The most recommended books about airplane crashes

Who picked these books? Meet our 17 experts.

17 authors created a book list connected to airplane crashes, and here are their favorite airplane crash books.
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Book cover of Dear Edward

Mary Helen Sheriff Author Of Boop and Eve's Road Trip

From Mary Helen's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Marketer Teacher Coach Traveler

Mary Helen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Mary Helen Sheriff Why did Mary Helen love this book?

Napolitano puts words together so beautifully that sometimes I had to pause the audiobook so I could take a minute to reflect on and admire her turns of phrase. Sometimes writing like that can get bogged down, but that isn’t the case with this book.

The variety of characters and voices and the toying with the timeline kept me intrigued and wanting more. Though the story is tragic, the themes of love, friendship, and hope resonate. 

By Ann Napolitano,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Dear Edward as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A transcendent coming-of-age story about the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles: there are 192 people aboard. When the plane suddenly crashes, twelve-year-old Edward Adler is the sole survivor.

In the aftermath, Edward struggles to make sense of his grief, sudden fame and find his place in a world without his family. But then Edward and his neighbour Shay make a startling discovery; hidden in his uncle's garage are letters from the relatives of other passengers - all addressed him.…


Book cover of Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home

Grace Ly Author Of Tent for Seven: A Camping Adventure Gone South Out West

From my list on appreciating common comforts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have hiked mountains in North Korea, slept outside in the Sahara Desert, ridden elephants in Thailand, dogsledded across the Arctic Circle, ridden camels through the Gobi Desert, floated in the Dead Sea, run with the bulls in Spain, hang glided over New Zealand, explored the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam, visited Buddhist temples in South Korea, and caught a glimpse of Nessie while on a boat ride around Loch Ness. I’ve spent most of my career working with the military. I also accepted a presidential appointment at the White House and served as an undercover officer for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Grace's book list on appreciating common comforts

Grace Ly Why did Grace love this book?

This book is very disturbing. Well, not the book, but the behavior of the survivors. I felt like I was reading about some sick psychological test in human behavior and the results were troubling.

I just can’t get over the fact that the majority of the survivors chose to stay put and eat the bodies of their dead friends instead of trying to get help. The decisions these survivors made will haunt me for a long time. I cannot help but wonder what choices I would have made, and I pray to God I will never find out. 

By Nando Parrado, Vince Rause,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Miracle in the Andes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In October 1972, Nando Parrado and his rugby club teammates were on a flight from Uruguay to Chile when their plane crashed into a mountain. Miraculously, many of the passengers survived but Nando's mother and sister died and he was unconscious for three days.

Stranded more than 11,000 feet up in the wilderness of the Andes, the survivors soon heard that the search for them had been called off - and realise the only food for miles around was the bodies of their dead friends ...

In a last desperate bid for safety, Nando and a teammate set off in…


Book cover of Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors

Vanessa Lee Author Of High Rise

From my list on celebrating the bravery of everyday heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Australian writer living in Europe. Returning to my hometown on the East Coast of Australia post-COVID, I confronted relentless rain and king tides threatening the beach promenade cafes. Witnessing the potential demise of these familiar spots sparked the idea for my novel. Opening with a dystopian scene of future tourists exploring submerged coastal cafes with snorkels, my work delves into the realm of "cli-fi" (climate fiction). Against the backdrop of imminent climate danger, my characters, a lovable yet obstinate Australian ensemble, navigate a world profoundly altered by the impacts of climate change. I hope what I have written is an exaggeration. I fear it may not be.

Vanessa's book list on celebrating the bravery of everyday heroes

Vanessa Lee Why did Vanessa love this book?

I first heard about this story of extraordinary heroism while listening to a podcast interview with one of the survivors of a plane crash in 1972.

The plane was carrying an entire football team and their families between Uruguay and Chile. A search party could not find them in the icy ridges of the Andes, and it came down to two of the survivors who, despite malnutrition and the extreme weather and terrain, made a days-long trek to find help. Thanks to them, the remaining survivors could be located and rescued.

