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Learning to Breathe: One Woman's Journey of Spirit and Survival Hardcover – August 14, 2008


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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Street Press (August 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594630461
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594630460
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,291,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Photojournalist Wright has gone to the ends of the earth, including some mountaintops, in a career that has documented the human wonders of the world, especially resilient children and endangered cultures. In this memoir she turns her lens on herself and her own astonishing story. The victim of a horrific bus crash in Laos in 2000, Wright should have died of her grievous injuries. She survived, and in this book retraces the steps of her journey of physical recovery, spiritual development and literal return to the scene of the crash. An Asia enthusiast, the author was led by work and temperament to Buddhism and some of Asia's most compelling Buddhist figures, including Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi and the Dalai Lama, who contributes a foreword. Wright's editors owe this tale of courage and gratitude more respect in the form of harder editing. The author's spiritual insights are fascinating and should have been teased out more. A chapter set in Australia is an interesting but irrelevant sideshow, and chronology is occasionally confusing. This inspiring story deserves a wide audience and better editing. (Aug. 14) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."

Review

“ Alison Wright is a wonder. I’ve known her for years as an extraordinary photographer and a serious meditator, and I thought I knew her story well. I knew nothing. I didn’t know what a profound writer she also is. Her life is one of a true pilgrim and a seeker of truth. It is a life of exploration, devotion, and transformation by fire. There is muscle and tears here, and the fierce flame of inspiration. She’s the real deal.”
—Richard Gere --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The book is a quick read, one reason for that is "you can't put it down."
KN.
She faced her pain and fears and through her will power and determination she met her future dreams with success.
W. H. McDonald Jr.
This is a book everyone should read - very inspirational whether you need it or not!
J. Lummis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By W. H. McDonald Jr. on October 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Author Alison Wright's book "Learning to Breathe: One Women's Journey of Spirit and Survival" is more than just a personal story - it speaks of the greater self and our ability to find courage and power within. I was truly touched by reading her inspiring story. She takes what happens to her and moves past the pains and the potential hardships and learns something much greater about her own self.

The reader is taken along on this spiritual journey of discovery. Alison is able to communicate her experiences not only in the physical sense of what was happening but also from a point of view that allows the reader to fully sense what she was feeling and thinking. The real story is her inner journey and that is what makes her work so much more powerful.

I bought this book for my older sister to read as a birthday gift and will gift other women in my life with copies as well. I feel that women need to see and read about strong courageous women; and to me, Alison Wright truly represents what a true hero is. She faced her pain and fears and through her will power and determination she met her future dreams with success.

This book is both inspirational and entertaining and will be hard to put down. I read it though in one sitting because I wanted to know the full story and how she came out. The book earns The American Authors Association's highest book rating of FIVE STARS. This book also gets my personal endorsement and fullest recommendations. This book is no doubt one of the top 10 best inspirational books of the last decade.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By asriversflow on June 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was excited to read this book, having an interest both in adventurous women and Buddhism, however, I have to agree with Publishers Weekly that harder editing would have helped.
I was surprised to read that, during Wright's visit to Wat Pa Ban Tat monastery in Thailand described on pages 93-4, a Thai monk would call Wright a 'bodhisattva.' Thai monks belong to the Theravada tradition that uses the term `bodhisattva' to refer only to the past lives of the Buddha, such as those recounted in the Jataka tales. This is a major distinciton between the Theravada and Mahayana traditions. In the Tibetan Mahahyana tradition, however, that Wright is familiar with, both monastics and lay practitioners are referred to as `bodhisattvas' once they have taken vows to deliver all beings.
Another instance that surprised me occurs on page 209. Wright throws out, "Next stop Uganda, to white-water raft the Zambezi River, in hair-raising class five rapids." The Zambezi certainly doesn't flow anywhere near Uganda. It rises in Zambia about 690 miles southwest of Uganda, and flows south through Angola and Zambia to the border with Zimbabwe, and then east to Mozambique and finally to the Indian Ocean.
Wright is a gifted photgrapher dedicated to humanitarian issues. Her story of determination and courage deserved better editing in general. It is often presented in a style that seemed like a rush from here to there in the pursuit of physical recovery. I wished for more of her insights and development as a Buddhist practitioner, especially on her development of lovingkindness on the path of a bodhisattva.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carol J. Horky on August 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This inspiring memoir could have been so much better if the author or her editor knew how to spell, knew the difference between too and two; knew the difference between whose and who's, the difference between better and best, etc. Strange also was her description -- in the third-to-last page of the book -- of finally learning about the death of Alan Guy. And then five pages later, in her Acknowledgments, writing: (Alan, please call me. I still owe you a beer.) Sloppy stories, incorrect geography, incomplete references. Her story of physical survival deserves better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beachstone on June 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm glad I read this book. It's not what I thought it would be about but I'm glad I read it. This woman's amazing recovery is inspirational for anyone needing hope in times of great difficulty.
Having said that I was waiting for a bit more philosophical perspective and a little less self-promotion. This story is tragic and I don't discredit that by any means. My feeling is that as a reader I was looking for more spirituality on the journey. Sometimes the book feels like a "look what I've done" and less a story of where she is going.
I applaud Alison's courage, determination and hope. And I am impressed that her meditation practice helped her to live, for without that she would not have survived at all.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By see jane read on October 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Feeling a little low and down on your luck? Read this woman's miraculous story of survival and you'll wonder what you were whining about. I couldn't put it down, I read it straight through. It's a prime example of how the human body is fragile and tough in equal parts, and how spirit can transcend the physical. I was making my way through a very trying illness when I read this book and it inspired me to keep pushing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth W. Hunt on September 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Learning to Breathe" is a memoir by San Francisco-based photojournalist Alison Wright who flat-lined while on the operating table following a horrendous bus crash in Laos. Her doctors told her she should be dead, would never walk normally again, and recommended she put away her cameras and do something else with her life. Ms. Wright responded by climbing Africa's tallest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and publishing several photo books.

At one point, Ms Wright recalls someone asking, "What are you willing to give up to find what you are looking for?"

What indeed!
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