A WWII cargo plane goes down in Greenland in 1942 with five men on board, setting off a chain of events in which two more search planes (including the famous Duck, which can land on the water or on land) go down, motor-sleds are dispatched which also are lost, and men fall into crevasses never to be seen again. So begins Mitchell Zuckoff’s amazing Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II, a book I literally could not put down or stop talking about.
Zuckoff expertly blends the story between past and present day, where he joins (and partially funds) a maverick man on a mission to search for the Duck, which could be buried seventy feet below in the glacier. With a team of Coast Guard rescuers and scientists, Zuckoff gets a taste of what the men who were stuck on the ice for months on end had to endure.
The story mainly focuses on the second plane, which took off with nine men aboard to search for the cargo plane and crashed on the edge of a crevice. One man got thrown from the plane on impact and broke his arm, requiring a homemade splint. The men who lived through the nightmare of being trapped on the glacier had to endure hunger, cold, frostbite and gangrene. The group relies on the steady leadership of their captain, Monteverde, who stuck by his crewmen until the end.
I couldn’t help but notice the extreme differences in attitude between the WWII men and the more modern day group who are searching for the Duck. The men who were stuck on the glacier were stoic, brave and deferred to the captain always. They were respectful and trusted in themselves, God and the United States. The modern day team was filled with big personalities and arrogant tempers, people blaming others for faulty machines or some pieces of equipment that somehow arrived in Greenland that no one on the team knew how to operate or use.
Zuckoff wisely doesn’t linger on that and he delves into the mission they have: to find the Duck. The reader can’t help but root for the them, and I felt the outcome was realistic.
These type of nonfiction books are always a pleasure to read and Zuckoff was able to keep the suspense going through his detailed research and fantastic writing.
Jax is in an accountant at a hedge fund. She resides in NYC with her husband.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.