A True Story of Survival and Friendship. This book Touching the Ancient One – a True Story of Tragedy and Reunion could have been a very good book had the author Rupert Pratt just written about the crash, the survival and the rescue. However, he exceeds the ordinary telling of a tragic story and takes us into the present time for a reunion and follow-up on those who were touched by the events of February 5, 1954; and that makes for an outstanding book!
The event that brings all these lives together was a crash of an Air Force C-47 into a desolate mountain region of Alaska where six people miraculously escaped death and survived in freezing weather. The story is not just about the survivors but also those who come to rescue them. The glue that makes this story so interesting is the power of Pratt’s writing. He takes the reader with him through his words and memories and creates an exciting true tale; it is brilliantly done and conceived.
This is truly one great book. This story is not just about a crash, it is about people. It is about how their reunion 42 years after the crash and the rescue, changes all of their lives once again. It is a most unusual life experience and one that the reader gets to share in an emotional sense. This is an epic story which has all the elements of what would make a great movie plot. It is entertaining, thoughtful, and almost spiritual in some ways.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2006)
On February 5, 1954, an Air Force C-47 broke apart over the Susitna Valley of South Central Alaska and fell onto Kesugi Ridge. Six miraculously escaped, survived bone-chilling cold, and were rescued through the efforts of pilots Cliff Hudson and Don Sheldon. Unacquainted with one another before the accident, the Air Force men bonded in the hospital. Forty-two years later, the survivors and their families, the families of the victims, and rescuers came together for a reunion in Dayton, Ohio. It was a meeting that would change their lives.
This is a true story, told by one of the survivors. Rupert Pratt's book celebrates life and friendship—themes set appropriately against the backdrop of Kesugi, "The Ancient One."