Posted by: Jeanie F | August 13, 2011

33 Men by Jonathan Franklin


Last year we all watched the dramatic rescue of the Chilean miners with bated breath, hoping against almost insurmountable odds that the 33 men trapped half a  mile underground could be saved. When they emerged from that mine, the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. Now Jonathan Franklin has written a detailed and gripping story of their experience and the efforts it took to rescue them.

For anyone who may have been in a coma in August through October of 2010, a group of 33 copper miners worked at the bottom of the poorly maintained but highly profitable San Jose mine outside of Copiopó, Chile, when the mine caved-in. For 17 days these men, known as “Los 33,” were completely shut off from any contact with the world. With extremely meager food supplies, little potable water, and the dread of losing the battery power on their headlamps, these men forged a bond that helped them survive 69 days underground. Franklin, who covered the story for The Washington Post and UK’s The Guardian, has helped us all understand how they were able to do this.

To get the details of the mine, its history, the technology involved in rescuing the miners, and even some of the photos shot inside the mine during the entrapment, you can read a good summary, along with diagrams, charts, etc., at To get the inside story of how the miners coped, how the rescuers battled the unforeseen obstacles that they faced, and how the families of the miners attempted to support their loved ones, read 33 Men.

This book read like one of the greatest suspense stories I’ve ever encountered. Even though I knew the final outcome, I could hardly pull myself away from it, so caught up in the tension that I often forgot I knew they would all get out alive. A few of the highlights:

  • How they survived the first 17 days of fear and uncertainty;
  • How they came together as a group, both functionally and spiritually;
  • The emotional moment when they realized that they had been located and might be saved;
  • How knowledge of the rescue attempt changed the group dynamics, not always for the better;
  • The trials and triumphs of the human spirit – for the miners, the rescuers, the families, and the world.

Read this book. You’ll be enlightened, entertained, and inspired.

Grade: A


  1. sounds like a winner – thanks

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