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Publisher's Summary

Twenty-five years after the catastrophe, a dramatic and extraordinarily rare 360-degree view of the crash of a fully loaded jumbo jet.

As hundreds of rescue workers waited on the ground, United Airlines Flight 232 wallowed drunkenly over the bluffs northwest of Sioux City. The plane slammed onto the runway and burst into a vast fireball. The rescuers didn't move at first: nobody could possibly survive that crash. And then people began emerging from the summer corn that lined the runways. Miraculously, 184 of 296 passengers lived. No one has ever attempted the complete reconstruction of a crash of this magnitude. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of survivors, crew, and airport and rescue personnel, Laurence Gonzales, a commercial pilot himself, captures, minute-by-minute, the harrowing journey of pilots flying a plane with no controls and flight attendants keeping their calm in the face of certain death. He plumbs the hearts and minds of passengers as they pray, bargain with God, plot their strategies for survival, and sacrifice themselves to save others.

Ultimately he takes us, step-by-step, through the gripping scientific detective work in super-secret labs to dive into the heart of a flaw smaller than a grain of rice that shows what brought the aircraft down. An unforgettable drama of the triumph of heroism over tragedy and human ingenuity over technological breakdown, Flight 232 is a masterpiece in the tradition of the greatest aviation stories ever told.

©2014 Laurence Gonzales (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Therapeutic

Any additional comments?

I've had my feelings about Flight 232 tucked away for almost 26 years and this read was very therapeutic for me. I am a Flight Attendant for United and in 1989 I was based in Denver flying reserve. I had worked flight 232 100’s of times prior and worked it one week after the crash... because I was the most junior one on the crew I got the honor of sitting in the jumpseat that was occupied by Rene LeBeau, the only member of the crew to perish that awful day. I then went out on maternity leave right after that and never really “dealt” with all my feelings about this crash. Although I was suffering a form of PTSD I’m sure it was nothing compared to the individuals that experienced and lived through the event itself and hearing the survivor’s stories helped me put my experience into a manageable perspective. I think the author did a fantastic job of retelling the events without sensationalism and with the utmost respect for ALL the sufferers of this horrible accident, including the people on the ground involved prior to the crash and those involved in rescue efforts and post accident “clean-up”. I found that the author repeated some of the survivors stories but I understood he did this to show events that were happening simultaneously, thus giving the reader a better understanding of the timeline of events. I’m still emotionally moved but I can now view the horrendous video of the crash itself without crying. Thank you Laurence Gonzales for writing this book.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unforgettable.

I have absolutely no idea as to how Laurence Gonzales has achieved it but he has researched and then relates the most heart rendering and agonizing report of a true event and tell us, the reader every single painful detail in such a way that still maintains this event's humanity.

How did he do this? I will never know. Not only do we learn about the event itself but we get some background and a few decades of follow up.

We are not left 'wanting'. Victor Bevine's performance is nothing short of five stars, as usual.

A wonderful gift from a fine author and narrator for us who are wise of us to receive it. I also suspect that it is a mission completed by Mr. Gonzales to tell the story for those poor souls on that fateful night twenty five years ago.

I was riveted.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • PAUL
  • show low, az...usa
  • 04-24-15

Wow...what a ride....

If you could sum up Flight 232 in three words, what would they be?

fate...timing...luck

What other book might you compare Flight 232 to and why?

hummmmmmm...really don't have a specific in mind at this time.

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

no...first time...but very good

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

just interesting to relive history

Any additional comments?

great "disaster" book.....a second here...a misstep there....and the results to many people could have been changed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thrilling story

The narrator did an excellent job keeping the readers involved. I would love more titles by him.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect description

thank you. what a wonderful way to deliver such a detailed description of this tragedy.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Starts out strong

Gets a little dull towards the end. Identifies many individuals but fails to tell the complete story for several leaving the reader to guess as to the outcome.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

For the technically minded thrill seeker

there is a lot of technical jargon which I ate up. the thrill-seeking part is guaranteed, but be forewarned the forensics are detailed

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Almost poetry

The author, Laurence Gonzales, has written a book that has so many facts, people and stories - and stories within stories – and he does not stumbled or falters. His story is a tapestry of awe, bravery, tears, and miracles, and I kept marvelling that it is woven so very well that the unfolding of this tragic tale is seamless.
When you take a moment to consider the scope of the authors research with the survivors and the many, many people, departments and services that played important rolls in this drama and the aftermath and that he interviews them 20 odd years later, it is more than impressive that Mr. Gonzales draws you in and puts you 'there', living those moments in 1989.
What strikes me most, is the painful poetic beauty of the words used by many of the survivors in remembering.
The book is read by Victor Bevine and he handles this difficult assignment with aplomb. For me, it was a perfect match between subject matter and his pace and pitch.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

author enamored of numbers

Would you try another book from Laurence Gonzales and/or Victor Bevine?

Noooo.

What was most disappointing about Laurence Gonzales’s story?

The first half was pretty good, but the entire second half was an incredibly boring recantation of engine part numbers. After an hour, I had the part numbers memorized. Memorizing numbers is not why I read books.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Nice voice - easy to listen to - it's the material that made him monotonous.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

There were parts that made one feel great empathy for the passengers of the airliner, but aside from that, this book is BORING. It "sparked" boredom, not that that's the right term.

Any additional comments?

Asking for my credit back, and unable to figure out how this book got the good reviews it has. I suspect that those who liked it are also a bit nutty about numbers, recited in the text to the point of nausea.

3 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • chris cleeter
  • 03-27-17

Too Much Unecessary Detail

What did you like best about Flight 232? What did you like least?

I struggled to get past the first 30 mins. Of course it can add colour to the story by including some personal details of the passengers but not to the extent of , where their sons and daughters went to college and who their friends were , blah blah blah .Tedious

Was Flight 232 worth the listening time?

no

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Suzy
  • 12-02-17

Scholarly overview of a disaster

This is an interesting book, in that I discovered a lot about the accident, the people and the investigation into a plane crash. However the structure of the book limits the dramatic arc because you find out the fate of each person almost as soon as the person is introduced. By doing this we get to hear about the experience in that person's own words (or those of a relative/colleague)vehicle is positive. But it does mean that we go over the crash again and again as each person tells their story. There are also a lot of people's stories so it became tricky to keep track of them all. The narrator was great, with a serious tone befitting the subject matter, without sounding dull or monotonous. Overall worth a listen to hear these survivor stories but I do wonder if a different structure might have worked better.