Survival stories

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Calamity came to Earth ten years ago in the book Steelheart, by Brian Sanderson. David was eight years old when the entire planet was changed by Calamity and the Epics were created. The Epics were ordinary folks who gained superpowers and were transformed into super villains.

Titanic Survivor: The Newly-discovered Memoirs of Violet Jessop Who Survived both the Titanic and Britannic Disasters

By Violet Jessop

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"I do not welcome ever more books on the Titanic, but the memoirs of a stewardess on board about that ship & the era, about her life & work... make a human story & historical vignette that needs no Titanic hype. But if that makes more people read it, so much the better, for through her own accomplished writing & Maxtone-Graham's perceptive annotations, one grows to love Violet Jessop." Lloyds List
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Lost Voices from the Titanic: The Definitive Oral History

By Nick Barratt

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"On April 15, 1912, the HMS Titanic sank, killing 1,517 people and leaving the rest clinging to debris in the frozen waters of the North Atlantic awaiting rescue. Here, historian Nick Barratt provides the definitive narrative of the disaster in the words of those who were involved--including the designers and naval architects at the White Star Line; first-class aristocratic passengers and the families in third class and steerage, many of whom were simply seeking a better life in America; and the boards of inquiry, whose task it was to help change maritime law to ensure that such an event never took place again. Combining tales of incredible folly and unimaginable courage, Barratt has gathered the aspirations of the owners, the efforts of the crew, and of course, the eyewitness accounts from those lucky enough to survive, transporting the reader back to those heartbreaking moments on that fateful Sunday night."
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Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived

By Andrew Wilson

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"In the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, the icy waters of the North Atlantic reverberated with the desperate screams of more than 1,500 men, women, and children--passengers of the once majestic liner Titanic . Then, as the ship sank to the ocean floor and the passengers slowly died from hypothermia, an even more awful silence settled over the sea. The sights and sounds of that night would haunt each of the vessel's 705 survivors for the rest of their days. Although we think we know the story of Titanic --the famously luxurious and supposedly unsinkable ship that struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Britain to America--very little has been written about what happened to the survivors after the tragedy. How did they cope in the aftermath of this horrific event? How did they come to remember that night, a disaster that has been likened to the destruction of a small town? Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished letters, memoirs, and diaries as well as interviews with survivors' family members, award-winning journalist and author Andrew Wilson reveals how some used their experience to propel themselves on to fame, while others were so racked with guilt they spent the rest of their lives under the Titanic's shadow. Some reputations were destroyed, and some survivors were so psychologically damaged that they took their own lives in the years that followed. Andrew Wilson brings to life the colorful voices of many of those who lived to tell the tale, from famous survivors like Madeleine Astor (who became a bride, a widow, an heiress, and a mother all within a year), Lady Duff Gordon, and White Star Line chairman J. Bruce Ismay, to lesser known second- and third-class passengers such as the Navratil brothers--who were traveling under assumed names because they were being abducted by their father."

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Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

By Liz Murray

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"...the stunning memoir of a young woman who at age fifteen was living on the streets, and who eventually made it into Harvard. Liz Murray was born to loving but drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. In school she was taunted for her dirty clothing and lice-infested hair, eventually skipping so many classes that she was put into a girls' home. At age fifteen, Liz found herself on the streets when her family finally unraveled. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep. When Liz's mother died of AIDS, she decided to take control of her own destiny and go back to high school, often completing her assignments in the hallways and subway stations where she slept. Liz squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless; won a New York Times scholarship; and made it into the Ivy League."

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Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

By Ingrid Betancourt

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"Ingrid Betancourt tells the story of her captivity in the Colombian jungle, sharing powerful teachings of resilience, resistance, and faith. Born in Bogota, raised in France, Ingrid Betancourt at the age of thirty-two gave up a life of comfort and safety to return to Colombia to become a political leader in a country that was being slowly destroyed by terrorism, violence, fear, and a pervasive sense of hopelessness.

"In 2002, while campaigning as a candidate in the Colombian presidential elections, she was abducted by the FARC. Nothing could have prepared her for what came next. She would spend the next six and a half years in the depths of the jungle as a prisoner of the FARC. Even Silence Has an End is her deeply personal and moving account of that time. Chained day and night for much of her captivity, she never stopped dreaming of escape and, in fact, succeeded in getting away several times, always to be recaptured.

"In her most successful effort she and a fellow captive survived a week away, but were caught when her companion became desperately ill; she learned later that they had been mere miles from freedom. The facts of her story are astounding, but it is Betancourt's indomitable spirit that drives this very special account, bringing life, nuance, and profundity to the narrative. Attending as intimately to the landscape of her mind as she does to the events of her capture and captivity, Even Silence Has an End is a meditation on the very stuff of life-fear and freedom, hope and what inspires it."

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

In Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, we are introduced to a young, wild Louie Zamperini, who stole anything that wasn’t nailed down (especially food) and loved to play practical jokes that had a way of spinning out of control. There didn’t seem to be anyone or anything in his small California town that could rein him in. Based on Zamperini’s many encounters with local police officers, it appeared that he was headed for a life of lawlessness…until he discovered the joy of running.

Zamperini's older brother first recognized his talent and convinced him to start training as a runner in high school. Race after race Zamperini blew away the competition, breaking records and setting new ones right and left. Eventually, he ended up going to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin where he performed well and even shook hands with Hitler. He had his sights set on a gold medal at the 1940 Olympics when something occurred that changed the course of his life forever: World War II.