Book Review: Coming Back Alive! by Spike Walker

Coming Back Alive: The True Story of the Most Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Ever Attempted on Alaska’s High Seas by Spike Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Autor Spike Walker has done an amazing job of chasing down, interviewing and documenting the fishermen, coastguard members and family of the survivors of three of the most amazing rescues and rescue attempts by the Alaskan Coastguard. The helicopter pilots, swimmers and hoistmen who man the H-60 Jayhawk machines in hurricane force winds with waves topping a hundred feet as boats sink beneath the fishermen below them are under terrific stresses both emotional and physically to save those in the waters below them who were either brave enough, crazy enough or stupid enough to ply the waters outside the normal fishing grounds in search of mother lodes of fish swarming at certain times of the year off the Alaskan coasts. Following their modern day motto of “You have to go out, and you have to come back”, the Coastguard push the very limits of their machines and human strengths, intellect, ingenuity and endurance to carry out rescues in situations beyond the ken of ordinary persons. Spike Walker’s superb writing allows you to follow the lives of wives and families, and hear the stories from all sides of the picture as rescuers fight to maintain positions, altitudes and communications, wives and families wait for any notification of rescues, and the men in the water fight to ward off hypothermia in the most deadly seas on earth. Enjoy the action and love the characters. They are human in all respects.

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