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Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Haiti's Hotel Montana Hardcover – December 25, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Powerful, personal, and faith-enhancing." --Bear Grylls, survival expert and host of Man vs. Wild

"Truly amazing story."
--Anderson Cooper, host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360

"Dan's story is compelling. It nearly takes my breath away. There really are so many facets to it, not just what happened in Haiti."
--Jim Daly, President and CEO of Focus on the Family and co-host of the daily Focus on the Family broadcast

"They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and this is more exciting than a Hollywood drama. I think the Woolley's story gives us all a gift."
--Dr. Juli Slattery, psychologist and co-host of the daily Focus on the Family broadcast

"Thrilling and inspiring."
--Billy Heller, "Required Reading," The New York Post

"I predict anyone who begins reading will choose to be trapped to the end. Fascinating and inspiring."
--Kay Campbell, The Huntsville Times

From the Back Cover

In a story of survival, Dan Woolley--who spent 65 hrs trapped beneath the rubble of Haiti's Hotel Montana--recounts his experience living through the 7.0 Haiti earthquake in Unshaken: Rising from the rubble of Haiti's Hotel Montana (Zondervan).
After a last-minute hotel switch, no one, not even Dan's wife, knew where he was staying while in Haiti. Trapped in total darkness for nearly three days, with a broken foot, his leg ripped open and a head injury, Dan battled despair, dehydration, anger with God and doubt over whether he would live to see his wife and two young sons again.

Woolley had allowed his faith and marriage to weaken in the busyness of life. Now, his entrapment forced him to think about what really mattered as he struggled to hold on to hope and stay alive until he could be rescued.

Unshaken includes color photos Woolley took under the rubble, the good-bye notes he wrote to his family in case he was never rescued, and heartrending reflections from Woolley's wife as she waited for news as to whether her husband was alive. You will be captivated by Woolley's themes of spiritual and marital renewal, the ways in which his faith sustained him in the life-and-death situation, and his insights into poverty through his work with Compassion International, the world's largest Christian child development organization.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 1st edition (September 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310330971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310330974
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,571,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Just over a year ago Dan Woolley and David Hames headed to Haiti. Their goal was to shoot video and photographic footage to highlight the work that Compassion International does in Haiti. Both men were passionate about that work. What started out as a beautiful, productive day ended in unspeakable tragedy.

At 4:53pm a 7.0 earthquake shook Haiti. Dan and David had just arrived back at the Hotel Montana where they were staying. The six story structure took just seconds to collapse and bury the two deep in the rubble.
Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Haiti's Hotel Montana is Dan's story. It is an open and emotional account of the hours that Dan spent buried.

Dan lived through the quake and was able to find a safe place in the rubble to wait for rescue. There in the bowels of a hellish situation he struggled with thoughts of his own death and what had happened to David. He worried about what would happen to his wife and two young boys if he wasn't rescued in time. And in pitch black he met the God he had worshiped for years, but had grown lukewarm in the last few years.

In the darkness he heard other survivors near him and together they encouraged each other through the direst of circumstances. A young Haitian man in an elevator shaft next to Dan was one of those survivors. Through their hours in captivity Dan led this young man to a saving relationship with Christ.

When he was rescued 65 hours later he had a head wound, a broken leg, and was dehydrated. But he was also a new man in his faith, having experienced God in a profound way. He emerged from the rubble with a renewed zest for life and for his faith.

This book is more than Dan's story. It is also his wife Christina's story.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This story not only takes you to the depth of the struggle to stay alive in Haiti but also inspires you to consider your own fragile life and what is most important. I felt like I was in the rubble with him, cheering him on to stay alive and fight. His victory is my my inspiration to live each day to the fullest.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most inspiring, edge-of-your-seat nonfiction books I've read in years. Dan Woolley survived 65 hours trapped in darkness under 6 stories of collapsed rubble following last January's earthquake in Haiti. The book is not only about Dan's near-death ordeal following the earthquake, but also the journey he and his wife Christy have taken in their marriage to overcome the darkness of depression. The parallels between the darkness of clinical depression and the darkness of Dan's entrapment are striking, and the context of Dan and Christy's past experiences gives much greater insight into what they were both going through those three days following the Haiti earthquake. The common denominator, beyond a doubt, is their hope and trust in God. I appreciate that Dan doesn't steer away from the hard questions regarding why he survived when so many others didn't - nor does he claim to have the answers. A must read, for sure.
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Format: Hardcover
Dan's story of survival is amazing. For me, as a husband and father, it was also deeply personal.

Unshaken weaves Dan and Christy's personal story with his time buried under the Hotel Montana, and in so doing, it speaks to what was on his mind, not just about the earthquake. Dan wanted to be rescued -- for his family. He was concerned for his wife and how she would cope; giving her the best advice he could in his journal. Dan was being a loving husband. He was thinking about his children and how they would grow up without him around, concerned that they would blame God and possibly turn from Him. Dan was being a great dad.

When I read a story like Unshaken, where the author opens his heart, it's a special thing because it lets me identify with the emotions of the moment. As a husband and father myself, I am gripped by the same fears for my family as Dan and Christy's story is told.

Unshaken's impact on me continues to this day, long after the last page was turned. I got a glimpse of what it might have been like for Dan to be reunited with his family, knowing that they would not have to live life without him. Every day God gives me with my family should be lived with that same gratitude and sense of wonder. We are blessed. I am blessed.

My wife and kids were asleep when I finished Unshaken. That didn't stop me from giving each one of them a hug and kiss. I need to cherish each moment with them and not take the time that God has given us together for granted. We can never know what tomorrow will bring.

P.S. A father's love for his family is great. How much greater is God's love for us, and how much sweeter will our reunion be with Him?
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Format: Hardcover
Unshaken is a fast-paced narrative divided into thirty-one short chapters which cover Woolley's experience from the morning of the day the earthquake struck to his reunion with his wife in a Miami hospital three days later. The story is told primarily from Dan's perspective, with a couple of chapters and sections towards the end of the book written by his wife, Christy. Interspersed throughout the narrative are chapters in which Woolley recounts the early years of his marriage which were shrouded in the darkness of Christy's at-times suicidal depression.

Though I would expect a detailed report of three days spent in an elevator to become tedious (life-threatening injuries or not), I found myself being swept along in the current of the story at a breakneck speed. In fact it only took me two days to read the whole book, which is extremely fast for me, a slow-paced reader by preference. I think that the short chapters helped to keep the flow of the story moving quickly. As a fellow viewer of educational survival shows, I also appreciated Woolley's reference to Bear Grylls, whose program Man vs. Wild inspired him to utilize survival methods he may not have otherwise known about.

My favorite chapters were those in which Woolley recounts Christy's years of debilitating depression. I was impressed with her tenacity and ability to weather the long years of emotional and spiritual darkness. Whether intended or not, I think Christy's story will serve to educate Christians on the severity of depression as a physical disease and promote a more compassionate response to it in the church community where too often legitimate chemical imbalances are misinterpreted as laziness or an excuse to escape responsibility.
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