Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Prime Music Sweepstakes egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty Deals Gifts for Her Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Cyber Monday Video Game Deals Shop Now DOTD
Into Thin Air and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster Mass Market Paperback – August 25, 2009

2,682 customer reviews

See all 74 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback, August 25, 2009
$7.99 $0.01

"Boys in the Trees: A Memoir" by Carly Simon
Simon's memoir reveals her remarkable life as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of publishing giant Simon and Schuster, her musical debut as half of The Simon Sisters and her solo career that would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the #1 song "You're So Vain." See Details

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews Review

"Intrinsically irrational" is how Jon Krakauer characterizes the compulsion to climb Mount Everest in his audiobook Into Thin Air. The highly publicized fates of the May 1996 Everest expeditions, including the tragic loss of 12 lives, seem to bear out Krakauer's statement. Listening to Krakauer read his own account of the events in this unabridged version adds a uniquely intimate and thought-provoking dimension to the tragedy. Although Krakauer reads his account with journalistic professionalism, it's impossible to forget that you are listening to someone unburdening himself of a great weight, an unburdening that sometimes nearly approaches a confession.

Since the 1980s, more and more "marginally qualified dreamers" have attempted the ascent of Everest, as guided commercial expeditions have dangled the possibility of reaching the roof of the world in front of anyone wealthy enough to pay for the privilege. In 1996, Outside magazine asked Krakauer, a frequent contributor, to write a piece on the commercialization of Everest, and Krakauer signed on as a member of New Zealander Rob Hall's expedition. The disastrous outcome of the 1996 expedition forced Krakauer to write a very different article.

Those who read Krakauer's book may wonder whether the audiobook can possibly shed more light on the unfortunate events. It does. Krakauer's chronicle is chilling and horrifying. He recounts with excruciating detail the physical and mental cost of such a climb. Even under the best of circumstances, each step up the ice-clad mountain is monumentally exhausting, and the oxygen-deprived brain loses the ability to make reliable judgements. And on May 10, 1996, when Hall's expedition and several others made their summit assault, the conditions were far from ideal. The mountain was so "crowded" that climbers had to wait their turn near the summit while their bottled oxygen dwindled by the minute. By afternoon a blinding hurricane-force storm had stranded a number of climbers on the highest, most exposed reaches of the mountain.

By writing and reading Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons and lay to rest some of the painful questions that still surround the event. He takes great pains to provide a balanced picture of the people and events he witnessed and gives due credit to the tireless and dedicated Sherpas. He also avoids blasting easy targets such as Sandy Pittman, the wealthy socialite who brought an espresso maker along on the expedition. Krakauer's highly personal inquiry into the catastrophe provides a great deal of insight into what went wrong. But for Krakauer himself, further interviews and investigations only lead him to the conclusion that his perceived failures were directly responsible for a fellow climber's death. Clearly, Krakauer remains haunted by the disaster, and although he relates a number of incidents in which he acted selflessly and even heroically, he seems unable to view those instances objectively. In the end, despite his evenhanded and even generous assessment of others' actions, he reserves a full measure of vitriol for himself. (Running time: 467 minutes; six tapes) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Heroism and sacrifice triumph over foolishness, fatal error, and human frailty in this bone-chilling narrative in which the author recounts his experiences on last year's ill-fated, deadly climb. Thrilling armchair reading.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307475255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307475251
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,682 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #783,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jon Krakauer grew up in Corvallis, Oregon, where his father introduced him to mountaineering as an 8-year-old. In 1999, upon presenting him with an Academy Award in Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters declared, "Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer. His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind."

Photos documenting Krakauer's books and non-writing life can be viewed on his personal Instagram account:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

