Tag Archives: survival


Litercurious Book Review

The Dive by Stephen McGinty
TitleThe Dive: The Untold Story of the World’s
Deepest Submarine Rescue
AuthorStephen McGinty
PublisherPegasus Books (June 10, 2021)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD
GenreSubmarines / Survival Biographies & Memoirs /
Maritime History & Piracy / Survival Biographies /
Traveler & Explorer Biographies
ISBN-10/131643137468 / 978-1643137469


Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.

William Whiting (1825-1878): Master of Winchester College Quiristers and author of the hymn “For Those in Peril on the Sea.” Source: https://www.classical-music.com/features/articles/eternal-father-strong-to-save-for-those-in-peril-on-the-sea-lyrics/ (July 14, 2023). What are the lyrics to ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’ (‘For those in peril on the sea’)?


Stephen McGinty is an award-winning journalist, author and producer. His documentary, based on his book Fire in the Night, won several awards. It won the Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and both BAFTA and RTS awards for the “best single documentary.” His documentary Dunblane: Our Story also won a BAFTA award.

He’s not only authored for London’s The Sunday Times, but he has also written several other books: This Turbulent Priest; Churchill’s Cigar; Fire in the Night; The Piper Alpha Disaster and Camp Z: How MI5 cracked Hitler’s Deputy. Stephen currently lives in Scotland.


The Dive recounts the little-known maritime accident that left two submariners, Roger Mallinson and Roger Chapman, in a life-or-death struggle. The Pisces III, a deep ocean 3 man submersible, rapidly sank 1600 feet to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The men were faced with only two-days of life-giving air, one sandwich and one can of orange soda for sustenance. However, it would be three long days before the rescue ships could arrive; time was not on their side, and they knew it.

With time quickly evaporating, the entire recovery mission begins to look futile after two failed attempts to secure and raise the Pisces III. With only a few hours remaining, all looks lost. The rescuers are frantic to make another attempt to raise the sub before it’s too late; but time, the tide and the elements all seem to conspire against them.

Do they recover the Pisces lll with its fragile human cargo, or will the two men be consigned forever to a watery grave?

The whole World watches, waits and prays for the rescuers, and the two trapped crewmen.


The Dive is a three-in-one book: it is a condensed history of submarine technology, a history of submarine disasters, and a chronological account of Roger Mallinson and Roger Chapman’s quest for survival. The first third of the book covers the history and associated technology of submarines. Whilst the rest of the book is devoted to the disaster aboard the Pisces III.  

Stephen McGinty provides an uncensored account, in grim and unflinching detail, of the disaster and the men’s tribulations while trapped inside the submarine. The narrative pivots around the intimate human trails of the two trapped submariners. Those experiences forged a unique and enduring life-long bond; a bond that us mere mortals can barely comprehend. The graphic descriptions leave the reader little doubt of how odorous, tense, ugly and stressful the saga was for the two submariners.

The emotional privations, along with the psychological and physical exhaustion that the two survivors suffered were particularly emotive. Their strength of character and their solidarity in adversity were eminently admirable and inspiring in the extreme. The experiences, as described, reminded me of the Apollo 13 space mission and the diverse range of challenges experienced by that crew. Both teams showed the ‘right stuff’ in aspects such as: attitude, fortitude, fraternity, and stoic acceptance in the face of their dire situations.

The narrative is well paced and concise enough to maintain the readers attention. Some technical descriptions are overly detailed, however, not reading or understanding them is unlikely to impact your appreciation or comprehension. 

Overall, the book was well rounded, compelling and educational. I, therefore, have no hesitation in recommending this fascinating manuscript to you.

Needless to say, I won’t be volunteering to deep dive anytime soon.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.



LOST AT SEA – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Lost at Sea – John Wukovits
TitleLost at Sea
AuthorJohn Wukovits
PublisherDutton Caliber (May 16, 2023)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Hardcover
Pages‎432 pages
GenreBiographies of World War II, Military & Spies Biographies, WWII Biographies


John Wukovits has a detailed biography on his website: https://johnwukovits.com/about-the-author


Lost at Sea is an epic journey of the human spirit, the will to survive and faith!

In October, 1942, eight men took off from Hawaii in a B-17D Flying Fortress bound for Canton Island; its first stop enroute to the South Pacific. The plane never arrived. Having drifted off course by hundreds of miles, the plane and crew were hopelessly lost. As with Emilia Earhart, the crew became frantic and the plane was low on gas. With no other option the pilot, Captain Cherry, was forced to ditch at sea.

It is a testament to Captain Cherry’s piloting skills, that he was capable of landing the aircraft on a rolling ocean without it coming apart and killing everyone instantly. The eight people onboard were able to escape the sinking plane and mount three life rafts. What followed was a twenty-four day struggle for survival adrift a vast ocean.

