The will to live is the connecting thread that holds together these dramatic and moving true stories of man's indomitability. Written over the years, some of these have appeared in slightly different form in the New Yorker and in Life Magazine. The sum total has terrific impact; it ""cries havoc"" with that most powerful of all confrontations -- portraits of men under duress largely imposed by men of ill will. Hersey has covered a wide range of challenges to exist against odds:- the concentration camps of World War II; Hiroshima; flood; escape from impending disaster; combat fatigue; mutilation and the return to ""normal"" life- these cover a few of the situations. The strength of the book is in the selection of material. None of these people are the stuff of which heroes are ordinarily presumed to be made. They are ordinary people who did not know their own strength. But the situations in which they found themselves tapped inner strengths. Hersey's hope is that the book will provide a warning to avoid deliberate courting of such challenges. While John Hersey has turned largely to fiction in recent years, his early success came in the field of journalism. This is first rate journalism with the added factor of compassion, insight and the skilled craftsmanship of an experienced storyteller.