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Survive!: My Fight for Life in the High Sierras
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Survive!: My Fight for Life in the High Sierras

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  204 ratings  ·  37 reviews
When Peter DeLeo set out one Sunday morning on a sightseeing and photography trip over the central Sierra Nevada mountains in California, he had no idea that he would soon be fighting for his life with the odds stacked very much against him. DeLeo's single-engine plane encountered turbulence, and he and his two passengers crashed in the mountains. All three survived the ac ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by Simon & Schuster
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Normally it would take me a day, maybe two, to read a book of this size. This took me about a week. It was a struggle. From the start it seemed to be one of "those stories", the kind you overhear from the loud talker at the next table at dinner about how wonderful he is. It made no sense. Why would someone with a broken ankle, broken ribs, a displaced shoulder, who is spitting up and urinating blood be the one to trek out of the mountains when another crash victim had no injuries? How does one l ...more
Mike Charves
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
I happened across this book when I was hunting for stories of real-life survival situations several years ago. As this story occurred in the same areas I used to hike and camp near in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of S. California, it immediately grabbed my attention. I bought a hardcover copy of the book and was reading it a few days later.

Initially, the story gripped me. The author, Peter DeLeo, was flying his bush plane, a Maule M7, over the Sierra Nevadas near Kern Peak when the aircraft struc
Aug 05, 2014 rated it liked it
For those of us who can't imagine spending even two hours outside in sub-zero weather without the maximum protection (down coat, boots, scarf, hat, etc.), it's difficult to understand how Peter DeLeo survived for 13 days, freezing, starving, injured and alone, after a horrific airplane crash in the Sierra Nevada range. This is a remarkable story of perseverance and the strength of human will. Although things didn't turn out exactly as Peter hoped they would (I will not provide a spoiler here, le ...more
Aug 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel-adventure
Tale of a sole survivor of a small plane crash and 13 days of hiking back to civilization. But you begin to wonder, particularly about the initial crash and why Peter, who was suffering broken bones hiked away with no survival supplies.. like a COMPASS... while Wave, who only had a scratch, stays behind and ultimately succumbs to hypothermia. Amazing recount of 13 arduous days but questions multiply....
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is hard to believe this harrowing tale of survival is true, but the details of his journey through the Sierra Nevada and the tenacity of the author convinced me. His ordeal is remarkable, but DeLeo's ingenuity, bravery and zest for life give this book even more color. ...more
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great survival book. But I still want to know why he didn't send his friend for help since he had two working legs. ...more
Leo Goossen
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book was very enjoyable. I liked how adventurous and action packed the book was. The adventure of Peter Deleo and his journey through the sierras was very thrilling and was a very detailed experience. I loved how he persisted through all the pain and suffering and pushed himself to survive. I did not find anything in the book that I disliked. I love stories like these, full of adventure and always on edge reading, so I really enjoyed the book. Parts that resonated with me was when Peter Dele ...more
Nikolas Toner
Sep 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story! I feel like we all know someone like Peter, it never occurs to him to ask for help or rely on anyone but himself and he's pleasantly surprised when he learns that others care for him and want him to be safe.
While I at times was frustrated by the slow progress he made, the reality is I would have died in his situation. He moved at that pace because it was what survival called for.
It got spiritual in a natural way, when he encountered the spiritual wonders of the wor
An excellent read.
The writing style took a little getting used to.
I'm not sure how to phrase this last part. I have read medical books that use the word 'rectum' less frequently than this title. I really don't know how I feel about that.
Huguette Larochelle
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The suspense was amazing .
Peter reveals the physical and emotional pain of survival.
that will keep you riveted until the very end.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. True story. My boyfriend knows the Survivor. Amazing what he endured.
Marilyn MacGown
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great story! I love the way it moved and the detail and descriptions of the terrain. Sad to know that his friends didn't make it, but it shows a true determined spirit to rescue his friends. ...more
Andrea Gebler
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! This man’s determination and will to survive had me on the edge of my seat. Finished this book in 3 sittings.
Mike Raeder
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
When a plane trip that was planned for sightseeing and photography turned to the worst, the plane engine failed to climb and avoid a mountain side in the high sierra mountain range of California. The crash left Peter and his two friends injured with many broken bones. Peter himself broke some of his ribs, an ankle, and his shoulder. After taking in the gravity of the situation, Peter decided that the best thing for the group would be him attempting to find help. It took him thirteen days to fina ...more
Logan Andrew
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Logan Andrew
Ms. St. Clair
English 10
November 14, 2016
My reading experience during this book quite interesting. I liked reading about how he survived with such little supplies and gear and how he persevered through tough times. "The torturous pain causes me to shudder when breathing. Again, I break the silence with a groan of agony. My mind makes another attempt to power up, and my right eye opens slowly......My spinal cord is intact so I know that I'm not paralyzed."(Deleo 23). When I re
Denyse Cox
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have been a Search and Rescue volunteer for 10+ years and survival stories fascinate me. This is by far the most incredible story I've ever heard, seen, or read.
" This we do, that others may live" , the Search and Rescue motto, I will never hear it again without thinking of this story. Not only is this heroic tale the reason we do what we do, it is also why he did what he did, driven by the determination that the others he had in the plane with him, may live.
I have read 100s of books, b
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Very gripping book that I read in a less than 24 hour period, unexpectedly. That included dreaming about the book overnight...

