How did this man survive? Well, with the help of lots of people from Norway, but also with his own sense of himself, I think. It's a wonderful story, fairly well written, and a unique story, a unique experience.
Gripping story. Bad writing (or translation).
A good book. Easy to read but hard to put down.
This book should have been exciting but it wasn't. It was like reading a textbook.
During World War Two, the British Military, with the help of a group of Norwegian fishermen, operated a clandestine operation under the name The Shetland Bus, the purpose of which was to smuggle weapons, information, and agents into Norway. One such mission, which began in March of 1943 went deadly wrong just after the vessel, the Brattholm, was intercepted and eleven of the twelve met with almost immediate death at the hands of their German captors. The twelfth, Jan Balsrud, managed to escape. He almost didn’t.
This book, We Die Alone, is written by one of the men who was responsible for organizing and running the Bus. He has written a book that is riveting and spellbinding, to say the least. His recounting of the harrowing terrors that Jan encountered of being stranded under the snow in the Norwegian highlands; of losing his toes to frostbite and being forced to cut them off himself to save himself from from certain death; his utter dependence on the Norwegian underground for his very survival; and the dangers he and those who sheltered, fed, nurtured faced at the hands of the German occupation forces who combed the countryside searching for this last survivor, makes for gripping reading.
This book is not one that can be put down. This book is not fiction, yet the story, especially in Howarth’s capable hands, reads like the most compelling page-turning novel I’ve read. I’d be surprised to know that in the years since the book was published in 1955, that it hasn’t been adapted for the movie screen.
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