Alone on the Wall Paperback – October 4, 2016
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|Paperback, October 4, 2016||
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- Barbara J. King, NPR
“[Honnold] is the foremost practitioner of the dark art of free solo rock climbing―ascending extremely difficult cliffs hundreds, sometimes thousands, of feet tall without ropes or protection hardware of any kind. That is every bit as stupefying as it sounds.”
- Wall Street Journal
“Honnold here recounts his ascents on some of the world's most dangerous rock walls. You'll come away questioning his sanity for choosing this controversial sport…But it's also impossible not to feel awe.”
“Honnold has free-soloed the longest, most challenging climbs ever. Most peculiar of all, even to elite rock climbers, Honnold does this without apparent fear, as if falling were not possible.”
- Daniel Duane, New York Times Magazine
“Honnold is the biggest name in a group of adventure athletes engaging in high-risk live action-sports spectacles that seem to be pulled from the Evel Knievel playbook.”
- Grayson Schaffer, Outside
“Alex is really the first climber to rise from the margins of this lonely fringe sport to become a kind of celebrity.”
- Josh Dean, Men's Health
About the Author
Alex Honnold is a world-class American rock climber best known for his free solo ascents of big walls.
David Roberts is the award-winning author of twenty-nine books about mountaineering, exploration, and anthropology, including Alone on the Wall which was written with world-class rock climber Alex Honnold, whose historic feats were featured in the film Free Solo.
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393353176
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393353174
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (October 4, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #392,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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For the parts of the book which were actually written by Honnold--a lot of what he wrote is just responding to what other people say, which yields some insights, but I'd much rather have read what Honnold wanted to say. The problem here maybe is that Honnold doesn't want to say anything--he'd rather be out climbing. Which is great--that's how he became the climber who inspires me. But it doesn't make for a great book.
I'll also point out that this book was published two years ago as of this review, and was probably mostly written in the year before that. In that time, I've seen Honnold mature a lot--his interviews on TV and podcasts show a person who has had a lot of emotional and mental growth over the last few years. The Honnold who wrote passages in Alone On The Wall is not the Honnold we know today--the one who wrote this is a bit immature, a bit distracted. I get the feeling that Honnold was pressured to write this book a bit before he was really ready to be writing a book--it's a bit weird to write your story before it's over. I really hope this isn't the last book we see from Honnold, because I think if he were to write a book now or later in his life, it would be a lot better.
Contrast this with The Push by Tommy Caldwell. There's a book written by an older climber who knew what he wanted to write. At the surface level, it turns out to be a book that's much less about climbing, but it's far more vulnerable and insightful, and gives readers a much better understanding of what motivated Caldwell to become one of the best climbers in the world.
I spent the whole book nervously reading, it’s been 25 years since I have been in the route but still remember those cruxes. The achievements Alex has made in his career are incredible. To the non-climbers the choices on routes Alex chooses to solo may seem crazy, to those of us who have climbed seriously know how insanely bold those decisions are. The only place I have ever experienced complete concentration with no outside influences was leading a pitch. I could relate to Alex’s descriptions and emotional battles. He is in a class of his own, I hope to never open a paper to find out we have lost this person.
Top reviews from other countries
I found the book fascinating but, compared to various other books in the same genre it did seem to lack some depth. A constant niggle is that I felt there's a lot of plugging going on, for this book, that film etc. I'm not 100% convinced it was intentional, but it was nonetheless quite off-putting. Secondly, compared to the likes of Joe Simpson or Jon Krakauer, the book could feel a little shallow / superficial at times. Given what Honnold does for a living, the book should have been edge-of-the-seat stuff, but it just wasn't, at least for me.
This is still a good book about a truly great climber, and I'd recommend it.