Author Topic: The Great Cave Rescue (James Massola)  (Read 702 times)

Offline Duncan Price

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The Great Cave Rescue (James Massola)
« on: March 03, 2019, 10:21:10 am »
"The Great Cave Rescue - The extraordinary story of the Thai boy soccer team trapped in a cave for 18 days" by James Massola



Published by Allen & Unwin (available in the UK from September 2019)


SB 222 pages + 24 pages of colour photos. Size 155 mm x 235 mm. ISBN 978-1-76052-974-1 S$29.00


This is the third in my reviews of books about the Thai cave rescue.  To be honest I wouldn't have bought a copy of this book (as it is not available in the UK yet) had I not seen it on the bookshelf of Changi airport in Singapore as I was flying back to the UK after a business trip.  Having some local currency in my pocket and thinking that I might read it on the flight home, I spent the last of my Singapore dollars on this thin (compared to the other books) tome.

The author is an Australian news reporter who covered the unfolding events of June-July 2018 much like the authors of the other two books which I've reviewed.  Massola's style is not sensational (Guttman) nor painstakingly detailed (Cochrane) although he has the habit of things that would happen later as the narrative progresses.  I found this non-linear narrative increasingly irritating as I read through the book and I guess that it would be confusing to anyone unfamiliar with the story.  Like "The Cave" with is written for an Australian audience and I understand that it was the first of the books on the Thai cave rescue to be published - Richard "Harry" Harris (the anaesthetist who sedated the rescued kids) was reading a copy when he visited the UK last December and I agree with him that it sits between "The Boys in the Cave" and "The Cave" in terms of quality.

Massola gives his sources in an appendix and it is evident that he has trawled the media for most of his material (although I understand that Harry Harris supplied details of the sedation that was given to those rescued).  There are the usual errors from relying on third party material and I can now reveal that when the boys were found the divers did have some food on them but saved it for themselves for their trip out - one Mars Bar wouldn't have gone very far spread between 13...

The photos are nothing special - most appear to be screen grabs of video footage and many are of poor quality.  I guess sales will be reflected in it being first to market in Australasia, but I doubt that it will do as well in Europe once it is more generally available.  Did I read it on the flight home?  No - I watched some films!

Offline yrammy

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Re: The Great Cave Rescue (James Massola)
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2019, 08:39:00 am »
Interesting review. I have now read this and The Cave.  I got on better with this. I  am now planning on reading The Boys In The Cave and  we have The Rising Water by  Marc Aronson on order - it is released on 19th March. All these are joining us at the British Caving Library. We are building an archive regarding the rescue. We have newspaper articles and many internet links which where possible I have turned into PDFs.  We are interested in anything relating to the rescue - personal accounts, other books etc.



Thanks Mary

Offline Jenny P

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Re: The Great Cave Rescue (James Massola)
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2019, 12:01:18 pm »
Having now read the first two of the books published and in the middle of reading the third, it is becoming obvious that no one book tells the entire story.  There was so much going on and so many groups of people of different nationalities, that it is inevitable that the emphasis in each book will be slightly different, depending very much on which contacts the writer had.  This is particularly in evidence where the writers were attached to a press corps and had access to different official foreign groups, e.g. the US or Australian Military personnel, as well as access to the parents of the trapped children.

Worth noting that an extremely good personal account is that by Martin Ellis in the Shepton Mallet C. C. Journal, V13, no.9.  Martin includes an astonishing list of references, which we are in the process of obtaining for the British Caving Library.  These range from articles in scientific and medical journals, press reports from around the world and official reports from Thai government sources.  Martin also includes a definitive diary of events and complete lists of those directly involved at the "sharp end" in Thailand and the BCRC personnel directly involved in Britain in coordinating the British element of the rescuers.

Not least of these official reports is one from the Thai Department of Mineral Resources, which contains a number of accurate maps, surveys, statistics, etc. illustrating the effects of the rescue on the local area, including the astonishing amount of water which was pumped out of the cave and inundated areas which would not have normally been affected by the annual monsoon flooding of the cave.


Offline yrammy

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Re: The Great Cave Rescue (James Massola)
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2019, 11:09:23 am »
Looking forward to the arrival of this one tomorrow - I have no idea what to expect! 


Uan, the fat ghost living inside the Tham Luang Cave complex in the Mountain of the Sleeping Lady in Chiang Rai, Thailand, narrates a story that blends (true) local Thai legends with the facts from the international cave rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team.
This is the first complete book ever written and published about the boys trapped in the Tham Luang Cave in Thailand.

This novel is based on a true story. Carefree and adventure seeking, the Wild Boars soccer team enters the Tham Luang Cave complex in the Mountain of the Sleeping Lady in Chiang Rai, Thailand on June 23rd. When the monsoon rains hit, the cave floods. The boys are trapped by the Sleeping Lady's daughter Angie. As the local search grows into an international incident, the lives of the five long-term resident ghosts in the cave change forever. Imagine having been in the cave with the boys. The fat ghost, Uan, narrating the tale was there. He leads the boys to drinking water.

Uan conducts dangerous recon flights from the ledge where the boys are stranded to Pattaya Beach, Sam Yak, and the cave's entrance while traveling the boys' only viable escape route. Can Uan stop his murderous cousin Ton who demands a human sacrifice? Can Uan save the boys from Angie? As the rescue continues, the cave's other ghosts are troubled by Uan's reports of cave divers.

When the Sleeping Lady awakens, all hell breaks loose. Uan is forced into a tragic negotiation with Angie and her mother in a last-ditch effort to save the boys. The ultimate sacrifice and heroism by a Thai Navy SEAL during the rescue effort is heartbreaking.