Why you should care
Because these men and women have done dangerous things so you don’t have to.
Thanks to classics like Treasure Island and blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, the word “pirate” conjures the image of a rugged British man with an eye patch, a parrot and a horrid accent. Yet the world’s most successful buccaneer might have been Chinese — and a woman. Ching Shih instilled fear in the hearts of merchants across the China Sea in the early 19th century. During her relatively short run as a pirate lord — only about a decade — this ruthless and cunning woman went from being a prostitute to commanding the famous Red Flag Fleet and sending hundreds of thousands of men into battle. Read the story here.
After an 800-kilometer flight, an 86-kilometer off-road ride, a five-day canoe trip, a six-day trek and a 15-hour climb into the heart of the Amazon, Sandro Cardoso reached the summit of Brazil’s tallest and most inaccessible mountain, Pico da Neblina. He wanted to do what nobody has done before or since: parachute off. Eight days passed, but the weather never broke. Stricken by hypothermia, exhausted and eating a half-ration of food a day, Cardoso, his indigenous guide and his cameraman finally retreated. “Unlike Bear Grylls, I don’t have a helicopter following me or a support team to call. Nothing is staged,” he says. His expeditions are raw, no filler. Which is why his program is the hottest outdoor show on Brazilian TV. Read the story here.
Being a World War II fighter pilot wasn’t all glamour and bravado, as Hollywood suggests. It meant coaxing a temperamental machine into the air, dodging lethal bits of metal at high speeds and testing one’s physical limits and mental resolve. And for Anna Yegorova, one of the few women to fly alongside men in World War II, that was just the beginning. She became one of the only women in the Soviet Union’s 805th Ground Attack Regiment. In doing so, Yegorova outflew, outgunned and outlived most of the male fighter pilots who took to the skies above World War II’s toughest front. Read the story here.