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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

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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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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.

3 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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Incredible story

Maybe I read this at the wrong time ( recovering from an injury)? But while the first half was riveting, I guess I shall never know about the last half cause I could not finish it. Maybe some other day, but I doubt it. It goes from unbearable tension do da, da, da, dum. My term for BORING. But who knows, maybe it is just me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 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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Awesome testimony!

Roberto is a friend of mine. This book touched me deeply & helped me out of a deep depression. Thank you, Roberto for sharing this story.

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Better than book Alive!

I’m so glad I found this! The book ALIVE has remained one of my all time favorites, and this dramatization written by one of the main characters, and yes I call him a “hero”, will stay with me for life. I’m so glad I got the story “ straight from the horse’s mouth” so to speak. In this production I found answers to some of the questions about what happened to them after their discovery and rescue. The rescue itself, somewhat glossed over in ALIVE, is satisfyingly enlarged in this edition. I think I have to say this is the most inspirational narrative I have ever experienced. Just as a side note: I think this is the first review I have taken the time to write, and I have over a hundred audible books in my library.

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An Amazing Life After the Andes

This was a well written, excellently narrated book about how one of the survivors, who also with another, found help, has devoted his life to helping others, making a difference in many lives. He's a source of inspiration for his patients and others.. It was great to read about this wise healer, and what he was able to take from his Andes experience and turn it into a positive. Well done. Thank you.