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Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival Paperback – 2004

93 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060730552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060730550
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #82,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on Dec 21 2004
Format: Paperback
A few weeks back, in search of something good to watch at the video store, I picked up Kevin Macdonald's Touching the Void documentary from the shelf. As I was skeptically reading the back of the DVD case, the fellow standing next to me said that it was a "really good movie." I took him on his word and later disovered a movie that I have since been raving about to all who will listen. It is a riveting story in which an injured climber is left for dead on a Peruvian mountain and manages to crawl his way off. It sounds like fiction, but, as is often the case, this true story is incredible beyond what a writer could believable construct. So, when I found out that Joe Simpson (the climber left on the mountain) had written a book, Touching the Void about his harrowing adventure, I knew I needed to read it.
The movie and the DVD extras take the viewer on an emotional path where one at first dislikes the arrongant and impetuous Simpson, while his climbing pal Simon Yates seems more sympathetic. However, as the movie continues and especially if you watch the Return to Siula Grande DVD extra, it becomes hard not to empathize with Simpson's reaction to returning to the place where he had faced so much trauma and to, in contrast, find Yates cold and unfeeling, as if the experience they shared so many years before no longer affected him personally. The end of the movie leaves one with the impression that Simpson, although understanding at what Yates did, does not really like Yates and does certainly not consider him a friend.
The book, written several years earlier, certainly leaves a more positive impression of Yates.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By lawyeraau TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 8 2002
Format: Paperback
This book recounts an amazing tale of courage, fortitude, and the will to live, despite dire circumstances. The author, Joe Simpson, and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, attempted to ascend a perilous section of the Peruvian Andes. Near the summit, tragedy struck when Joe, up over 19,000 feet, fell and hit a slope at the base of a cliff, breaking his right leg, rupturing his right knee, and shattering his right heel. Beneath him was a seemingly endless fall to the bottom.
When Simon reached him, they both knew that the chances for getting Joe off the mountain were virtually non-existent. Yet, they fashioned a daring plan to to do just that. For the next few hours, they worked in tandem through a snow storm, and managed a risky, yet effective way of trying to lower Joe down the mountain.
About three thousand feet down, Joe, who was still roped to Simon, dropped off an edge and found himself now free hanging in space six feet away from an ice wall, unable to reach it with his axe. The edge was over hung about fifteen feet above him. The dark outline of a crevasse lay about a hundred feet directly below him.
Joe could not get up, and Simon could not get down. In fact, Joe's weight began to pull Simon off the mountain. So, Simon was finally forced to do the only thing he could do under the circumstances. He cut the rope, believing that he was consigning his friend to certain death. Therein lies the tale.
What happens next is sure to make one believe in miracles. This is an absorbing read and one of the great stories in mountaineering literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NorthVan Dave on April 8 2005
Format: Paperback
This was one novel that I could not put down. In a nut shell, this true life story is about Joe Simpson and the troubles he endured while mountaineering in Peruvian Andes. What makes the story so gripping is that this was no up the mountain; down the mountain story. Instead Joe takes us on a wild ride into his psyche as he encounters a few problems along the way, and how he manages to deal with them in a calm, cool, collected manner.
Even though this book has been making the rounds in the rock climbing/mountaineering scene for years now, everyone, regardless of their backgrounds should give this book a read. It is a testament to the human spirit, as well as a never give up attitude. At the end of the book, all you'll be able to say is 'wow'.
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Format: Paperback
"Touching the Void" is a non-fiction suspense account by Joe Simpson. It all begins when Joe and his best friend, Simon, decide they want to climb the unforgiving Siula Grande mountain in the Peruvian Andes. To get warmed up, they do a smaller climb that takes them two days and two nights. After carefully watching the weather patterns, they choose a departure date. The first two days of the journey are beautiful sunny days without despair. As the third day rolls around and they push for the summit, they come upon bad weather. Maybe this proves to be a bad omen. The two climbers successfully reach the summit, but on the way down run into a terrible blizzard. As the two men slowly wander off course, Joe takes a horrifying fall and badly injures his knee. The incredible part of the story is how they overcome the physical challenge and keep on descending. When Joe and Simon believe they have almost made it to the valley floor, everything goes wrong. Joe is left for dead as Simon has to make an unforgettable decision. Fortunately, Joe has an unusually strong will to live. Never giving up and staying calm and in control will always prevail; in "Touching the Void" by Joe Simpson, Joe survives a horrendous fall and hangs on until the bitter end.
Joe Simpson wrote this book to share with all readers his true account of a terrifying adventure and a miraculous ending. The strongest device used to bring the Peruvian Andes right to the living room of the reader is the diction. Simpson's word choice is what makes the book worth while reading. "As the hammer came out there was a sharp cracking sound and my right hand, gripping the axe, pulled down. The sudden jerk turned me outwards and instantly I was falling . . . the rushing speed of it confused me. . .
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