- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Villard (April 25, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780375504044
- ISBN-13: 978-0375504044
- ASIN: 0375504044
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 240 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #756,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest Hardcover – April 25, 2000
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Left for Dead is a deeply personal story, told in first person by a variety of people who contributed to the survival of Beck Weathers during the Everest accident of 1996 that left nine climbers dead. It goes past the tragedy to discuss why Weathers got involved in climbing in the first place, his lengthy and painful recovery, and the all-important relationship with his wife, Margaret (commonly referred to as Peach). Without Peach's hope and tenacity, it's likely that rescue efforts would not have been continued, and Weathers may never have recovered from the hypothermic coma and its dreadful results. The story of their relationship--they were estranged at the time of the accident--is told from both perspectives, and his obsession with mountains seems almost like another family member. The overall tone is straightforward and conversational: children, pets, and clothing feature as prominently as reconstructive surgery and heroic rescues. But no matter how plainly they are told, the events of that climb are sure to bring tears. Rob Hall's last conversation with his wife, climbers disappearing into the storm, Anatoli Boukreev's rescuing three people, and Weathers and climbing partner Yasuko being left for dead are just a few from a long list. Still, you'll find yourself laughing just pages later, when Weathers gets his rescue team to sing "Chain of Fools" while hiking back to safety--you can imagine Peach being in full agreement of that song's appropriateness. The Everest deaths affected people around the world, and this chronicle of one survivor and his family is a hopeful reminder of the good that can result from such tragedies. --Jill Lightner
From Publishers Weekly
A survivor of the disastrous Mt. Everest expedition described in Jon Krakauer's bestseller Into Thin Air, Weathers is the climber many readers will remember from searing media photos of a man with heavily bandaged hands and a face so badly frostbitten it scarcely seemed human. In fact, Weathers had been abandoned by his fellow mountaineers as dead and spent some 18 hours on the mountain in subzero temperatures before miraculously regaining his senses and staggering into camp. Back in the U.S., Weathers, who is a physician, lost both hands and underwent extensive facial reconstruction. But there were other wounds to heal: he had neglected his family so much in pursuit of his hobby that his wife had decided to end the marriage once he returned. Co-written with Michaud (The Evil That Men Do; The Only Living Witness), this book deals in part with the climb but mainly with Weathers's life before and after the catastrophe. The man who wrote this book doesn't seem any less self-absorbed than the one who climbed Mt. Everest. In the years before the disaster, Weathers spent every spare moment pursuing his own interests as his wife and children became strangers to him. Now he claims to have rediscovered his family, but, unfortunately, the reader learns very little about them. Ultimately, this engrossing tale depicts the difficulty of a man's struggle to reform his life. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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But I think of all the books I've read about the tragedies on Mount Everest in 1996, *Left for Dead* is the one that most touched me. It's the first one that dared to talk about what happens AFTER a mountaineering expedition - after the mountain climbers pack up, clear out, head back down the mountain, and fly back into the bosom of their families. For me, this was important terrain.
The last biggish mountain I climbed was Mount Adams. I climbed it during the summer I turned forty-one. At some point in the climb I looked down the slope and the faces of my two young sons - aged three and five - flashed into my thoughts, and it occurred to me that if something happened to me up there, they'd be motherless. When I'd climbed Rainier, Baker, and Hood, I hadn't been a mother. My life had been my own. Now I belonged to two young people. It changed things. My dad, who had been a member of several mountaineering expeditions in his younger days (K2, Mount Saint Elias, Mount Kennedy) and who had been my guide up Rainier, Baker, and Hood, was 79 now, and at about 10,000' decided that was as far as he would go on this climb. So, not only was Mount Adams the last biggish mountain I climbed, it was the first biggish mountain I ever climbed without Dad leading the way.
Reading *Left for Dad* brought back a flood of memories of my climbing adventures with Dad, and it reminded me, too, of that moment when my sons' faces had flashed before my eyes on Mount Adams.
Weathers has a wonderful sense of humor - he knows how to laugh at himself and his circumstances, and I found myself laughing along with him. He's also not afraid to be honest about his own short-comings, flaws, and foibles. He makes mistakes and owns them. And at the end of his book Beck Weathers finds a beautiful redemption for them.
This book was a thoroughly-satisfying read.
Where Weathers could have spent a lot of time lambasting the decision to leave him, he has chosen to concentrate on how the mountain changed him. Weathers reveals that he was clinically depressed most of his life, and that climbing mountains was his way of coping with his problems.
The climbs became his sole focus and his marriage was disintegrating around him. Depression can do strange things to people, and like many others, Weathers was unable to see past his solution from the crippling illness. His near death on Everest changed him more than physically. When he awoke on the mountain and staggered into camp, Weathers really woke up to the things that are important in life.
I really liked this book. I also deal with depression, and Beck Weathers’ story was a real shot in the arm. When you feel like you can’t go on, there is always someone who has faced worse and survived. Thanks for your book, Beck Weathers. I will not soon forget the lessons you have taught me.
I give this book five stars…
Quoth the Raven…