On board the aircraft was WWI most famous aviator and flying Ace Eddie Rickenbacker. He was accompanied by John Bartek, Wiliam Cherry, John De Angelis, Alexander Kaczmarczyk, James Reynolds, and James Whittaker. Unfortunately, only seven would survive the ordeal.


Lost at Sea is a very good book! John’s unrelenting research into this incident is evident in his writing. He takes the reader alongside Eddie Rickenbacker on his sojourn through life. The reader actually feels as if he is sitting right next to Eddie as he his racing his car around the track, or sitting in an open cockpit WWI fighter earning his Medal of Honor. The reader is right there with Eddie and those men crammed in little rubber rafts drifting on the Pacific Ocean. I literally got hot, hungry and thirsty just reading about their trials and tribulations.

Lost at Sea is a book for every aviation enthusiast. Anyone who has flown an aircraft over the ocean outside the sight of land can definitely sympathize with those men. I heartily recommend this book. It will certainly keep the reader engrossed and captivated.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I would like to thank John Wukovits, Dutton Caliber, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Lost at Sea.




Anyone who loves: adventure, human struggle, epic survival, suspense, history, extreme seamanship, and great leadership will absolutely love this book.

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Litercurious Book Review

TitleRescue Below Zero (Kindle Unlimited)
AuthorIan Mackersey 
PublisherSapere Books (October 23, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback
Pages175 pages
GenreDisaster Relief / Aviation History / Arctic & Antarctica


Ian Mackersey was a New Zealand writer and documentary film producer acclaimed for his deeply researched and revelational biographies.

A former head of film and television production at British Airways in London, where his documentaries took 24 international awards, Ian Mackersey is an ex-pilot, journalist, magazine editor, TV documentary producer and the author of ten books, including two novels. He began his writing career as a reporter on daily newspapers in New Zealand before going to London to work in Fleet Street and later as a feature writer for Royal Air Force Review, travelling the world reporting on the RAF’s global operations. There followed a year in Hong Kong as night news editor of the South China Morning Post, the editorship, back at the Air Ministry in London, of the RAF’s flying training magazine, Air Clues, and, later, a move to Central Africa.

In April 2015, after a short illness, Ian Mackersey passed away in Auckland. He is survived by three children; David, Paula and Kiri. Should you wish to make contact regarding their father’s work, please email Paula Mackersey here.

Excerpt taken in parts from https://www.ianmackersey.com


Rescue Below Zero is the true story of survival in the middle of the Greenland ice-cap. 700 miles from the North Pole, seven crewmembers and five passengers fight for theirs lives after their aircraft crashes on a resupply mission. Ill-equipped for the harsh environment, the twelve castaways must try to stay alive until help can arrive.

On September 16th, 1952, Hastings 492 with 12 people on board plunged into the deep snow atop the Greenland ice Cap at over 8,000 feet. After a brief plow through the snow, the aircraft came to a silent stop. Luckily they were within sight of the British North Greenland Expedition that was there for scientific research. Although they crashed near the expedition, it still took hours of dogging thru the snow to reach the survivors. What followed was an excruciating wait for a rescue. Stuck in the broken plane for days on end, the survivors fight the elements, boredom, and injuries to stay alive.

While rescuers try to come up with a plan, the weather is quickly turning to winter. Soon it will be impossible to send in a rescue team to pick up the survivors. Planning and preparation must account for trying to land on the snow covered ice cap and takeoff again. An ingenious plan is developed to utilize smaller planes with skis and jet assisted packs for takeoff. Will this never-before type of rescue work? Will the planes be able to make the journey to the crash site and back on the limited fuel capacity? Will the rocket packs, that have to be installed after landing, even work? Will the planes get stuck in the ever deepening snow? Can the survivors and the injured live long enough for help to arrive? How much longer can they fight the cold, the frostbite, and the never ending wind?


Ian Mackersey has delivered an exceptional masterpiece with Rescue Below Zero. It is meticulously researched and written. It is obvious Ian loves his subject material. He keeps the reader riveted to the story and the “what happens next.”

Rescue Below Zero is an intriguing tale about extreme survival. The true-life story brings to light the fight between harshest environments and the human spirit in the struggle for life.

I truly enjoyed this book and the detailed account presented by Ian Mackersey. I have been associated with aviation my entire life and love to read any books on the subject. Ian really did a superb job with this one. He keeps the reader riveted and entertained. He captures the spirit of exploration and the humanity in desperate conditions. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Now, I am reading Smithy: The Life of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, also by Ian Mackeresy. A review will follow shortly, but I must say this is another exceptional book by a gifted author.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Ian Mackersey , Sapere Books, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Rescue Below Zero.




Spitfire is an exceptionally researched historical account of 19 Squadron and the Battle of Britain. The information contained within its…

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