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Publisher's Summary

The untold story of Leon Crane, the only surviving crew member of a World War II B-24 crash on a remote mountain near the Arctic Circle, who managed to stay alive 81 days in sub-zero temperature by making peace with nature, and end his ordeal by walking along a river to safety. Part World War II story, part Alaskan adventure story, part survival story, and even part inspirational story, this is what we call "a good listen".

This is the first full-length retelling of Crane's incredible survivalist story. It has been noted in magazines and in story collections over the years. Most notably, just after the war ended, Crane's story was included in the aptly titled book, The 100 Best True Stories of World War II. Additionally, in the 1970s the story was a part of John McPhee's hot-selling collection of Alaskan survival tales, Coming into the Country.

©2015 Brian Murphy (P)2015 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    174
  • 4 Stars
    105
  • 3 Stars
    37
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    7

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    177
  • 4 Stars
    90
  • 3 Stars
    30
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    179
  • 4 Stars
    86
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    4
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • C. Howe
  • Beaverton, MI USA
  • 09-27-15

Diluted and Distracted

A fantastic story so wandering and diluted that you will often forget what the book is about. It is however a fantastic tale but it reminds me of a story written by a student stretching a one page paper into five.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jon
  • EVANSTON, IL, United States
  • 08-16-16

Tangent City

Great story but so many tangents into areas i just didn't care about. Needs an abridged version of just the main story with a few supporting facts. Audible voice over artist was OK, not great. Made everyone sounds elderly, even the young people.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Did not enjoy

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Talk more about his experience in the wild and less about the history of everything else.

Has 81 Days Below Zero turned you off from other books in this genre?

I am 5 hours into book and it has only talked about Leon Crain for about 10% of the time, I thought it was going to be about how he survived 81 days in the Alaskan Bush but so far I have learned about the history of everything else.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

way more back story than real story.

OK I get it. It's obvious that the author didn't have many of the details about the actual survival story. But a shorter book would have been better than burying the real story within the mostly useless back, side,and front stories.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very long and drawn out

Awful. When the author was focused on the main story of Lt Cranes struggle it was excellent, but the author spent waaaay too much time droning on and on about unrelated or slightly related tangents that it was a chore to finish but I was very interested in Lt Crane's fight to survive.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

slightly below average book

Apparently there isn't enough material about the crash and subsequent journey to be rescued since the author jumped around about many different topics throughout the book. I had hoped to listen to a book about a survival story but was unfortunately subjected to numerous side stories which each felt like a commercial in the middle of a good story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great read!

captivating survival story, nice pauses between main story lines with historical references and anecdotes of Alaskan history and more...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

incredible story.

fantastic story, bounces around at times a bit much, but always fascinating. The reader is great, Despite a few excessively long pauses. To anyone with an interest in history, or amazing stories of survival, I would definitely recommend checking this one out.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Annoying Digressions

While the story is about Crane's story of survival alone in the Alaskan wilderness - in the winter no less - the writers frequently wander off into lengthy discourse about the fate of the others on the plane, particularly the other pilot. Whole chapters were devoted to the impact on the families of the other soldiers; the exploration of the crash site later; and the recovery, identification of remains, and internment of one of his comrades. It was as though the authors were originally going to write about whole story of the crash but later decided they should limit themselves to Crane's story, yet failed to cut the extra material from their manuscript. Parts about life on the base were pertinent as they established contrast to Crane's later experiences. I did enjoy the story of Crane's experiences, but found the digressions annoying. Also, the narrator read this as a suspense novel, but for me, overdid it. Hard to listen to.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

80% Background, 20% Survival Story

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, if the friend wanted to know about the history of Alaska and not so much about Lt Crane's personal account of his survival. If the friend wanted a 5 star in-depth account of the harrows of surviving in bitter cold, read "Endurance, Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The book contains too much background information on Alaska history...actually too much superfluous material such as recounting the clothes worn by persons attending a military funeral.

Have you listened to any of Richard Ferrone’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Great narrator.

Was 81 Days Below Zero worth the listening time?

It was interesting but had way too much background material for my taste.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • ania
  • 01-02-17

Boring

I am quite amazed how the author made this potentially fascinating story sooooo boooring. The narrator harsh and dull voice doesn't help either.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Damian McBride
  • 09-06-16

Keeps Deviating away from main story

20% of the content is about the actual story... rest of it not required... disappointed!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 04-16-16

Not the best survival story you'll hear

The author goes off on tangent after tangent, interrupting what is not the most interesting story you'll ever hear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful