David Breashears has climbed Mt. Everest four times. For this, he is known as a world-class mountaineer. A lengthy career in documentary filmmaking--including the Imax film, Everest
--has earned him wide acclaim and four Emmy awards. For this, he is known as one of the elite cinematographers in his field. But his new autobiography, High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Other High Places
, proves he is more than a climber and a filmmaker; he is also an able writer.
Breashears has no lack of good material. We follow him through the stunning backdrops of Yosemite, Europe, Nepal, and Tibet, brushing up against triumphs and tragedies along the way. And while the nuts and bolts of his adventures are entertainment enough, his knack for building suspense and employing understated drama makes his autobiography read like a novel: "The morning was sunny and calm, and Rob looked as though he'd lain down on his side and fallen asleep. Around him the undisturbed snow sparkled in the sun. I stared at his bare left hand ... I wondered what a mountaineer with Rob's experience was doing without a glove."
Breashears also likes to remind his audience of humble beginnings surmounted: his early climbing days when he was known as "the kid," and a winter he spent sleeping under a sheet of plywood during the Wyoming oil boom when he was called "the worm." But mostly he documents his filmmaking career and climbing passion, both of which he approaches with an obsessive fervor. Readers interested in either pursuit will find High Exposure a fascinating traverse across the spine of the world. --Ben Tiffany
From Publishers Weekly
Possibly the most interesting aspect of this book is how improbable it seems that Breashears (Mountain Without Mercy) ever lived to write it. An accomplished alpinist, Breashears not only recounts his numerous, dicey ascents of the planets peaks but also explores his motivation for doing so. Though he is an experienced cinematographer whose past employers range from PBS to Hollywood, Breashears is most widely known as the director of the IMAX film Everest. While filming the movie, Breashears and his crew were fortunate to avoid the unforgiving storm at the mountains summit that led to the death of eight people and was chronicled in Jon Krakauers Into Thin Air. Breashears uses that tragic season on Everest as a frame for a personal memoir. The focus is on how he stepped out of the shadow of his violent military father and discovered his passions for climbing and filmmaking. Some of his psychology is simplistic, but there is no doubt that Breashears is as serious about understanding his actions as he is about succeeding in them. And there is no shortage of action, whether he is scaling a 1000-foot vertical rock or narrowly escaping being swept off a cliff by a runaway tonnage of snow. Though at times the book is self-aggrandizing, a little ego can be tolerated in this largely engrossing work, and is, perhaps, only to be expected from someone who has four times scrabbled up the ice and rocks of Everest to reach the top of the world. 16 pages full-color photos not seen by PW. Major ad/promo; appearances on Larry King Live and Today; first serial to Mens Journal.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.