Thirteen boys were stuck in Tham Luang, one of the biggest caves in Thailand, on June 23, 2018. Their escape was thought impossible by most people. However, the tireless work of divers, farmers, shop owners, medics, scientists, and monks all made this seemingly impossible rescue possible.

This book, All Thirteen, by Christina Soontornvat, goes in depth about what happened and how the boys got out. The book was one of the best books I’ve read during this coronavirus shutdown.

Soontornvat gives us a different perspective. In her book, we get to see what Thai people were doing to help instead of all the white people that were the international face of the rescue operation. We get to read about local resident Ay who ran around feeding and getting supplies for the rescue operation. We get to read about the Thai divers and the Thai Navy Seals who spent countless hours with the boys playing chess in the sand and entertaining them to stay happy while a rescue plan was worked on.

I highly recommend this book. The way it’s told and all the different things about Thai culture in it make it very fun and entertaining. Soontornvat does a really good job making the book very easy to read. Things that you would think would be complicated or hard to understand are explained due to the Soontornvats’ clear writing style.

As a Thai American who recently spent a year in Chiang Mai, I appreciated seeing Thai heroes in action. In order to help the rescue, hundreds of Thai farmers who lost their fields due to the excavation of rivers and ponds, refused to be paid. Soontornvat shows the generosity, commitment, and sacrifice of the Thai people. 

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