Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors” as Want to Read:
Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  65,383 ratings  ·  1,338 reviews
On October 12, 1972, a plane carrying a team of young rugby players crashed into the remote, snow-peaked Andes. Out of the forty-five original passengers and crew, only sixteen made it off the mountain alive. For ten excruciating weeks they suffered deprivations beyond imagining, confronting nature head-on at its most furious and inhospitable. And to survive, they were for ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published December 3rd 1975 by Avon (first published 1974)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Alive, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Antonio Santoyo This the original book that announced to the world the tragedy of the Andes survivors in all detail, whereas the Parrado book is just his memoir of th…moreThis the original book that announced to the world the tragedy of the Andes survivors in all detail, whereas the Parrado book is just his memoir of the event written many years afterwards. For me, is one of the best book I ever read, and I've read it many times over, both in Spanish and English. In fact, I'm thinking of buying the kindle version and read it one more time. (less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
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 s…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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  65,383 ratings  ·  1,338 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors
Julio Genao
Jul 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-bio
"[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
Sep 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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?

Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-to-screen
I was a little obsessed with the movie Survive!, the first version of this story when I was a young girl while my younger brother was appalled. I’ve also seen documentaries and the newer version of the movie Alive in the 90s. Now, finally I've read the book! I'm glad I did! What a shocking story of survival, courage, endurance, and spirituality. This book is tragic but uplifting in many ways as ".... the ordeal in the mountain had changed their attitude towards life...left only with what they tr ...more
No rating. I just couldn't..I did try though.

If I could speak to the book, I would say "It's not you, it's me".

Some things are to dark for even me.

Crescent Moon
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is not a story. This is an account, a confession, a testimony but this is a not a story.

After finishing reading the last page this morning, I've given this book a great deal of thought and, personal feelings aside, when asked to rate someone's REAL struggles in life I can't rate it anything less than the highest mark. These people went though horrors, not all of them survived. This REALLY HAPPENED and it promises you an unadulterated and very personal view of survival with all of its ugly i
Jul 08, 2015 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)
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
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 to the k
Walter Mendoza
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Is a 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.
Jan 05, 2010 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
Katherine Addison
Famous story of the Uruguayan rugby team that survived ten weeks in the Andes, largely because they ate the dead passengers.

This is not a subtle book, nor does it bother with nuance. It's a fast, vivid, and compelling read. It shows its age mostly in its sexism. Women are nurturing and irrational and must be humored and coddled; men are brave and active, and when they're irrational, they know better; probably it's part of this same gender definition that Read always refers to the survivors as "b
B Schrodinger
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, non-fiction
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
Update 2/11/2020: Sergio Catalán died today. He was the Chilean muleteer who rode his horse for 120 km to assist Fernando Parrado and Roberto Canessa after they walked 10 days through the mountains seeking for help. For us Uruguayans he will always be a national hero. RIP.

"The simplest person can be the most extraordinary if he does the right things for the right reasons." Gustavo Servino, survivor or the Andes plane crash.


Actualización: 11/2/2020: Hoy falleció Sergio Catalán. Él fue
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Margaret Crampton
This is a brilliant book telling the very human story of a Uruguay rugby team whose plane was wrecked in the freezing desolate high Andes mountains where they were stranded from October to the end of December in 1973. It tells of their survival against all odds. A story of camaraderie, resilience, and expedience. For the survivors, without any prospects of food, their only hope was the horror of eating the frozen remains of their dead teammates or they would all die. The parents never gave up an ...more
Jen from Quebec :0)
I had to sneak this from the school library as a young teen and read it since my parents wouldn't allow me to watch the film- until they caught me with this (good) book and finally relented...the film was actually MORE disturbing than the book, IMO. (Also, as a side note-- I forgot that it stars Ethan Hawke!)--Jen from Quebec :0)
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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"
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book which describes the struggle to survive after a crash in the Andes, and some of the terrible decisions that the survivors had to make.
They are not saints and at times some appear selfish, arrogant or lazy but as a group they pulled together. Hard book to put down.
Corinne Edwards
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
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 05, 2019 added it
Shelves: misc
Survivors of a plane crash have to do anything to live,including eating human flesh !
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
I know, I know. Am I on a cannibal kick or something? I just finished this book on the Donner Party a few weeks ago, now I’m reading Alive AND Miracle in the Andes? (I’ll also throw in Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, though I read that a few years back).

...I’m sorry, what can I say? I’m hungry, okay? In the coronavirus chaos, it’s a dog eat dog world.

I’ll start off by saying that this is rather more satisfying a read than the Donner Party book, the Indifferent Stars Above—not because
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting, sad, and captivating. I had to read this for class in my senior year of high school. I have always been interested in books like these, of pure survival at all costs and the souls desperate scrabble to live. These men did what it took, and while it wrenched my stomach, as did many others, I understand why.
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Alive Book Review 1 23 Mar 12, 2014 04:49PM  
7DRAKE: Alive Review 1 3 Mar 12, 2014 12:44PM  
40 years 12 83 Jul 28, 2013 02:08PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
  • Miracle in the Andes
  • Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival
  • Into the Wild
  • Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea
  • Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster
  • The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
  • The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest
  • Endurance
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
  • K2, The Savage Mountain: The Classic True Story of Disaster and Survival on the World's Second Highest Mountain
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place
  • Annapurna
  • Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains
  • K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
  • No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
49 likes · 11 comments
“Oh, God," he prayed once again, "by all means test us to the limit of our endurance, but please make it humanly possible to go on. Please let there be some sort of path".” 8 likes
“There was one question, however, which Inciarte had asked him and he could not answer. Why was it that he had lived while others had died? What purpose had God in making this selection? What sense could be made out of it? ‘None,’ replied Father Andrés. ‘There are times when the will of God cannot be understood by our human intelligence. There are things which in all humility we must accept as a mystery.” 5 likes
More quotes…