Author Topic: The Cave (Liam Cochrane)  (Read 204 times)

Offline Duncan Price

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The Cave (Liam Cochrane)
« on: January 14, 2019, 02:49:52 pm »
"The Cave - The inside story of the daring Thai cave rescue" by Liam Cochrane



Published by ABC Books (HarperCollins Australia 2018) available in the UK from 10th January 2019

Also published as “The Miracle in the Cave - The 12 lost boys, their coach and the heroes who rescued them” (HarperOne)

SB 320 pages + 16 pages of colour photos. Size 155 mm x 235 mm. ISBN 978-0-73-334013-0 £15.99


Having reviewed “The Boys in the Cave” by Matt Gutman and seen Martyn Farr’s side by side review of that book and Liam Cochrane’s text I hope that readers will indulge me in my opinion on (yet) another book coving the (now familiar) story of that cave rescue in June/July 2018.

The author is a reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation based in Thailand.  Cochrane understands Thai culture and politics and includes many references to this in the text.  The Thai’s spiritual associations of the Tham Luang Cave and their (largely) Buddhist faith features a part of the backstory as does their (legally enforced) respect of the Thai King and the control exerted by current military governmental structure.

The narrative is told in a linear fashion and comprehensively referenced in the appendix of sources to the extent that it sometimes reads like a dissertation rather than a gripping tale of derring-do.  Cochrane doesn’t bother to explain some terms which I guess the non-caver/diver would not be familiar with (“sump” for example) yet doesn’t use the term “leptospirosis” (instead “cave disease”) when discussing the medical concerns for the trapped persons.  At one point the diving team drops Chris (Jewell) in favour of Rob (Harper) but the errors are few and there is a lot of detail over who did what and when.  Being Australian, there is a greater focus on its own nationals and their involvement in operation, but everybody gets a look-in and the author avoids painting anyone is a bad light (even if they deserve it).  Metric units get used throughout - perhaps this is rectified in the US print version?

The author covers the lead up to the team getting trapped in the cave as well as the aftermath of the rescue as the boys are exhibited on the world’s stage as well as those remarks made by a well known US millionaire.  Cochrane has obviously done his research well and supports this with a list of those he’s interviewed personally.  Input from the UK diving team cited as coming directly from John Volanthen and Vern Unsworth also was interviewed.

In comparison with Gutman’s tome, “The Cave” is much less sensational, and more matter-of-fact.  I would have preferred a hard-back edition to add to be caving library, but this is only a minor quibble.  If you want a comprehensive reference book to the Tham Luang cave rescue, then “The Cave” is an excellent choice (in this context an index might have been helpful).  If you want the basis for an exciting big screen treatment, then “The Boys in the Cave” is your inspiration.  I’m told by Dr Harry Harris that James Massola’s “The Great Cave Rescue” sits between the two and we’ll see what Marc Aronson’s “Rising Water: The Story of the Thai Cave Rescue” has to offer when it comes out in March.  The fact that Aronson’s book is published by “Atheneum Books for Young Readers” and targeted at 10-14-year olds probably means that “cockwomble” won’t appear in the text (to give Cochrane credit, he does quote some “shits”, a “goddamnit” and a couple of “f*cks” [sic] when using reported speech) – it could be a tame read.

Is there a market for another book – well I think so:  having been party to a few “in the pub” stories perhaps there’s still an opening for an insiders’ view of the whole shebang.  Indeed, there is one: “Sukellus Valoon” but it is in Finnish… perhaps one of the British team with some time on his hands could be persuaded to write his memoirs?

Offline yrammy

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Re: The Cave (Liam Cochrane)
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2019, 11:45:49 am »
A copy is now at the British Caving Library.

Mary