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Publisher's Summary

On October 13, 1972, a Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying members of the Old Christians rugby team - and many of their friends and family members - crashed into the Andes Mountains. I Had to Survive offers a gripping and heartrending recollection of the harrowing, brink-of-death experience that propelled survivor Roberto Canessa to become one of the world's leading pediatric cardiologists.

As he tended to his wounded teammates amid the devastating carnage of the wreck, rugby player Roberto Canessa, a second-year medical student at the time, realized that no one on Earth was luckier: He was alive - and for that, he should be eternally grateful. As the starving group struggled beyond the limits of what seemed possible, Canessa played a key role in safeguarding his fellow survivors, eventually trekking with a companion across the hostile mountain range for help. This fine line between life and death became the catalyst for the rest of his life.

This uplifting tale of hope and determination, solidarity and ingenuity, gives vivid insight into a world-famous story. Canessa also draws a unique and fascinating parallel between his work as a doctor performing arduous heart surgeries on infants and unborn babies and the difficult life-changing decisions he was forced to make in the Andes. With grace and humanity, Canessa prompts us to ask ourselves, what do you do when all the odds are stacked against you?

©2016 Dr. Roberto Canessa (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about I Had to Survive

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Life changing

A book you won't be able to put down. It will transform the way you look at the perceived worries of your day to day life. New outlook on the beauty in each day, each bite of food, and each night you have a roof over your head.

4 people found this helpful

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No Maps

Enjoyed the content and readers but could not access the maps that were supposed to be attached (PDF). Disappointing!

2 people found this helpful

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Survival

A beautiful biography of Roberto Canessa with many life lessons. His experiences while surviving a plane wreck teach him life lessons that later help him in his medical career, saving the lives of babies with heart conditions.

2 people found this helpful

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for a mountain survival book it is boring

I have read other stories related to this incident and found this particular one to be extremely slow repetitive and boring. while I have deep respect or for the author for his experience and skill as a physician he is not a writer. this story goes into more detail about his surgical success then into the lives of those who survive with him. the details on the mountain are vague are out of sequence with others description of events.

2 people found this helpful

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  • TG
  • 01-17-20

Wow

This was an interesting view into what goes into making someone who they are. And what comes to the fore front when you’re in dire circumstances

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful story of insight & inspiration

His story is amazing. hearing it from his perspective and that of his family and patients - genius. Obviously each of the survivors lives with a level of trauma that could not be shaken completely, but beautiful to see how God has been weaved into their lives. Living to the fullest is an understatement. He's lucky to have supportive wife and understanding kids.

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Great survival story by an obnoxious egomaniac

The first half of this book is a very entertaining account of Canessa's early life, the crash, and the escape. Through these events, Canessa is a good storyteller, and his recollection of the events is descriptive and compelling. However, the second half of this book is just awful. Whole chapters are written by Canessa's family members and by the families of his patients, and these contributing authors do nothing but worship the ground that he walks on. It is beyond me how anyone (or any editor) could stand chapter after chapter espousing one man's humility, kindness, generosity, determination, and every other positive attribute. Dedicating half of the book to singing Canessa's praises is at best terrible storytelling and at worst a a garish display of vanity, narcissism, and egomania. Canessa is obviously wielding a severe case of savior complex. Perhaps a laudable trait for a cardiologist, its an insufferable flaw for an author.