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127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place Paperback – Bargain Price, October 26, 2010
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Hiking into the remote Utah canyonlands, Aron Ralston felt perfectly at home in the beauty of the natural world. Then, at 2:41 P.M., eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, an eight-hundred-pound boulder tumbled loose, pinning Aron's right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. Through six days of hell, with scant water, food, or warm clothing, and the terrible knowledge that no one knew where he was, Aron eliminated his escape option one by one. Then a moment of stark clarity helped him to solve the riddle of the boulder--and commit one of the most extreme and desperate acts imaginable.
Honest, inspiring, and undeniably astonishing, 127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place has taken its place in the annals of classic adventure stories.
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Craig Brown, book of the week in the MAIL ON SUNDAY
'Ralston is a passionate man who has lived his life resolutely pursuing this passion. His fortitude in his dire predicament was, as he would say, awesome, and from this it is possible to learn much about hope in the face of overwhelming odds.'
Toby Clements, DAILY TELEGRAPH
'Heroic, searing and compelling' Benedict Allen '[This book has] the emotional pull of a psychological thriller'
MAIL ON SUNDAY
'A gripping book . . . It not only details his entrapment and escape but tells vivid tales of extreme mountaineering prior to that defining misadventure'
Joanna Walters, DAILY EXPRESS
'Ralston is superb at evoking the epic beauty of the land, and his description of his ordeal is riveting: think Touching the Void directed by Tarantino'
Sarfraz Manzoor, NEW STATESMAN
'Riveting . . . if you only read one adventure book this year, this is it'
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
'Here is one man's heroic struggle with the infinite, a searing and compelling read. Aron Ralston tells his agonizing, inspiring tale of survival with all the verve and honesty you'd expect of someone who somehow found inspiration even in the face of a lonely death.'
About the Author
- ASIN : B004X8W58U
- Publisher : Atria Books; Reprint edition (October 26, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1451617704
- ISBN-13 : 978-1451617702
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,770,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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In April 2003, 28-year-old Aron Ralston took a day trip in Blue John Canyon in Utah's Canyonlands National Park. Shortly after beginning his solo excursion into the canyon, a boulder came loose and pinned Ralston's right arm between it and the canyon wall. Unable to free his arm, Ralston was trapped for 127 hours (more than 5 days) with limited water and food. Because Ralston had broken one of the cardinal rules of outdoor pursuits (always let someone know where you are going), no one knew where he was (or even to come looking for him) until he didn't show up for work on Monday. His account of the ordeal and his eventual decision to save himself by amputating his right arm is documented in this well-written (and surprisingly funny) memoir.
When watching 127 Hours, I was absolutely mesmerized by Ralston's predicament. (It didn't hurt that Ralston was portrayed by James Franco and the movie directed by Danny Boyle.) After watching the film, I wanted to get the full story about what Ralston had experienced. Did he really have a vision of his future son that bolstered his courage? Did he really talk into his video camera during his entrapment? Why had he made such a fundamentally stupid mistake by not telling anyone about his whereabouts? The book answered all these questions and provided much more detail into Ralston's personality and background.
In fact, after reading the book, I'm not completely surprised that Ralston found himself in his predicament. In the book, he recounts several near-death experiences he faced during various other outdoor pursuits (from almost drowning in the Grand Canyon to being buried under an avalanche). Ralston's whole life was (and is) about pushing himself in the outdoors--often in ways that others might consider foolish or overly risky. In addition, solo adventuring was nothing new to Ralston. At the time of his entrapment, he was pursuing his quest to make the first solo ascents of all "fourteeners" (mountains over 14,000 feet) in Colorado. The one line in the movie that stuck with me--"This rock had been waiting for me all my life"--really sums up Ralston's life. (I may be misremembering the exact line but it is something fairly close to this.)
Did he leave the canyon a changed man--aside from the obvious loss of his right arm? Spiritually, Ralston matured--coming to a new appreciation for life and his loved ones. What the experience didn't do was dampen his enthusiasm for outdoor pursuits. Working with prosthetics and climbing companies, Ralston designed a prosthetic arm for himself so he could continue rock climbing and mountain climbing.
The book is surprisingly well written. After all, just because you have the guts to amputate your own arm and survive for five days in a canyon with limited food and water doesn't mean you'll be able to tell your story eloquently. But Ralston (who was an engineer before quitting corporate life to pursue the outdoor life in Colorado) seems to be a true Renaissance man--crafting a well-rounded, eloquent and often amusing account of his life, philosophy and the accident changed him forever.
