But Todhunter pulls it off. In prose that is as exacting as the rock and as graceful as a fine-tuned route, he miraculously transforms Osman's avocation into a reasonable and even artistic profession. The detailed climbing sequences make for compulsive reading, and the author's evocations of Osman's craft will convince even the most ardent flatlander of the endeavor's inherent sanity. What's more, once off the steep pitches, we glimpse a young man strangely vulnerable: trying to win extra cash from sponsors, cobbling together a nontraditional family life, and struggling to maintain his eminence in a sport in which the envelope is pushed further every day.
More than a profile of a climber and his métier, though, Fall of the Phantom Lord is also a personal meditation on fear and its management. Each move in a serious climber's shoes represents the possibility of sudden harm, and for the free climber--the true ascetic in the bunch--a bad mistake up high is almost certainly fatal. Reflecting on his own daredevil past, Todhunter measures the moral obligations of adulthood--and in his case, approaching fatherhood--against the satisfaction of outmaneuvering fate. Into the narrative he seamlessly interweaves tales of his extreme pursuits and near-death experiences (motorcycle wrecks, scuba diving miscues, and abandoned mountaineering expeditions). Pondering a rope jump with Osman, the author discovers he cannot shrug off his responsibilities: "Part of me wants to shake [Osman], to shout, 'You've got a daughter, man! Wake up!' ... I try to remember why I jumped from the cliff at Cave Rock, and the emotion--the extraordinary clarity--that it left me with, but I cannot. And part of me wonders, 'What happened? How did I become afraid?'" While he cannot fully resolve this conflict, Todhunter goes a long way toward delineating the lure of danger for those who chase it. --Langdon Cook --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
`Fall of the Phantom Lord', rather than being a traditional biography of Dan Osman, leans more towards being a memoir of the authors time spent with Osman. Read morePublished on January 29, 2011 by Spider Monkey
The book is easy to follow and is interesting, but it's not entirely about Dan Osman, around half of it is just autobiography of the writer itself. Read morePublished on February 19, 2007 by M. Doroudi
That's what I got from the authors take on Dan Osman. The title leads you to believe it's about Dan. That's wrong most of the time. Read morePublished on April 17, 2001 by Tommy in Jersey
If you are expecting a biography of Dan Osman, this really isn't it. Although the author gives details of Osman's life, the book is really about the author's own journey;... Read morePublished on September 5, 2000 by Steve
I just picked up the new paperback version, with the author's tribute to don osman written after his tragic fall. Read morePublished on February 2, 2000
Dano and I climbed for years together . His ability to teach was untouched by any climber I had climbed with. Read morePublished on December 30, 1999 by Michael S. travis
I bought this book with a desire to learn more about the mind behind the man, Dan Osman. I read the book prior to Osman's accidental death rope jumping in Yosemite. Read morePublished on December 10, 1999 by "steelmonkey"
Todhunter's book is well written and gripping. In the light of Osman's subsequent death, it's tempting to read foreshadowings of doom into the story: Does Osman's forgetting an... Read morePublished on December 7, 1999 by K. Freeman
I read this book about 6 weeks ago, lured in by the cover blurb that promised an adventure story like Into Thin Air or The Perfect Storm. Read morePublished on September 17, 1999