Strangely enough, the author never describes hunger. All of his other pains -- busted shoulder, frostbite, extreme fatigue, constantly being far from the right body temperature -- get at least a mention, if not repeated descriptions. But the closest he comes to mentioning being hungry is noting how his body is slowly metabolizing all its muscle.

Mental toughness!
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Peter DeLeo writes about his experience of surviving in the Sierra Nevada mountains after his plane crashed. While the story itself is interesting, I felt his writing style lacked emotion. Rather than just list the events that happened, he should have written more about what he was feeling at the time. Had he spent more time including this, I think it would have made the book more personal and a better read.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Peter DeLeo's account of his harrowing 13-day survival trek through the Sierra Nevada mountains following a plane crash. Fighting insurmountable odds, with multiple broken bones and lacerations, his determination to get help for his 2 friends at the crash site is why he battles the sub zero temperatures, his excruciating pain, and the daunting terrain. An inspiring and amazing feat about the strength of the human spirit. ...more
Devonne West
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
How many people could survive just 5 days in the wilderness with food, water and optimal weather conditions? In November 1994, with 16 broken bones (including ribs and an ankle), an emaciated Peter DeLeo emerges from the Sierra Nevadas with resolute determination to get help for his injured friends where his plane when down 13 days earlier. This is an amazing story of what the human body and spirit can endure!
Randy Rose
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm biased because I've known Pete my whole life, but this is the incredible story of an amazing survivalist by need. And believe me, this is only one story that Pete has of beating the odds. The guy is a human Wolverine. ...more
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story! Some of the unprovable events seem like they could be fake, but even with all the proven facts it's an amazing story. At no time during this read did I ever feel like putting this book down. ...more
While there's been some shadows cast on the veracity of DeLeo's version of events, it's still a great story and the closing sequence as he makes his way back to the civilized world is a corker. ...more
Wisteria Leigh
aircraft accidents,crash/accident survival,Sierra Nevadas,non-fiction,autobiography,signed copy,
Marvelle Morgan
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very interesting although not superbly written.
Pat Wagner
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great read. I love this genre. Shows us what the human spirit can endure with the right frame of mind.
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
The human body si amazing! How he survived 13 days of being in the Sierra Nevada in winter is just inspiring!
Heather B Blair
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I am always amazed and awed at what people do to survive. I would not have the skills or the stamina to go through what he did. An amazing story!
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book about determination, courage, and perserverance! It is truly inspiring!!!
Tom Lawson
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Gripping account of a two week effort to hike out of the Sierras after a plane crash!!
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