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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster Paperback – Oct 19 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition (Oct. 19 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385494785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385494786
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,271 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

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 the Hardcover edition.

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 the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

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I would give it 5 stars if the author didn't point his finger at the Russian leader so much.

Given that the guy got a medal for his efforts I find it strange that it is somehow "all his fault".

This book is better written then rebuttal but it is too far away and low on actual mountaineering.

Sure, if the top guide had used oxygen he might have been in better position - or not - if he had run out of it. No simulation was done in that respect.

As to the leaders - they were racing to be the top dog - not the top guide. They made the calls. They are responsible for the mistakes.

He did go out and saved these people.

One has to remember that with rather thin oxygen out there and limited time and limited view on things it is hard to always make correct decisions - what one does is make a call - if it turns out OK then one is a "wise" mountaineer. If one ends up dead people criticize the actions. You are either person whom didn't summit or the one on top - the risk is established by you how much you want to make it to the top. If you do - you are great - if you don't people say you were "no smart". This is a judgement by people whom never had to make these decisions. And I also soloed Denali like Krakauer - actually quite a few people do now-days.
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Format: Paperback
many times whilst reading i found myself droping it from view and shaking my head. obviously without spoiling it for others, there is not a better example of this than the last sentence or paragraph.
on several occasions other climbers in desparate trouble were passed, sometimes without even a mere glance, and left to surely die. yet it's as if the climbers never actually weighed up the pro's and cons of stopping for fellow men (and women) but just that, in such extreme conditions, the thought process never even occurs.
one can never imagine this clime unless being exposed to it oneself, Into Thin Air is as close as we'll get.
i found the postscript diminishing the book though. the author defends his book in length which i found unnecessary considering he never attempted to explain the actions of others and also praised them in equal quantities throught the text. Jon Krakauer himself questions the risks involved in having a jounalist as part of the expedition, i prefer to question the risks of not having one present.
the book, whilst no doubt appealing to budding mountaineers, is equally enjoyable to those who relish good narrative non-fiction.
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By Steven Tursi on July 1 2004
Format: Paperback
An incredible account of the Everest Disaster. Krakauer is an expert at including as many details as possible without being too wordy. This book reads like a novel, and in fact the story is so incredible that at times you have to remind yourself that it is non-fiction. I appreciated the vivid pictures he painted of the important people in this book, a talent for which he is as skilled as the best contemporary fiction writers. Reading the book, you can grow so fond of some of the more likeable characters that you feel a deep sense of sadness when you read about their passing. In a sense, Krakauer has accomplished the difficult task of explaining in laymen's terms the technical aspects of high-altitude mountaineering (which is necessary in a book like this), and somehow also gave the reader a sense of the profound grief of the situation. This is something that is lost among the litany of newspaper articles, less-talented writers, and the controversy of conflicting accounts fails to do.
Oh yes, the controversy. I suppose that it is inevitable that when you're dealing with this magnitude a disaster, with equally-high magnitude of some mountaineers' egos, you're going to get arguments. Unfortunately, Krakauer has been sucked into this and actually has devoted a portion of the book to responding to someone's complaint about his account. Frankly, it reads like an internet message board flamewar, and it detracts from an amazing book. Hopefully, a year from now when I think back about this book, I'll remember not the controversy but rather people like Rob Hall, one of the people who died on the mountain.
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Format: Paperback
It's hard to use superlatives when talking about such a tragic story, but Jon Krakauer's account of his journey up Mt. Everest in May of 1996 is a wonderful piece of writing. From start to finish, this book is fantastic, compelling reading.
In 1996, Krakauer was a writer for Outside Magazine, and had been sent on an expedition to climb Everest. An experienced climber, Krakauer joined a team full of climbers of varous skill levels and led by Rob Hall, the most reputable guide in the business, for his journey up the mountain and summit attempt on May 10. When the following day came, Krakauer found that several of his companions (including--eventually--Hall) were dead, and the survivors were hanging onto life by a slim margin, fighting fatigue and the elements in Everest's 'Death Zone.'
In this book, Krakauer recounts the expedition from his perspective, and tries to identify the circumstances and events that led to the disaster high on the mountain. He attempts to recreate the series of events and decisions that led to so many deaths, and manages to find fault with just about everyone on the mountain, including himself, without being too harsh on anyone. It would seem that the effects of high altitude, along with "summit fever," were the prime culprits, and Krakauer delivers that point gently and with respect to his fallen companions.
Everest is a brutally Darwinian environment, and Krakauer's descriptions of the harsh climate and lonely deaths of his friends make for some of the most compelling reading in the book. He writes of the loneliness of his companions' final moments, in the dark and exposed to the elements, stranded (in some cases) mere minutes from shelter; a saddening and vivid reminder of the merciless nature of Everest.
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