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Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  71,698 ratings  ·  1,679 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, First Avon Books Printing, 318 pages
Published December 3rd 1975 by Avon (first published 1974)
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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)
Leslie No, I would not say it is a very religious book. However, it is a book whose central characters are religious, some of them more deeply than others. I…moreNo, I would not say it is a very religious book. However, it is a book whose central characters are religious, some of them more deeply than others. It would be impossible to accurately relay this story of survival without acknowledging where faith played into the experiences of both the plane’s passengers and their families at home when they went missing. (less)

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Federico DN
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Miracle in the Andes.

In 1972, a plane full of rugby players and their families crashed in The Andes Mountains. The story is well known. Scarcely with any food or water, suffering sub-zero temperatures, only sixteen of forty-five made it out alive. After nearly three months struggling to survive, injured, famished, freezing, against all possible odds a couple of them finally managed to climb across The Andes without any mountain gear and reach a nearby town to call for help. Their survival was
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
Bren fall in love with the sea.
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.

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?

Oct 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is the greatest survival story every told. Nothing even comes close to it. Stuck in the Andes for 10 weeks, no food, no winter gear, and no hope for rescue. What these young men did was amazing and beyond comprehension.

I've been on a sort of quest for the ultimate book. The book that will be my go to reread anytime I find myself without another book handy. The book I will recommend to anyone who asks. The book that will make me think about my life and be a better person for having red it.
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)
Melanie Bouthillette
I enjoyed it very much although real life survival stories are not my usual thing.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In 1972, a plane carrying members of the Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes Mountains. The survivors endured tremendous hardships before realizing that the search for their plane had been suspended. The amazing story that follows is truly miraculous. This unforgettable book reads like a novel, and you have to keep reminding yourself that it actually happened.
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
B Schrodinger
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, history
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
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
Mar 20, 2022 rated it liked it
Surprisingly unemotional account of the tragedy of the Uruguayan soccer team that crashed in the Andes in 1972.

The number one issue that comes to mine if you know the story is the cannibalism. The book goes into failrly graphic detail of the dynamics of what the survivors did, but it also goes into the intense discussion and self-revelation they went through in deciding to eat their friends and family as well as the fallout when they got home. Cannibalism is such a taboo subject that just writin
Pooja Peravali
Apr 29, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
A harrowing and inspiring read, though sometimes I had trouble keeping the cast straight.
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
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
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" ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a haunting and harrowing experience. It was the first account I have read about the Andes crash and I found I read through it very quickly. Amazing what humans can survive when we must.
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
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.
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) ...more
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
Holly Weston Bull
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mountaineering
I’m not sure why I love this book so dearly. I know the prose isn’t spectacular, and I know that I’m a sucker for adventure stories - but I honestly think this story has more heart than do most. I dunno; maybe I’m wrong, and maybe this book isn’t well-written, and maybe I’m just a sucker for a story so incredible it’s nigh unbelievable - but this book has always stayed with me as a helluva tale well told.
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
"Alive" is just one of those books that I think everyone should read.

It's a book that overcomes pretty mediocre writing because the story itself is incredible.
It's a story that illustrates the perseverance inherent to our shared human nature.
And it's a story of the price we might one day pay for that perseverance.

It begs the question, what would you do?
And it answers it, the unthinkable.
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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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“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".” 9 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.” 6 likes
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