- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (July 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393240029
- ISBN-13: 978-0393240023
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 243 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #636,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival 1st Edition
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2014: Twenty five years ago this month, a United Airlines flight from Denver to Chicago burst into a fireball and crashed in a cornfield outside of Sioux City, Iowa. It was one of the worst plane disasters in history--but it could have been worse. Of the 296 people on board, 184 survived. In his very long and gripping Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival, journalist Laurence Gonzales takes us through the moments before and after the crash (as best remembered by those survivors and observers on the ground). He also goes back through records, scientific documents, and his own experience as a pilot and aviation reporter to piece together what went wrong with the jetliner that was as majestic (and, ultimately, doomed) as the Titanic. (The last third of the narrative delves into the tiny, microscopic flaw that likely brought the plane down.) As you might expect, there was plenty of terror on Flight 232, but what is surprising is how much inspiring behavior Gonzales discovered there as well--flight attendants who truly did put the passengers’ needs first, crew members whose quick thinking probably made the crash less devastating than it would have been, not to mention the plain dumb luck in evidence, as well--at least one woman moved out of first class at the last minute. Her original seat was eviscerated; she survived. This is a hard book to read because it addresses some of our worst fears and some we’d never even thought of (apparently, the blue water in the toilets on planes can leak out, freeze and get stuck, as ice, to the outside of the plane). But it is also a story of survival, a tale of science, of heroism and of faith. --Sara Nelson
Gonzales (Surviving Survival, 2012) revisits the crash of United Flight 232 in this gripping narrative that includes numerous survivor accounts as well as insight from those in the Sioux City control tower, rescue personnel, and specialists who worked for months to determine the cause. In particular, the survivor stories recounted here in painstaking detail remain no less riveting now than when they were reported 25 years ago. Through numerous interviews and research, Gonzales places readers as close to the accident as possible, from the cockpit to the main cabin, revealing the catastrophic failure of the single part that destroyed not only one of the three engines but, more critically, the entire hydraulic system. There are heroes aplenty, from those who did their jobs beyond all measure to the many who lent a lifesaving hand at risk of their own survival. Emotion rather than thoughtful post-crash analysis carries the book, but Gonzales does make clear how the lack of seat requirements for infants and children, which remains the same today, cost lives. A powerful, unforgettable look at a devastating accident. --Colleen Mondor
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The research that went into this book is truly astounding. While I am not so deeply interested in the details of science behind the crash, I can imagine that this is very valuable info for some readers. Some of it was above my head, so I skipped through a bit.
While some readers were put off by the unconventional way of storytelling I didn't see anything wrong with it. Not everything needs to be told in chronological order. I was glad to sometimes be told, this passenger would go on to get married, or that passenger would die protecting a child. I welcomed the switch from people stories to science and back again. It gave me a break from the profound emotional involvement and often intense heartache that was at the center of the story.
The various stories were told so well I felt I was there.
It's not for the squeamish or faint of heart. It's very graphic. It's like being in a crash- but you're not traumatized. You're just very glad you or your loved ones weren't on that plane or part of the clean up crew.
I learned a lot, thank you, Mr Gonzales!
Most recent customer reviews
of what caused the United crash in Sioux City, Iowa.
A great read.