This true-life wilderness survival epic recounts seventeen-year-old Alex Messenger's near-lethal encounter with a grizzly bear during a canoe trip in the Canadian tundra. The story follows Alex and his five companions as they paddle north through harrowing rapids and stunning terrain. Twenty-nine days into the trip, while out hiking alone, Alex is attacked by a barren-ground grizzly. Left for dead, he wakes to find that his summer adventure has become a struggle to stay alive. Over the next hours and days, Alex and his companions tend his wounds and use their resilience, ingenuity, and dogged perseverance to reach help at a remote village a thousand miles north of the US-Canadian border.
The Twenty-Ninth Day is a coming-of-age story like no other, filled with inspiring subarctic landscapes, thrilling riverine paddling, and a trial by fire of the human spirit.
Alex Messenger is a Duluth, Minnesota, author and photographer who, at seventeen, was mauled by a grizzly bear. In the decade afterward, he worked as a wilderness guide and volunteer search-and-rescue operator. His love of adventure, nature, and cultures has taken him all over the globe, but the north woods and canoe country have always been among his favorite subjects. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Men's Journal, National Parks magazine, Outside Online, and Backpacker magazine.
I awoke one night; I had not locked the bedroom door, and there was a man standing in the room, a candle in his hand. He was standing about eight feet away, just watching me. I was terrified and realised I had to keep totally still. He knew he had woken me though and said, Im not going to hurt you; go back to sleep. My subconscious must have recognised the voice and trusted the person because I did go back to sleep. Thereafter I ensured the bedroom door was locked.
This and other instances make me realise how vulnerable I was to rape, abuse, or being murdered in the house where I lived. I later learned that the neighbours would enter my house; either by climbing in through the window or using the key which they had found.
Gerda's serene and idyllic childhood is shattered when Nazis march into Poland on September 3, 1939. Although the Weissmanns were permitted to live for a while in the basement of their home, they were eventually separated and sent to German labor camps. Over the next few years Gerda experienced the slow, inexorable stripping away of "all but her life." By the end of the war she had lost her parents, brother, home, possessions, and community; even the dear friends she made in the labor camps, with whom she had shared so many hardships, were dead.
Despite her horrifying experiences, Klein conveys great strength of spirit and faith in humanity. In the darkness of the camps, Gerda and her young friends manage to create a community of friendship and love. Although stripped of the essence of life, they were able to survive the barbarity of their captors. Gerda's beautifully written story gives an invaluable message to everyone. It introduces them to last century's terrible history of devastation and prejudice, yet offers them hope that the effects of hatred can be overcome.
By the time she was eleven years old, Eunsun's father and grandparents had died of starvation, and Eunsun was in danger of the same. Finally, her mother decided to escape North Korea with Eunsun and her sister, not knowing that they were embarking on a journey that would take them nine long years to complete. Before finally reaching South Korea and freedom, Eunsun and her family would live homeless, fall into the hands of Chinese human traffickers, survive a North Korean labor camp, and cross the deserts of Mongolia on foot.
Now, Eunsun is sharing her remarkable story to give voice to the tens of millions of North Koreans still suffering in silence. Told with grace and courage, her memoir is a riveting exposé of North Korea's totalitarian regime and, ultimately, a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.