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We Die Alone by David Howarth
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We Die Alone (original 1955; edition 1996)

by David Howarth (Author)

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7783517,236 (4.01)56
Member:msmullins
Title:We Die Alone
Authors:David Howarth (Author)
Info:Adventure Library (1996), Edition: First, 218 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Adventure Library

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We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth (1955)

  1. 01
    Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (srdr)
    srdr: Although this book is about mountain climbing rather than WW II, it is an equally gripping survival story.
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» See also 56 mentions

English (33)  Danish (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Real-life story of Jan Baalstrud who survived in the Arctic mountains of Norway while being chased by Nazis. Extremely brave ordinary Norwegians took extraordinary risks in occupied Norway to try to get him to safety. This is an amazing story about what a human can endure and what good people will do to help a fellow human. An excellent survival story on par with Unbroken. ( )
  KarenMonsen | Jun 24, 2018 |
I first read of Jan Baalsrud's amazing World War II adventure in a March 2016 NY Times Magazine article. Haunted by the description of a failed attempt by 12 Norwegians sailing from Scotland to land in Nazi occupied Norway in order to sabotage German installations, I had to find the book that chronicled the lone survivor, Jan Baalsrud and his perilous journey to freedom. By turns horrifying, awe-inspiring, and suspenseful David Howarth meticulously introduces the reader to "ordinary" Norwegians, who despite certain death if discovered by the Nazis, aided Baalsrud over a nine week period and ultimately enabled him to escape to Sweden.

Baalsrud's physical and mental stamina despite overwhelming odds, and the stories of the many villagers who bravely assisted him, make for a spellbinding true story that displays the very best of human nature. This is a story I cannot forget. ( )
  nenasfilla | Dec 11, 2017 |
Written about ten years after the end of WWII, this is the story of the one man who escaped from a failed attempt to invade northern Norway. The Germans intercepted the disguised fishing boat before the men, eight crew and four trained commandos (who were Norwegian patriots), could find their way to the mainland to set up a sabotage operation behind enemy lines. This one man managed to elude the Germans with the help of many local Norwegian people and was eventually carried into Sweden. It's amazing to read about. ( )
  Pferdina | Jul 23, 2017 |
This true-life story of human endurance is genuinely gripping, a factual account which is as riveting as any fictionalised adventure tale. Every chapter rings with the echo of authenticity. It’s as grim and as gritty as any noir novel, but does ultimate justice to the inner strength of an indomitable human spirit.

We Die Alone is a detailed account of a military operation which went horribly wrong, back in WW2 when Norway was occupied by Nazi forces. A Norwegian resistance unit sneaks from the British Shetlands to the northern fjords, on a fishing boat stuffed to the gunwales with explosives and equipment. Yet before they can even land safely, everything goes horribly wrong.

And it’s here that the story really begins, with Jan, the surviving fighter, isolated in an utterly unfamiliar landscape, facing torture and execution if captured. He doesn’t know who he can trust; any locals he involves run the same risks as he does, and the weather, water and towering mountains stand between him and a possible safe haven in Sweden…

The writing is crisp, descriptive without being fussy, detailed enough to explain the situation without overwhelming the reader in acres of exposition. Half of the chapters end on a cliff-hanger – and that’s not simply through deft story-telling but because that’s how the actual events unravelled. Jan faced a seemingly insurmountable series of disasters – frostbite, septicaemia, starvation, avalanche, abandonment, being buried alive – yet somehow contrives not to die, not to sleep, not to be swallowed by the deep snowdrifts.

The story also reflects the bravery of the people who helped him, and of those who died during this operation. It’s a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit, told with subtlety and quite some style. How it hasn’t been made into a blockbuster movie is a total mystery.
9/10 ( )
  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
After reading Two Eggs on my Plate, I found yet another book from my father-in-law's estate about Norwegian Resistance during WWII. We Die Alone is the tale of a failed resistance team insertion in northern Norway. The story's protagonist and lone survivor makes it a couple of weeks with assistance from locals as he heads toward the Swedish border. But when he gets caught in bad weather conditions and a slide, snow blindness and frostbite get the better of him. On his last leg, he makes contact with Norwegian family that helps him out. The remainder of the tale is about him trying to recover while locals feed and support him while the Germans are still looking for him. The locals ultimately come together to get him across the border to survival.

The interesting part of this story is how small town Norwegians bind together to conduct their resistance activities. Up to this point, they had few opportunities to 'resist'. The poor health condition of the protagonist brought them together to finally do something against the occupying German Army.

The last chapters in the book are largely written thru research of the author as the main character was almost oblivious to his conditions in those last weeks on Norwegian soil. Interesting reading. ( )
  usma83 | Jun 13, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Howarthprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kontio, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Odd Bang-HansenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ringnes, HaagenAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tossey, VerneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
On mourra seul - Pascal, 1623-1662
Dedication
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Even at the end of March, on the Arctic coast of northern Norway, there is no sign of spring.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
We die alone was later published as Escape alone.
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Jan Baalsrud's escape from Nazi-occupied arctic Norway is one of the most exciting escape narratives to emerge from the challenges and miseries of World War II chronicles . In March 1943, a team of expatriate Norwegian commandos sailed from northern England for Nazi-occupied arctic Norway to organize and supply the Norwegian resistance. But they were betrayed and the Nazis ambushed them. Only one man survived - Jan Baalsrud. This is the incredible and gripping story of his escape. Frostbitten and snowblind, pursued by the Nazis, he dragged himself on until he reached a small arctic village. He was near death, delirious, and a virtual cripple. But the villagers, at mortal risk to themselves, were determined to save him, and - through impossible feats - they did. We Die Alone is an astonishing true story of heroism and endurance. Like Salvomir Rawicz's, The Long Walk, it is also an unforgettable portrait of the determination of the human spirit.… (more)

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