The strap line on the cover asks, ‘How far would you go to save a life?’ and this book gives a range of stories of courage and selflessness above and beyond what might be normally expected. These are people who run towards danger, or put their own lives at risk to save others, and there is a wide range of stories, some well-known, others less so, with a sub-title ‘daring missions from on, under and above the earth’.
The rescues of the Chilean miners, of the toddler Jessica who fell down a well in the USA, and the young Thai footballers trapped in a cave were covered in the media as the stories unfolded, but here we get the names of the rescuers and a real sense of the drama. Other rescues might be less well-documented – the story of nine-year old Lin Hao who rescued two of his classmates after an earthquake in Sichuan, China, is particularly interesting. Afterwards, he said modestly that he was the Hall Monitor, and it was his job to look after his classmates. There is a fifteen year old barrow boy who helped to rescue people in the Blitz in World War 2, and was awarded the George Cross, but also the parachutist who rescued a colleague when his parachute failed to open. Some stories have been made into films – Apollo 13, ‘Houston, we have problem’, Captain Phillips and the Somali pirates, and ‘Sully’ landing his plane on the Hudson River.
David Long was a winner of the Blue Peter Book Award for the Best Book with Facts in 2017 for Survivors, which was also illustrated by Kerry Hyndman, as was Heroes about animal bravery. He has also written Animals VC: for Gallantry and Devotion, so he clearly is very knowledgeable about rescues and bravery, whether human or animal. Each story is well told, and all are illustrated in bold colour by Kerry Hyndman, some with double page spreads. This will be an interesting read, possibly useful for those who like to browse, and perhaps one to grab the attention of a reluctant reader.