While many readers might shudder at the lengths the group went to in order to survive (cannibalism), what shone for me was the selflessness of the two survivors who trekked for days to find help.

By Piers Paul Read,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On October 12, 1972, a plane carrying a team of young rugby players crashed into the remote, snow-peaked Andes. Out of the forty-five original passengers and crew, only sixteen made it off the mountain alive. For ten excruciating weeks they suffered deprivations beyond imagining, confronting nature head-on at its most furious and inhospitable. And to survive, they were forced to do what would have once been unthinkable ...

This is their story -- one of the most astonishing true adventures of the twentieth century.


Book cover of Zeppelin Hindenburg: An Illustrated History of LZ-129

Alexander Rose Author Of Empires of the Sky: Zeppelins, Airplanes, and Two Men's Epic Duel to Rule the World

From my list on Zeppelin airships.

Why am I passionate about this?

A long time ago, I was an early-aviation historian, but eventually realized that I knew only half the story—the part about airplanes. But what about airships? Initially, I assumed, like so many others, that they were a flash-in-the-pan, a ridiculous dead-end technology, but then I realized these wondrous giants had roamed and awed the world for nearly four decades. There was a bigger story here of an old rivalry between airplanes and airships, one that had since been forgotten, and Empires of the Sky was the result.

Alexander's book list on Zeppelin airships

Alexander Rose Why did Alexander love this book?

A magnificently illustrated guide to the Hindenburg, written and compiled by three airship experts, this book is an amazing resource, not just for its selection of extremely rare photos but for the depth of knowledge that’s contained within. I would say that if you’re going to buy a single book specifically about the Hindenburg, I’d make it this one. It’ll tell you pretty much everything you need to impress people at parties while also introducing you to the Wide World of Zeppelin.

By Dan Grossman, Cheryl Ganz, Patrick Russell

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zeppelin Hindenburg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ON 6 MAY 1937 the pioneering Zeppelin Hindenburg, LZ-129, ended its career in flames when its hydrogen lifting gas ignited while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. But the airship had already completed sixty-two successful flights before this fateful day, catering to Nazi officials, socialites and the well-heeled. Hindenburg offered cutting-edge transport technology with luxury and style, making it a spectacle to behold on both sides of the Atlantic, and was expected to be just the first of many giant passenger Zeppelins.

In this revised edition with additional material, three world-renowned experts have collaborated to create the definitive history of the…


Book cover of All Fall Down

James Tarr Author Of Bestiarii

From my list on technically accurate thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For people who know something about a technical field, there is nothing that can ruin a book or movie faster than inaccuracies about that field. I’ve worked as an armored car driver, police officer, and private investigator in and around Detroit, and have been writing for outdoor magazines for close to twenty years, so not only do I know a lot about the featured subjects/characters of most thrillers, I care about how accurately they’re portrayed, and have brought that passion to my writing. I’ve written five thrillers set in Detroit, many of them featuring a private investigator, and when writing Bestiarii and its sequels did extensive research on dinosaurs.

James' book list on technically accurate thrillers

James Tarr Why did James love this book?

This novel, released in 1994, was one of The New York Times’ Notable Books of the Year, but these days, unfortunately few people have heard of it. 

A thriller about a terrorist holding the entire American air traffic control system hostage, this novel stood out because of how accurate all the details of the U.S. ATC were—details Gruenfeld had become aware of while pursuing a pilot’s license. 

Rush Limbaugh, an avid fan of aviation, raved about the book on his #1 rated radio show, and that’s where I heard about it.

