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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster Paperback – October 19, 1999
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Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions. --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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Told in gripping detail of the horrifying and unimaginable events that unfolded on that day, climber/journalist Jon Krakauer on assignment for "Outside" magazine, begins his account in the days leading up May 10. Krakauer introduces us to the climbers, the sherpas and team leaders of his own expedition as well as other competing companies all vying to guide their clients, many of whom paid up to $65,000, to the rooftop of the world!
From there, with fascinating anecdotes of the author's own experiences, Krakauer guides us on his own personal journey--his physical challenges and struggles as well as the emotional suffering of the climb, the deaths, the survival and the flashbacks that continue to haunt him to this day.
As with all personal accounts, there's always another side to the story and "Into Thin Air" is no exception. At the end of the book in postscript, the author includes notes about literary attacks, many of which he defends successfully; and sorrowful, some quite angry, responses from members of the families of those who lost their lives. I can't imagine what Krakauer must have lived through and his continuing nightmare about that disastrous day more than 20 years ago.
A must read for those interested in attempts to summit Everest and to bear witness to the perseverance, sacrifice and steadfast determination that possesses intrepid explorers and drives them to stand on top of the world. Remember, reaching the summit is only half the journey and 80% of the Everest fatalities occur on the way back down.
I found the book compelling from the get-go, and downright gripping at times. He did a good job of piecing together where the various actors were on the mountain at pivotal moments of the final ascent and descent to and from the summit.
My only beef: Could've benefited from more photos, e.g. Some of the other major characters in the story (The rich, deletente, Sandy Pittman; The guides and clients of the expedition; the members of the other expeditions [the Taiwanese team, the South Africans]...and especially THE SHERPAS! Why no photos of the SHERPAS?).
I've never climbed a mountain, yet at times Krakauer had me gasping for air.