“Everything in the news is bad,” is a common complaint these days. “Why can’t we ever hear good news?” Well, probably because a lot of “good news” is boring or at least on the bland side. For instance, would you read a story about your local post office simply existing day after day – surely a “good news” story - or would you be more apt to read about your local post office blowing up?
An exception to the national media “bad news” fare can be found in regional magazines like Yankee Magazine. We tend to feature the joys of hiking in the White Mountains or sailing through Eggemogin Reach into Blue Hill Bay, Maine, or dining by the fire in a cozy Vermont Inn. People featured in Yankee are more apt to be about overcoming adversity. Not so much suffering it. They successfully deal with life in interesting, inspirational ways and, sure, that inevitably becomes a “good news” story. And, no, with good writing and editing it needn’t be bland nor boring, either.
However, an accumulation of good news stories in one issue of Yankee can sometimes scream out for some excitement. Something which will provide a bit of an edge. Something, to be perfectly frank, that’s absolutely terrifying. The contrast such a story provides to all the “feel good” material does wonders for the balance of the issue as a whole. In other words, at least in my opinion, it completes the overall reading experience.
So the eight true stories in the book you’re about to read served that purpose in Yankee Magazine. Each one is, indeed, absolutely terrifying. Are you ready for that?
Can you imagine cutting off your own leg with a chain saw in order to save your life? Can you picture yourself hanging upside down outside an airplane’s open door thousands of feet above the Atlantic Ocean? Would you, immersed in a deadly gas leak, give up your facemask to save another? Is it possible to imagine losing your way inside a huge, totally dark burning warehouse, knowing there can be no rescue?
I’ll warn you that there is a total of eight deaths in these true stories – seven really good guys and one bad guy. Lots of true heroes, of course. But that’s all we’re going to say here. Best you now simply screw up your courage to the sticking point and read on…
Judson D. Hale, Sr.
Editor-in-Chief, Yankee Magazine