By Lee Gruenfeld,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Fall Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the near-crash of a passenger plane, the responsible party demands five million in cash to prevent worse accidents, and former NTSB investigator and Naval officer Jack Webster and combat pilot Bo Kincaid are partnered to investigate--if they can trust each other


Book cover of Flight MH370: The Mystery

Jane Finch Author Of The Black Widows

From my list on based on actual facts more bizarre than fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jane Finch lives in Norfolk, England and is married with one son. Jane has travelled extensively and has also lived in Canada, Spain, and the Caribbean. Having spent over twenty-five years working in English Law, Jane decided to try her hand at writing crime thrillers. Her first novel, Due Process, is based in her hometown in Norfolk. Her book, The Black Widows, published by Solstice Publishing, reached the top ten of Amazon’s crime thriller list. Jane is a member of International Thriller Writers Inc. Now retired, Jane is free to write full-time, when inspired to do so, although she says, None of my friends tell me anything anymore because they know I’ll write about it!”

Jane's book list on based on actual facts more bizarre than fiction

Jane Finch Why did Jane love this book?

A mystery that confounds the world. How can a flight completely disappear? There are several conspiracy theories and ideas but the truth is – no one really knows what happened and probably never will. This book sets out the facts and leaves the reader to decide and it will have you mulling over the endless possibilities. The facts are troubling and the theories continue. Every time I board a plane I think of Flight MH370 and what those passengers must have endured. Bad enough as fiction but to realise it’s true is devastating.

By Nigel Cawthorne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flight MH370 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 8 March, 00:41, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. At 01:19, the pilot bid air traffic control 'good night'. Two minutes later, the plane and its 227 passengers vanished from the skies. No trace has been found. The disappearance of flight MH370 has horrified people across the globe. In an age where a stolen smartphone can be pinpointed to any location on earth, the vanishing of a cruise liner and 227 passengers is the greatest mystery since the Mary Celeste. Experienced author and journalist Nigel Cawthorne has researched the case with incredible thoroughness, revealing…


Book cover of His Majesty's Airship: The Life and Tragic Death of the World's Largest Flying Machine

John J. Geoghegan Author Of When Giants Ruled the Sky: The Brief Reign and Tragic Demise of the American Rigid Airship

From John's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Journalist Airship enthusiast White elephant technology expert Editor

John's 3 favorite reads in 2023

John J. Geoghegan Why did John love this book?

Few Americans are aware of the grandiose ambitions of Great Britain’s Imperial Airship Scheme or its tragic consequences.

Gwynne does a terrific job recapturing all the glamour and folly involved in this important but little-known undertaking. Designed to connect England’s major colonies, including Canada, Africa, Australia, and India, by regularly scheduled airship travel, the Imperial Airship schemed resulted in two gigantic, big-rigid airships: the R100 and R101. One set out and successfully completed a transatlantic trip to Canada and back, promising great things to come, while her sister ship embarked on a voyage from England to India a few months later with Titanic-like consequences.

Reads like an aerial Poseidon Adventure, only it’s all true. Comes with my money-back-guarantee of satisfaction!

By S C Gwynne,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked His Majesty's Airship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Empire of the Summer Moon comes a stunning historical tale of the rise and fall of the world’s largest airship—and the doomed love story between an ambitious British officer and a married Romanian Princess at its heart.

The tragic story of the British airship R101—which went down in a spectacular hydrogen-fueled fireball in 1930, killing more people than died in the Hindenburg disaster seven years later—has been largely forgotten. In His Majesty’s Airship, historian S.C. Gwynne resurrects it in vivid detail, telling the epic story of great ambition gone terribly wrong.…


Book cover of The Last Flight

Cara Bristol Author Of Alien With Benefits

From Cara's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Outspoken introvert Voracious reader World traveler Homebody

Cara's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Cara Bristol Why did Cara love this book?

When Claire’s abusive, powerful politician husband sends her out of town, she intends to use the opportunity to leave him and disappear. But a last-minute itinerary change foils her plans and alerts her husband that she intends to leave him.

In a chance encounter, she meets Eva, who is also looking to escape. Thinking they can solve each other’s problem, the two women swap identities and tickets and board the other’s plane. But Eva’s plane crashes, leaving no survivors. Claire realizes the tragedy might be her true ticket to freedom —until she discovers the secrets Eva left behind.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page. Everything about The Last Flight is top-notch: the plot, the twists, the characters, the pacing, the setting details, and the writing. I was sorry when I finished reading it.

