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86 Reviews
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading as well as watching
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...
Published on Dec 21 2004 by Elizabeth

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, bad reader for tape edition
I don't know whose idea it was to pick this reader for the book-on-tape edition, but he was very hard to listen to. He does have an accent but I could have gotten used to that, the main problem is his flat tone of voice. This is an exciting story but he reads it like he is reading his grocery list. My mind kept drifting while I listened to him. I recommend getting the...
Published on Feb. 20 2003 by ponceroff


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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is fantastic, breathtaking, June 4 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
I am married to a climber and have read many books . Read this one just after reading The Last Blue Mountain and the reversal of fortunes is unbelievable. Joe Simpson survived when nature states that it is not possible. Where the others died when nature says they could survive. These books have to be read together to get the true meaning of both. Joe Simpson is a remarkable man whos will to survive is as unimaginable as his story. Here is a book that makes you take stock of your like and thank god for small mercys. This is a must for anyone who has even looked at a mountain with ore. I felt the cold and the pain but most of all I felt the joy.......thank you Joe for sharing this story with the world. And to Simon, you had no choice. What you did was very brave
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truth *is* stranger than fiction., June 2 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
Wow. I gave up climbing when I was Joe Simpson's age because my fear heavily outweighed any satisfaction I might get from the climb. Is this the nightmare I tried to avoid? No, it's worse than my worst nightmare. Only knowing in advance that Simpson survived the ordeal was I able to set aside my fears and pick up the book in the first place; once I started readingI couldn't put it down. If you're a climber, you'll love it. If you relish incredible tales of human survival, you'll love it. If you want to feel lucky you're alive, you'll love it. I did.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is a griping story of survival and human endurance., May 16 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
How far can the human body be pushed before total collapse? What can the mind endure before succumbing to what seems like inevitable termination? Joe Simpson's tale of survival after what should have been a fatal mountaineering event begins to explore the limits of human capability. Readers in our book group felt the prose was not first rate but written well enough that few wanted to put the book down. This book is good enough to become canon in mountaineering literature. For those with no mountaineering experience, some of the climbing aspects and descriptions may be difficult to envision. Nonetheless it is an amazing story. Our group read this in conjunction with Caroline Alexander's book "The Endurance", another incredible story of survival against unbelievable odds. While Simpson's ordeal occurs over the span of a few days, the story of Shakleton's group living on the ice for nearly two years explores the other spectrum of what it takes to survive - the two stories seem to compliment each other in the scope of human endurance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting read on a deathdifying adventure, May 15 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
A very exciting read, once you start this book you will never want to put it down. Joe Simpson tells about is near death experience and how he survives. Along with Simon Yates, this book is a must read!!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Absolute must for climbers., May 13 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
I almost cringe just thinking about this story. Psychology majors should check Touching the Void and This Game of Ghosts to analyze the effects of childhood and family dynamics on adult behavior. Simpson is not the best writer, but Touching the Void definitely exemplifies the harsh decisions that mountaineers are forced to make.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible tale!, April 21 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
This book is the most incredible tale of human survival I've ever heard. Okay, so maybe Joe Simpson isn't Ernest Hemingway. The fact that Simpson isn't a novelest makes his retelling all the more personal and interesting. He tells the story the way it was--from someone trained to mountain climb. This makes the account all the more fascinating. Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction--this book is exhibit A.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that teaches us to continue whatever the danger, March 9 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
Joe Simpson has brough to life the universal truth that the future - the void - is fearsome and unknowable. Yet we have no alternative but to stare into that future with courage and to live every moment with hope. It is a Zen lesson - as revealed in the title.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book, Feb. 21 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
A must read for adventure lovers. In many ways better than Into Thin Air-- much more personal. The author tells of the psychological struggles as well as the physical which I thought was fantastic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great real-life story, but averagely written book, Feb. 16 1999
By 
Robert Moore (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
I think many of the reviewers of this book have confused an incredible adventure with a rather lackluster retelling of it. Average prose, a weak ending, and a sometimes less than clear narrative fail, however, to obscure the fact that Joe Simpson had an almost inconceivably close brush with death. Throughout I was reminded of the Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times!" At the risk of understatement, Simpson had a most interesting experience!
I have been told that despite the literary shortcomings of this book, his other books are much better written, though of necessity, they treat of less "interesting" adventures. And for his sake, I am very glad that they are less exciting.
My recommendation: if you have any interest in mountain climbing or extraordinary true life adventures, you should definitely consider reading this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading!, Jan. 21 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
A gripping story, fairly well written. Read it if you're an armchair adventurer. Make a special effort to read it if you ever go out in the wilderness as a hiker, climber or whatever, because this book instructs you on two things : a) what can go wrong; and b) the resilience of the will to survive. Then if you're ever in trouble, you can remember what Simpson went through (unimaginable trauma!!) and feel there's hope.
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Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival
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