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Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungleby Marc Gonsalves
Synopses & Reviews
On February 13, 2003, a plane carrying three American civilian contractors--Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Tom Howes--crash-landed in the mountainous jungle of Colombia. Dazed and shaken, they emerged from the plane bloodied and injured as gunfire rained down around them. As of that moment they were prisoners of the FARC, a Colombian terrorist and Marxist rebel organization. In an instant they had become American captives in Colombia's volatile and ongoing conflict, which has lasted for almost fifty years.
In Out of Captivity, Gonsalves, Stansell, and Howes recount for the first time their amazing tale of survival, friendship, and, ultimately, rescue, tracing their five and a half years as hostages of the FARC. Their story takes you inside one of the world's most notorious terrorist organizations, going behind enemy lines with vivid and haunting imagery. Their words conjure a reality that few people have ever encountered--from sleeping on beds literally carved out of the jungle to escaping Colombian military air strikes under the cover of darkness to being bound with steel chains by their captors. Describing backbreaking starvation marches and forced isolation, the authors chronicle their confrontations and interactions with the FARC guerrilla soldiers--a motley crew of brainwashed, idealistic teenagers and seasoned vet-erans who've been around long enough to realize that the only way out of the FARC is in a body bag.
Though the physical punishments their bodies endured were unrelenting, the psychological battles they waged were the ultimate test of their resolve. With candid detail, Gonsalves, Stansell, and Howes relate the perilous mental struggles they eachexperienced, as they grappled with feelings of guilt, fear, and anxiety for the families and lives they'd left behind. Exposing the transformative power of captivity, they show how they turned these fears into strengths, using their memories and their families, their pasts and their futures, to motivate them in their quest for survival.
Despite the odds and the conditions, despite the chains and the silence, and despite the often tense relationships they experienced with their fellow Colombian hostages, they had one another, forging a bond that allowed them to cope with the horrific conditions of their confinement. This brotherhood enabled them to persevere through the worst that the FARC threw at them while always reminding them of their ultimate goal: freedom.
A harrowing account of one of the longest civilian hostage crises in United States history, Out of Captivity is a remarkable and compelling exploration of how far three Americans were willing to go as they fought to stay alive for themselves, their families, and one another.
Three Americans captured by Iranian forces and held in captivity reveal, for the first time, the full story of their imprisonment and fight for freedom.
“A Sliver of Light weaves a spellbinding tale of hard-won survival at the intersection of courage and love — the love of friends struggling to support one another in wretched circumstances, the unyielding bedrock of mothers' love for their long-lost children, and the fiercely tested love of three people for the family of humankind. It is a triumph of writing born of a triumph of being.” — Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon
In summer 2009, Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd were hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan when they unknowingly crossed into Iran and were captured by a border patrol. Wrongly accused of espionage, the three Americans ultimately found themselves in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison, where activists and protesters from the Green Movement were still being confined and tortured. Cut off from the world and trapped in a legal black hole, Bauer, Fattal, and Shourd discovered that pooling their strength of will and relying on one another was the only way they could survive.
In A Sliver of Light, the three finally tell their side of the story. They offer a rare glimpse inside Iran at a time when understanding this fractured state has never been more important. But beyond that, this memoir is a profoundly humane account of defiance, hope, and the elemental power of friendship.
“Riveting and necessary and illuminating in countless unexpected ways. The hikers have pulled off the almost impossible task of making from their hellish experience something of beauty and grace.” — Dave Eggers
“A Sliver of Light is the record of a human rights triumph, a moving memoir by three individuals who found the strength to survive.” — San Jose Mercury News
"Time after time in A Sliver of Light . . . you think, This is it. They cannot survive this time . . . gripping . . . lucid . . . tough." —Entertainment Weekly “Riveting and necessary and illuminating in countless unexpected ways.” —Dave Eggers
In summer 2009, Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd were hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan when they unknowingly crossed into Iran and were captured by a border patrol. Wrongly accused of espionage, the three Americans ultimately found themselves in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison, where only months earlier leaders of the failed Green Revolution had been confined and tortured. Cut off from the world and trapped in a legal black hole, Bauer, Fattal, and Shourd discovered that pooling their strength of will and relying on each other was the only way they could survive.
In A Sliver of Light, the three finally tell their side of the story. With an innovative and ambitious interweaving of the authors’ three voices, the book offers a rare glimpse inside Iran at a time when understanding this fractured state has never been more important. But beyond that, this memoir is a profoundly humane account of defiance, hope, and the elemental power of friendship.
About the Author
Marc Gonsalves is a former member of the United States Air Force who worked as a civilian military contractor for four years before the crash. He has a daughter, Destiney, and two stepsons, Cody and Joey. He lives in Connecticut.
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