Aronson sheds light on the intricate rescue of 12 soccer players and their coach who were stranded in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand in June 2018.
Written efficiently as a time log, the narrative first explains that the Moo Pa, or Wild Boar, soccer team was composed of young boys with diverse ethnic and legal statuses in Thailand. The introduction of the team includes respectful explanations of the “stateless” or “undocumented” status of some of the players. Although they were exploring the Tham Luang cave during the dry season, unexpected rains trapped the boys in what quickly became one of the world’s top five most dangerous caves when it flooded. Because of the difficult diving conditions, expert cave divers from around the world quickly assembled to offer aid. However, rising water, the boys’ lack of diving skills, and forecasts of impending rain created dismal odds for a successful rescue. It took workers from several countries who momentarily dropped all barriers to pull off this incredible feat. Despite the concise narration, the gravity of the rescue is never dampened. Aronson is mindful in his descriptions of differences in cultures and takes care not to filter them through Western assumptions. He also includes a chapter openly describing gaps in his research and account due to key players’ personal or political biases. A list of the people involved and their respective organizations are provided as well as photos, a detailed index, and bibliography.
Solid writing preserves the natural rising suspense and astonishing details of this rescue. (Nonfiction. 10-14)