Gone: Catastrophe in Paradise Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B06XPX5VFX
- Publisher : Reality Plus - A Next Chapter Imprint; 4th edition (March 16, 2017)
- Publication date : March 16, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 2423 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 116 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : B08F7ZH2GQ
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #99,691 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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There are several things that I really enjoyed about this novella. First, it is short and gets right to the heart of the issue. Many times nonfiction gets bogged down with unnecessary discussions of small details. This one sticks to the main points and keeps on going. Second, it has been well researched and presented in a way that is easy for the reader to understand, enjoy, and learn from. Third, it brings to light an accident that many in the aviation field are aware of but most average people have no knowledge of. I really like it when an author takes the time to shine a light on a small forgotten part of history and make the reader aware of its importance. Excellent read.
It is a distinct feeling of uneasiness and powerlessness that something very bad is about to happen because hints are everywhere. It has nothing to do with the book intro I read before. I can illustrate a similar feeling creeping up when I was watching the cult horror “The Ring” - I sat at the edge on my sofa in the same position until the end. I almost went through the same process when turning the pages of this fact-packed and detailed overview of what really happened on Tenerife in 1977. I am too young to remember the real event but it is not necessary because this somber depiction of human erring and individual personalities will get to any flier, meaning - to anyone.
OJ Madjeska’s writing is carried with a powerful news reporting style, but it so much more than a chronicle. The author tries to stay away from finding culprits, using the Rashomon effect to give details about the series of unfortunate mishaps that brought together the unforeseen catastrophe. Having all those ill-fated circumstances all at once, including the airport technical set up, an act of terrorism and human frailty, one could actually ask:”What can not go wrong”?
In the end, sadness grips: once the pride of aircraft industry, top pilot professionals and over 500 travelers looking for the holiday of the lifetime disappear into ashes. A precious gain from such a tragedy would be, as expected, improved airline safety. And still, the author states, even 40 years later, the heterodyne effect complicates airline communication.
Airlines, get to that da*n heterodyne! It seems there is a simple solution to it!
I was intrigued by the "teaser" (and also the title) for this book: "One fine afternoon on a sun drenched island hundreds of lives are destroyed...a true story." I wondered: tsunami? terror attack? a case of mass, very serious failure of sunscreen resulting in the death of hundreds of beachgoers?
As it turned out, after a few pages I realized I was familiar with the topic: teen memories of my parents/maternal aunt talking about it at the time, plus images of TV news that evening and the following days; and even a somewhat recent "air disaster" type program I watched on Netflix. The book concerns the "Tenerife airport disaster," still ranked as the deadliest accident in aviation history (I promise, no spoilers beyond this, and in fact the writer spells out the subject matter in the prologue).
I happen to be one generation removed from Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands: my maternal grandmother was born/partly raised there (along about 1900, later she immigrated to Cuba, where I was born).
Despite my familiarity with the subject, I found this book quite well executes a challenging dilemma: when the reader knows the end-result (for example, the JFK assassination or the sinking of the Titanic), how does the writer create a captivating, even suspenseful narrative?
True, in this case most readers may not know the end-result, but again, the writer mentions it early on. Modjeska takes the same tack as Alfred Hitchcock famously stated as the recipe for suspense: scenario 1: diners at a table, one steps away, then suddenly a bomb explodes, all are dead save the one; or 2: first, we are shown a bomb under the table, with a clock on it ticking towards zero...then, the camera rises to diners at a table, one steps away, the camera returns under, shows us the ticking bomb again, now the timer nearer to zero, the camera rises to the diners again, the laughter, the camaraderie, etc., then suddenly the bomb explodes, all are dead save the one (suspect? lucky?), and we find we have been tightly holding onto our seat, our lover's hand, or our TV remote as the suspense built...suddenly released (fyi, this is all from memory, but accurate, save perhaps for the one diner walking away (?).
Hitchcock termed the first scenario as nothing but shock and gore (as most horror/suspense movies are nowadays, so-called "slasher films")...the second scenario as the heart of suspense.
This writer, who I am not directly comparing to Hitchcock (after all this story is non-fiction/ a written narrative, not a film, etc.) nonetheless manages to engage in such suspense-building.
Modjeska also takes a tack that may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I found satisfying: a sense of "fate" closing in on the soon-to-be-victims: the nature of randomness, probability, small incidents, human fallibility all contributing to or even directly causing the tragedy about to unfold.
In addition, the author adds layers and details I was not aware of, despite my intermittent exposure over the decades to this story; for example, a bit about the much-lauded but now gone Pan American airlines' enlightened corporate culture (advanced by the standards of the 1970s; btw, is Pan Am back? I'd heard something about it being revived, I'll have to Google that).
A slim volume, for sure....a quick read....perfect for a one-sitting or two-sitting read.
I look forward to more from OJ Modjeska.
Top reviews from other countries
In describing the events leading up to the tragedy, Modjeska clearly outlines the extraordinary series of minor events, which, on their own, caused difficulty. Occurring at the same time, however, the bomb scare, the size of Los Rodeos, the language difficulties, certain personality traits, the lack of standardized terms used in transmissions, radio glitches, the regulations about the amount of time a pilot is allowed to remain in the cockpit before taking a rest, and finally the weather, all came together to produce the perfect, disastrous storm. The movements of the planes are clearly described, using diagrams; the detail is important. The author also uses transcripts of the transmission conversations to give the reader a clear understanding of the misapprehensions between pilots, co-pilots and air traffic controllers.
The description of the tragedy itself, when the two planes crashed on the runway, is harrowing indeed, and close attention is given to the question of who was to blame. Modjeska has presented the information in such a way that the reader can make up his own mind. It's so well written, with even the minute technical detail clear enough to hold the attention. At first I found myself thinking it was the fault of one person, then another, but in the end I came to the conclusion, like the author, that the cause was a coming together of many unfortunate circumstances. She talks, near the end, of a film that was made of it that portrays Pan Am as the heroes and victims, and KLM as the cause; I am glad she showed another slant to this.
It's an excellent book, and probably, I would imagine, the most comprehensive and fair account of this terrible tragedy.
Some photographs of the main 'players', the aircraft concerned and locations would have added interest to the book. Also an update on survivors lives since the crash. I would also put a picture on the front cover that in some way relates to the subject matter, rather than an idiotic generic airliner going down in flames over a seemingly tropical landscape.
Overall, I would thoroughly recommend, though for the price it is a slim book.