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At the Edge: Daring Acts in Desperate Times

by Larry Verstraete

At the Edge looks at people who have found themselves in severe crises and how they reacted. Throughout these  22 stories from the Rwandan genocide, Second World War concentration camps, Tiananmen Square, and elsewhere, Larry Verstraete (author of Survivors!, Lost Treasures, and Accidental Discoveries) asks the important questions about what someone pushed to the edge would do: “Hide or escape? Resist or submit? Stay and help or flee to safety?”

The range of stories is impressive, and Verstraete organizes them into four broad categories: At the Edge of Disaster, At the Edge of Terror, At the Edge of Injustice, and At the Edge of the Impossible. His subjects include a young Iranian girl who fought against strict Muslim rule under the Ayatollah Khomeini, two men who tried to float a balloon from East Germany to West Germany before the fall of the Iron Curtain, a man who survived an accident in the Peruvian Andes, and Terry Fox.

Verstraete does a nice job of relating not only the facts of each tale, but also the emotional and psychological context, infusing each account with his own take on how the actions of his subjects pushed them through pain, suffering, or great risk.

At the Edge is an easy to read, inspiring book that any young reader with a taste for adventure and inspirational tales will enjoy.