Tag Archives: survival story

Where the Wind Leads by Vinh Chung

This book is an eye-opening account of the life of a refugee family fleeing from Vietnam in the late 70’s. Extremely detailed, Chung gives an account that stretches for the first section back to his grandparents and all they went through to establish a successful business and then the devastation that the invasion of the communists did to their family.

The second part o0849947561.jpgf this story takes place duringthe escape from Vietnam and all the perils involved. Its mind boggling to read how this family survived through absolutely horrendous circumstances – dozens of times they should have died except for the providence of God.

Finally, the last section of this book tells us how the family survived in America with no money, no language, and no credentials for work. It is here that the details of their interaction with others in America and their adjustment to life here is most revealing.

I have to say that this autobiography has had a major impact on how I view refugees and helped me to realize how important it is for us to lift them up in respect, dignity, and honor. Jesus would first and foremost would have made it a priority to care for people like refugees. We take so much for granted and so easily look down on those who don’t speak English, look different than us, dress strangely and are dirt poor. We simply don’t understand them. Read this book and you will see yourself in their shoes.

This book has been reviewed as a part of the Booklook Blogger review program. Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers who provided a copy for review. I was not required to write a positive review.

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Filed under Biography, Christian non-fiction

The Martian by Andy Weir

An AMAZING BOOK! This is a very realistic novel about a NASA mission to Mars that goes wrong and leaves an astronaut stranded on the planet. The whole book becomes a Mars survival story which adds a lot of dimensions to a typical survival book because it’s a different planet with no people or life whatsoever.91c4ZDFCn1L._SL1500_

There are a lot of technical explanations and engineering that at times are hard to completely understand but for the most part, I was able to follow. Weir presents dozens of “impossible” situations which seem to point to the certain death of Mark Watney, but every time he amazes and cleverly solves each problem. Problem solving is at the heart of this story.

Be warned that there is quite a bit of profanity throughout the book – in fact the very first sentence kicked it off. If that offends you, don’t read this novel.

Weir keeps us in suspense throughout – at no point does it get slow or boring. There is a great balance between Mark Watney, earth, and the crew. If I had time, I would have read the book in almost one sitting. It’s one of those stories where you just HAVE to know what’s going to happen and how he is going to survive this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this fair and unbiased review.

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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

On a whim I picked this up off the stand at our local library. It looked interesting to me since I love survival stories. Well, I certainly wasn’t disappointed with this one. But it’s not just a survival story – it’s the epic story of Louis Zamperini. He rises from being a delinquent to competing in the Berlin Olympics. That story alone was worthy of a book.

Then, joining the military in WW2 he survives a crash into the Pacific, a record long survival on an inflatable raft. And by then I thought it would all be downhill from there when he got picked up. But Zamperini was imprisoned as a POW and transferred from one tortuous camp to the next. At times it was just unbearable to read as he and others experience diabolical tortures that could only come from the pit of Hell.

Finally, the war is over, and Louis has survived. And just when you think it’s all roses Zamperini goes straight down into alcohol, depression, despair. The tortures continue every night for years in his dreams. And then the greatest triumph of this story comes in the last part of the book – he attends a Billy Graham Crusade in southern California and gives his life to Christ. He forgives his tormentors and is freed forever from his past. He is able to return to Japan, forgive the very men who tortured him and live a totally free man. What a victory!

I was really amazed by this story simply because I hadn’t heard of this war hero (do I lead a sheltered life?). I had no idea how it would turn out. I didn’t expect a conversion to Christ, that’s for sure. And so to see this man forgive so much reminds me of Jesus forgiving those who crucified him. This story is ultimately not about survival, or about justice, but about forgiveness.

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