328 of 354 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on July 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I first read "Into Thin Air" right after it was first published five years ago. It haunted me at the time, and it continues to do so today. By now, the story has been told so many times and by so many different people that it hard to remember that Krakauer's original account is the one that made it famous to begin with. Were it not for his incredible abilities as a storyteller, it is doubtful that anyone outside the world of mountaineering would remember what happened at the peak of Everest in that fateful May of 1996.
Krakauer's account is so compelling because it reads like a book length confession, which it is in a sense. The author worked through his very considerable feelings of survivor's guilt in the book's pages. His descriptions and not inconsiderable opinions have become legendary. For example, how many people read of AOL Chairman Robert Pittman's recent outster from the company and remembered him as the husband of Sandra Hill Pittman, who personified the rich amature climber who buys their way to the top of the world's tallest peak and who has no business being there? Krakauer's descriptions of Mrs. Pittman on the mountain are an example of his simple but devastating observations.
Krakauer's highly readable prose make the book read like fiction, probably another reason why it was so popular. He signed on for the Everest climb intending to write a standard mountaineering magazine article. That he chose the fateful May 1996 climb is simply a rare case of someone being at the wrong place at precisely the right time. Though it caused him plenty of personal torment, it also allowed him to write a story for the ages.
Overall, "Into Thin Air" fantastic storytelling make it one of the best non-fiction books published in the last decade or so.
20 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
118 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Kelly L. Norman VINE VOICE on June 19, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even if you already know the story of the deadly Mt. Everest expeditions of 1996, you will appreciate Jon Krakauer's own first person account of the Adventure Consultants and the Mountain Madness groups. Both of these expeditions were led by well-seasoned Everest climbers---Rob Hall from New Zealand and Scott Fischer from the States--and had the aid of expert guides, Sherpas from Nepal and "outsiders". But we soon find that even these experienced people are not immune from the human frailties of greed, denial and self-serving. Those Achilles' heels will cause both expeditions to completely fall apart. At the same time, human error combined with the unforgiving terrors of high altitude climbing sets the scene for heroism in many of the climbers and crew.
Krakauer, a journalist who signed on with Hall's expedition to do a story for Outside magazine, doesn't disappoint as weaver of a tale. I took the book everywhere with me while reading it, always eager to find out what would happen next.
If a book that explores deftly our desire to reach an unreachable summit appeals to you....especially when that book does not shy away from the tragedy caused when the desire to reach it undoes common sense and humanity....I highly recommend "Into Thin Air."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
93 of 102 people found the following review helpful By ninjasuperstar on November 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By and large, the negative reviews posted here have little to do with the quality of this book and almost everything to do with the presumed character of the writer, Jon Krakauer. Similarly, those who dislike Krakauer's Into the Wild tend to focus their judgment of the book's worth on their own feelings regarding the essay's subject, Christopher McCandless, the young man who traveled the Western United States and Mexico for two years before perishing in Alaska. I read Krakauer differently. I am not interested in Krakauer's liberal politics, his emotional instability, and variable maturity. I am not interested in whether he portrays the absolute truth in his account of the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster for the simple fact that I don't believe the truth can be told. Writing is a very poor substitute for a frostbitten finger or a hypoxic head. All we have is Krakauer's writing, so let's look at what he does as a writer.

Krakauer is a sensationalist journalist, and since he reports on dangerous and near-death experiences regularly, he really can't help being grandiose and spectacular. The subject of his writing demands that he ratchet up the emotional power of his style and word choice. And let's be honest--don't we, as readers, demand it of him as well? Don't we want a voyeuristic and graphic account, where the size, the shape, and the smell of death seem to lift from the pages? Who wants to read about a mountain climbing disaster sans the emotion and the ego it takes to put one's self unnecessarily into such perilous situations?
Read more ›
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
148 of 166 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Having never understood why people climb mountains, and after seeing Beck Weathers on
television last year, I bought INTO THIN AIR in order to gain more insight. Krakauer delivered.

Have some time on your hands, because once you begin reading Jon's story depicting the turn of
events throughout his journey on Everest in the Spring of '96, you won't be able to stop reading until you've read the last word in his book. This account of summitting Everest is a page turner even though the outcome is old news. It will leave you wanting to know more about other attempts made
on Everest, both failed and successful.

For those who don't understand why on earth anyone would want to do something as dangerous as
climbing "Into Thin Air" on rock and ice ... this book answers that curiosity. Because Jon introduces his readers to the backgrounds and personalities of the main characters in his book, we can better comprehend the different reasons people spend thousands of dollars and two or more months of their lives in "hell" on a mountain - freezing and injured - 'just to get to the top'. We learn through Krakauer why they continue their ascent even though the conditions are pure torture and more life threatening with each step; why they don't give it up once they've lost feeling in their extremities, separated their ribs, lost their vision, can no longer breathe due to oxygen depleted air, why they don't turn back even when they see the dead who've attempted to reach the summit on prior expeditions. You'll understand because of Krakauer's talent as a writer ... his ability to replay his emotions, his thoughts, his experiences, and his opinions through writing.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse