survival story ever. I would read this book on camping trips in 90+ degree temperatures, and it would never fail to whisk me away to the Andes.

Here are my only two complaints.... First, I always skip the first chapter, which concerns the history of
Oct 13, 2011 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
On Friday, Oct. 13, 1972 a Fairchild F-227 chartered from the Uruguayan Air Force, carrying a young amateur rugby team and their families and friends from Uruguay slammed into the middle of the Andes Mountains east of Chile.

They had left home with much excitement on Oct 12th, but reports of bad weather in the Andes had put them down for an overnight stay in Mendoza. Most of the young men, with an average age of just 19, had never flown before, never been away from home, so they were extemely ex
When you know from the beginning of a book that a plane full of young Rugby players crash lands in the snowy Andes mountains, and yet somehow some of those boys survive for weeks and weeks - you know it's not going to be a pretty story. And it's not. It's survival at its grittiest core, what do we humans really need to stay alive? Their story is told in an incredibly straightforward, almost newspaper-story type narrative. There's no real emotion. There's no flowery speech. It's just as true of a ...more
Dec 31, 2008 Missy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what an incredible story. I had seen the movie a while back and thought I knew what happened, but the movie doesn't depict half of what went on up there in the Andes. And the characters and their thoughts and struggles during their 70+ days out there is very intense. Along with what really happened from the parent's point of view with trying to get the gov't to send search and rescue people out, because nobody believed there could be anyone still alive, much less 16 of them. And what the pa ...more
Rebecca McNutt
This was the frightening yet amazing true story of a team of rugby players trying to survive in the mountains against the dangers present. Only sixteen survived and were able to tell their story.
May 13, 2011 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is definitely one to read. I often get annoyed with the drive-by media coverages of current events; I always want to know the whole story, including what lead up to certain decisions and what happens after they were rescued. The media doesn't usually follow stories in such detail. This book gives me all of that. I would change a few things about the way it is actually written, and add some things to keep straight who is who and what happened to them, but otherwise, it's a good read.

Nov 08, 2010 Austin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of those novels that you will never forget. It is a phenomenal writing piece based on a rugby team whose plane crashed when flying over the Andes Mountains. They were stuck in these mountains for over ten weeks. Forty five passengers and the crew were on the plane before it crashed, and only sixteen of the passengers left the mountain alive. This book will go down as one of my all-time favorite novels in the entire world. Since it is a survival story, at any point in time someth ...more
Cody Neal
Nov 13, 2013 Cody Neal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book Alive was a very good and interesting book. I liked this book for many reasons. One reason that i liked this book was because throughout the whole book, there were a lot of cliffhangers that were left by the author. THis made me want to never want to put down the book because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. This book was about a rugby team that was traveling to what i think was the Philippines, but i am not sure. So what they did is they chartered a plane that would hold ...more
Walter Mendoza
Mar 04, 2016 Walter Mendoza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Is an magnificent book, for a hard story, the story of rugby team from Uruguay, after your plane crashed on the Andes mountains in October of 1972. The story of the hope and fight for your lives. Masterfully written for Piers Paul Read, about the journey of survivors for save yourselves. They had to survive the elements, hunger, despair.
The story of the determination of survivors to the accident for to be survivors. One of the best books I have ever read. Definitely I recommend this book.
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this back when it was fairly new... I would have thought that I'd retain more of the feeling I had at the time.

What will anyone do when faced with death? How will humanity in general deal with starvation? I'd say "it remains to be seen" might be the lesson to be learned here.
Sep 05, 2008 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I can't drag myself to the gym or finish some project, I think of these men crawling out of the Andes fueled by "matchstick pieces of flesh"
Jan 24, 2012 Licha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: survival, favorite
One of my favorites ever. This story has always touched my heart since I was a little girl.
Feb 07, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I read this book on the recommendation of my daughter, who read it for a college psychology class. I had some trepidation about reading it due to the cannibalism, but while it left me squeamish reading some of those passages, I am glad I was ultimately not deterred from reading this incredible account of survival. The story is absolutely gripping and one of truly finding salvation. I tore through the first 100 pages or so and it slowed slightly in the middle. My favorite part of the book is ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 25, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Assigned High School Reading
In October of 1972 a plane carrying 45 passengers and crew crashed into a glacier in the Andes. Within a week there were only 27 left alive and the food was running out and soon hope of rescue was lost. To stay alive, those remaining had to resort to eating the bodies of the dead. Eventually two of their number climbed a mountain to reach civilization and rescue those left behind.

That describes gruesome suffering, but somehow this account managed to be life-affirming. Maybe because, after all,
Jun 20, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I return to again and again for the incredible inspiration it gives me during times of fear or stress. Truly what could be more terrifying than being stranded, after a horrifying plane wreck in the middle of the Andes Mountains in the dead of winter. Not only must they remove their dead friends from the wreck, but they must watch many others die slowly due to various reasons.

The survivors, with the help of those that did not make it, managed to work and pray together to formulate
Zach Hogan
Sep 28, 2010 Zach Hogan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark R.
Feb 06, 2009 Mark R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Alive" provides a detailed account of the trials a group of rugby players and their flight companions underwent after their plane crashed in the Andes in 1972.

The book isn't written as a "nonfiction novel", and has a tone halfway between fictional prose and an in-depth magazine article. I believe the author's intent was to describe the situation as accurately as possible without fabricating anything, aside from small pieces of dialogue present here and there throughout the book.

Piers Paul Reid
May 28, 2008 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 22, 2016 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was a New York Times best seller and after reading it I can see why. I couldn’t put it down. There was also a film made of the book, but I did not see the film. The Christian Brothers of the Stella Maris College in Montevideo taught the Uruguayan boys how to play Rugby and it became very popular. In 1971 they made up a team and chartered a plane to take the team and their supporters to Santiago in Chile to play a match and they enjoyed it so much they decided to do it again in 1972. The ...more
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British novelist and non-fiction writer. Educated at the Benedictines' Ampleforth College, and subsequently entered St John's College, University of Cambridge where he received his BA and MA (history). Artist-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in Berlin (1963-4), Harkness Fellow, Commonwealth Fund, New York (1967-8), member of the Council of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (1971-5), member of ...more
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