I'm tackling a non-fiction book to start the year and it's a pretty good one. Frozen In Time is the story of a B-17 that went down in Greenland in World War II, attempting to rescue another plane (CB-3) that crashed earlier. There are failed rescue attempts to get the B-17 crew, by motorsled, by ships, by more planes.
It's actually two stories in one. It tells of the many attempts to save the crewmen who survived the second crash, all 9 as a matter of fact, and the modern story of a mission to retrieve the bodies of another recuse plane ( a Duck) that was swallowed by the glacier for over 60 years. To put it simply, a plane goes down, a rescuer plane to get the first plane crashes, and another plane to rescue them goes down. Not to mention the other calamities.
The writing is easy yet detailed without reading like a textbook. The series of miscues, dumb bad luck, weather, and the human stories of the men who find themselves trapped on ice for weeks is captivating. We all remember the school geography lesson: Iceland is green and Greenland is ice, but Greenland is more than that. 90% of it is a living, breathing, calving, crevasse-filled glacier. Imagine the daunting task of finding the place and bodies after 60 years of it heaving and falling deeper into permafrost. How do you find something that may have been hiccuped into the surrounding seas, or if it is still encased in ice may be 30 feet below?
For the most part I am surrounded daily by tropical breezes and warm salt air. I am no fan of Florida weather, but I must admit I got chilled just thinking about the cold these guys had to endure. They weren't expecting to be out there for months; their mission was to fly in a heated plane looking for another lost plane, and then return back to base in a couple hours. They had no provisions, blankets, food, stoves or anything else that would help them survive the 30 or 40 degrees below zero weather.
Pilots refer to flying up there as "flying in milk." You instantly lose orientation (like John F Kennedy, Jr.) and cannot differentiate between ground and sky. Blizzard conditions are constant except for maybe a day or two in-between onslaughts. If you want a great read, grab the Kindle and make a fire in the fireplace, and read Frozen In Time.
I've got another 50 pages to go so I am on the edge of my naartok with anticipation.