Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert

Marc Aronson. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-4169-1397-9
Aronson marks the one-year anniversary of the collapse of a Chilean copper mine that entombed miners for more than two months with a riveting, in-depth recounting of the events that held the world rapt. His fluid narrative begins with a brief eyewitness account of the cave-in before contextualizing the disaster. Initial chapters cover mine layout and terminology, as well as prehistoric geology (and how it helped form Chile's Atacama Desert) and the mythology of the blacksmith god, Hephaistos, who "creates the tool the hero needs, and yet he is lame, ugly, a figure of fun." Aronson (Sugar Changed the World) smartly links this ancient pejorative attitude to contemporary ones toward mining despite reliance on its products, drawing on cultural connections between the underground world and hell, Hades, etc. Twelve short chapters with photos and diagrams keep the story well-paced as it alternates between above- and below-ground scenes, detailing the heroic efforts of the trapped men, their waiting families, and their rescuers, sometimes on an hour-by-hour basis. Extensive author and source notes, a bibliography, and suggested reading leave plenty for readers to explore. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
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