Finally, I must mention that the book includes a collection of full-color photographs of Ralston before, during and after the accident. I had a rather morbid fascination with these photos (including the one of the severed arm immediately after the amputation), but they really did add to the story. It was amazing to see the exact place where this took place and what Ralston looked like during his entrapment. I also need to give a shout-out to the filmmakers for seeming to recreate Ralston's predicament, clothing, and equipment down to the smallest detail.
Recommended For: Readers who enjoy gripping and well-told adventure/survival stories, fans of the movie 127 Hours, and anyone looking for real-life survival story that demonstrates what people will do to survive.
Like so many people, I was held spellbound back in 2003 when Ralston's story first hit the media. What kind of man does it take to cut off his own arm to survive a terrifying accident? I knew the area the accident happened in and that just made the story more compelling to me - the Canyonlands are not a forgiving landcape.
"Between a Rock and a Hard Place" answered some of my questions. I, for one, am glad that this is not the story of JUST the accident but tells more of Ralston's life story. I see it more as a character study and I think if you read it as that, you won't be disappointed.
Even after reading the book, do I understand Ralston? No. He wrote the book himself and I enjoyed his writing style. He was VERY candid about his lifestyle and all his past mistakes and imperfections. He is an adrenaline junkie, an adventurer - problem is that he makes careless mistakes, takes ridiculous chances, has endangered others in his various quests.
I have a son the same age as Ralston and I have to say, as a mother, I would not want to be Ralston's mother. I am quite sure that his accident was the culmination of years of sleepless nights and waiting for THAT phone call.
The book really made me think about what inner qualities it takes to become an adventurer, an explorer, a trailblazer. I can't decide if any of these are Ralston's aims or whether he just has a death wish.
I don't agree with many of his methods but Ralston is living the life he wants to live. He is the first person, as noted in his book, to ever scale all 59 of Colorado's 14,000 foot or above peaks solo in winter. And this manchild had the extraordinary fortitude and will to live to be able to cut off his own arm, rappel one-armed down a cliff face, and hike miles out of the desolate Canyonlands to reach safety. How many people in the whole world would have been able to do the same?
Top reviews from other countries
Having recently seen reference to Araon in another book, North by Scott Jeruek, I thought I’d buy the book to get the story wothout the Hollywood spin.
So was it worth it? - Yes. The book is very good read and despite knowing how it all ends Aaron holds the tension very well in the story telling whilst weaving in his experiences building up to that point and also the story of the rescue, his family and his own reflection on some of his personal imperfections.
Some of the other reviews on Amazon reference the several times that Aron had put himself in danger before and had ‘lucky escapes’ (as he details himself in the book) however my personal view is that this provided context of his overall experiences and the fact that what he was doing that day was not something which would be considered high-risk. What he didn’t included in the book is the thousands of hours he will have had uneventful outdoor experiences which would have balanced the small percentage of times thinks went wrong. - I’m sure these uneventful experiences wouldn’t have added anything to the overall storey.
When I finished reading this book I called my parents to tell them I loved them… and bought a Leatherman on amazon. - What more do you want?
Aron’s analytical mind and resourcefulness were unbelievable and most humans would surely have died had they found themselves in this situation. After days grappling with the problem, Aron eventually stumbles upon a solution which fortuitously coincides with the rescue attempt which has been gaining momentum in the meantime. Would he have been rescued in situ had he not freed himself or would he have died had the rescuers not been quite close. We’ll never know.
I’d expected the first half of the book to be about the accident and rescue and the second to be about his recovery, but there was almost nothing about his recovery. Although a few years have passed I would be very interested in reading the sequel about the rest of Aron’s life.
Aron's story is well written and throughout his experience he paints a picture of him and his life. It is all very real and could be someone you know.
There is a lot of detail about previous climbs and expeditions which I found unnecessary but if you have at least a passing interest in climbing then I'm sure it will be fascinating.
I skimmed those sections and concentrated on the feelings and emotions described as he prepared for and enjoyed his trip then got trapped.
You know what the ending will be but the tension is built very well and you will find yourself feeling every minute with him.
I have seen the film which I think is amazing and I preferred it to the book. If you have seen the film then I would recommend the book which gives more information but does not seem to get across the same highs and lows as the film manages to. If you have not seen the film, read the book first then watch the film