Friday, September 11, 2009
Review of 'Hearts of Courage'
When his mother grew ill, Joe Tippets decided to fly from Nome, Alaska where he was updating radio equipment to his parent’s home in Utah during Christmas vacation. His wife and young son stayed behind in Anchorage. On January 5, 1943 Tippets boarded a twin-engine plane with five other passengers to return home, but the plane never arrived. “Hearts of Courage” is the harrowing story of his miraculous survival during nearly four weeks of the harshest conditions imaginable, as told by his son, John Tippets.
Replete with pictures, diagrams, letters, and newspaper clippings “Hearts of Courage” carries the reader through Tippet’s experience with accuracy and insight. From the moment their left engine knocked out I was spellbound at the turn of events. Although everyone survived the crash, some of the passengers were severely injured. The pilot tried to hike out and was never heard from again. Finally, when their food had almost run out Tippets headed into the frigid Alaskan winter with another passenger, Sandy Cutting, to find help. Fighting starvation and the elements, these men spent the month surviving the Alaskan winter as they searched for help so that they could return and rescue their two fallen companions back at the crash site.
One disappointment after another strikes them, and then a simple gift like a few stray crows keeps them going. It was incredible to read their journey, and I appreciate that it was told without emotionalizing it, because the events they endured were emotional enough. In the end even their rescue was amazing, but perhaps the most incredible thing of all is what Tippets did after his return to safety. I still get misty-eyed thinking about it.
“Hearts of Courage” is a quick read and worth every minute. The writing is in the first person and uses many of Joe Tippet’s own words. It is written concisely, but at times I would have liked a little more description. Still, anyone reading this book will be inspired by Tippet’s ability to face incredible obstacles with faith and determination. In the end his success is due entirely to the fact that he was willing to keep trying in the face of a hopeless situation: a helpful reminder in these difficult times.
Hearts of Courage is available for purchase at Amazon.com, most LDS bookstores or you can contact the author directly at johntippets AT yahoo DOT com