By Julie Clark,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Flight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY BESTSELLER, & INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER!
"The Last Flight is thoroughly absorbing-not only because of its tantalizing plot and deft pacing, but also because of its unexpected poignancy and its satisfying, if bittersweet, resolution. The characters get under your skin."-The New York Times Book Review
Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.
Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is…


Book cover of On the Island

Paige Weaver Author Of Promise Me Darkness

From my list on romance that stays with you after the last page.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read many different genres, but my favorite to write and read is romance. I love ones that have angst, adventure, danger, and a passionate push and pull between the love interests. Those seem to stick with me long after I turn the last page. In my own writing, I like to do the same, giving readers a love story they want to visit again and again. The books I’ve listed are just some of the wonderful, unforgettable novels I’ve read, and I hope you enjoy them too! Happy reading!

Paige's book list on romance that stays with you after the last page

Paige Weaver Why did Paige love this book?

Tracey Garvis Graves writes amazing, deeply moving books. I have read everything she publishes and recommend them constantly.

This one was her first and it has stayed with me ever since I read it. Two people, a plane crash, and a deserted island. Talk about different! I couldn’t put it down! What it took to survive and the forbidden love that develops is a story that stayed with me for a long time. If you are a romance novel addict, this novel should be on your shelf, and I know it will become one of your all-time favorites. I can’t say enough about this book or its wonderful, creative author.

By Tracey Garvis Graves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It would always be summer on the island . . .

THE EMOTIONALLY GRIPPING AND ADDICTIVE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'I cannot put into words the love I have for Anna and T.J. I felt as though I was right there with them' 5***** Reader Review
'I'd give this more than 5 stars if I could! Will stay with me for a very long time' 5***** Reader Review
_________

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's holiday home in the Maldives, she immediately accepts.

T.J. wishes he weren't going. Almost…


Book cover of The Unlimited Dream Company

Martin B. Reed Author Of The Hammond Conjecture: The Third Reich meets the Swinging Sixties, cyberpunk meets neuroscience, in a comic meta-thriller

From my list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a student in 1968-71 (see photo) and the memories of that vanished world still haunt me. When I was supposed to be studying relativity and topology I was reading Blake and Jung, Marcuse and Mao—all misfits in their own way. After a long and undistinguished career as a mathematics lecturer in far-flung locations—Lesotho, New Guinea, Uxbridge—I retired in 2019 to write speculative comic fiction which would bring the Swinging Sixties back to life. Something of a misfit myself, I look at today's world and ask despairingly, “Is this really happening?” The books on my list provide me some solace.

Martin's book list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality

Martin B. Reed Why did Martin love this book?

Published in 1979, but it reads like 1960s psychedelia. The hero, Blake, descends—literally—on the sleepy riverside town of Shepperton (where Ballard himself lived), and conjures it and its inhabitants into a sensual Amazonian Eden. I imagine Ballard walking the streets each day and seeing visions: flamingos perched atop the filling station, orchids overrunning the hardware store, his neighbours throwing off their business suits and coupling naked in their front gardens. Seeing, like his hero’s namesake, "a world in a grain of sand, or heaven in a wildflower." The rich prose, evocative but never repetitive, works the same magic on the reader.  

By J.G. Ballard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unlimited Dream Company as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a new introduction by John Gray and striking new cover from the artist Stanley Donwood, the author of 'Cocaine Nights' brings you the story of suburban London transformed into an exotic dreamworld.

When a light aircraft crashes into the Thames at Shepperton, the young pilot who struggles to the surface minutes later seems to have come back from the dead. Within hours everything in the dormitory suburb is surreally transformed. Vultures invade the rooftops, luxuriant tropical vegetation overruns the quiet avenues, and the local inhabitants are propelled by the young man's urgent visions through ecstatic sexual celebrations towards an…