- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 8 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Books on Tape
- Audible.com Release Date: December 15, 1999
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0000544YG
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Into Thin Air Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Jon Krakauer gives what I feel was a very thorough accounting of his experience on that ill-fated expedition, as well as a fair bit of well-researched information on what others that were climbing during that time went through. Particularly powerful is the way he delved into what each phase of the expedition felt like in the moment, and how all of the events and decisions that unfolded affected the ultimate outcome. Certainly he points out his own shortcomings during this excursion as well as those of others; he also heaps praise where it is deserved. In the end you can feel the pain that the author carries with him as a result of this experience, and you can feel the doubt he feels over whether any of it could have turned out differently.
Krakauer's intent in publishing this book is to shed light on the 1996 Everest tragedy, and the many other tragedies that have occurred on this and other mountains. The takeaway is that preparedness is important, as is making the right decisions at the right time, communicating with your team and those around you, and cooperating during times of trouble. But above all that there remains an uncertainty when you take on a risky operation that no amount of careful planning and execution can negate. Into Thin Air will make you stop to think about how your actions have consequences not only for yourself, but for those around you. Perhaps it can even make you pause before endangering or hurting others, and if it does then I think that Krakauer did us a service by writing about his team's experiences on Everest.
At that time, Krakauer was a journalist writing for Outside magazine. His employers had assigned him to write a story about the commercialization of climbing Mount Everest. In order to write his story, Krakauer, who was already an experienced mountaineer, would join the Adventure Consultants team in climbing Everest, and then write about his experiences afterward. (New Zealander Rob Hall, who was widely regarded as the best commercial guide in the business, led Adventure Consultants.)
Krakauer admits writing “Into Thin Air” in order to explain the Everest tragedy from his perspective. He also admits that he was still very emotional about his experiences while he was writing both his 17.000 word article for Outside magazine and his book. In his book’s introduction, he assures readers that he did the best he could to get his facts correct, not just by relying on his memory of events, but by interviewing as many of the expeditions’ other members as possible.
Krakauer writes with great precision and detail when describing the events of May 9-12, 1996. As I read each page, I found myself transported to the Everest base camp, the Khumbu Icefall, the South Col, and into the "Death Zone." I could picture the towering seracs and bottomless crevasses of the icefall, the windswept barrenness of the South Col, and the sun-scalded but frigid summit. As the storm struck with its savage ferocity, I could feel the terror, despair, and gritty determination of each mountaineer still trapped high on storm-ravaged Everest. The deaths of Krakauer’s fellow mountaineers were heartbreaking, and the stories of those who survived were inspiring.
If Krakauer had left his story right there, it would have been an outstanding book about death and survival on Everest. However, Krakauer felt the need to try to explain why the tragedy occurred, and he did so by heaping blame on certain individuals for what happened. He is especially scathing in his criticisms of Mountain Madness guide Anatoli Boukreev and client Sandy Hill Pittman. To his credit, he also severely chastises himself for his own failures to help others when he was called upon to do so.
When I finished “Into Thin Air,” I was left wondering: what was the point of publicly censuring others for their faults, foibles, and ambitions? Mistakes were made, yes; but would those mistakes have cost anyone their lives or their limbs if there had been no storm..? No one will ever know, but I think it is doubtful.
Despite my lingering questions about “Into Thin Air,” I still think it’s an excellent book that tells an important story about the tragedy on Mount Everest. Highly recommended. (4½ Stars ^ 5)
I did enjoy reading this book kind of like when you crane your neck on the freeway to look at an accident or watch a police chase on television. I feel like the author Jon, told it like it was high up on Everest.