From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up. On June 2, 1995, while 29-year-old Air Force Captain Scott O'Grady flew his 47th mission over Bosnia, his F-16 fighter plane was downed by a Serbian land missile. O'Grady relates the events of his six-day, harrowing adventure after parachuting from his disabled plane. Left with minimal supplies and a radio low on battery life, Basher Five-Two (O'Grady's "call sign" for the mission) avoided enemy detection, protected himself from the elements, and subsisted on a diet of leaves, ants, and rainwater. The author effectively communicates not just the details of his miraculous survival, but also how he relied on his love of family and religious faith in dealing with his fear and despair. To create suspense, the narrative is interrupted at the point that the plane is shot down with a chapter that gives details of the soldier's childhood and military training. This break in narrative flow, however, makes it more difficult for younger readers to stay with this inspirational story. Black-and-white photos appear in a 16-page center insert. The memoir ends with a satisfying account of O'Grady's rescue and subsequent treatment as a national hero, even though he claims, "I wasn't really a hero...I was a survivor."?Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6^-10. "The Great American Celebrity Machine wanted to make me a hero. As I'd tried to explain to so many people, I wasn't really a hero, I was a survivor." O'Grady, who miraculously survived six days in enemy territory after his F-16 was shot down, returned to find a nation fascinated with his adventure. In minute detail, O'Grady, with help from French, tells his amazing story, from his parachute drop and endeavors to evade hostile Bosnian Serbs to sustaining himself by eating ants and drinking water from rain-soaked socks. Although it must have been tempting to sensationalize the fascinating events, this title is a model of restraint, and with relevant aspects of O'Grady's childhood and military training interspersed throughout the book, readers get a clear sense of O'Grady's strength of character and will to survive. A great hook for reluctant readers. Lauren Peterson