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4.5 out of 5 stars
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
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Showing 1-10 of 26 reviews(2 star)show all reviews
on April 2, 2002
Krakauer does a thourough and professional job of reporting with ample historic and technical background. I really have no argument with the structure or workmanship of the book. I think that I am dissapointed by the relentlessly dark narrative that concludes with a single ghastly anecdote and not a shred of hope or redemption.
"Into Thin Air" chronicles the lives and senseless deaths of people caught up in their own close-knit world of acheivement for acheivement's sake. The Everest expeditions described in this book were populated largely by wealthy people purchasing an accomplishment for a handsome fee. Their self-serving mission ends in disaster and death.
Krakauer trys, admirably, to take his share of the blame without speaking ill of the dead. At best he draws the reader into his own regrets and depression and concludes that the cimb was senseless and tragic. There is little nobility, redemption, or contribution to society in these pages; just a journal of broken dreams and needless suffering that becomes self-agrandising and distasteful. In my opinion time ill spent.
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on May 21, 1999
I've read Krakauer's earlier book ("Into The Wild") and found this latter work hauntingly similar. Rather than being an unflinching account of the facts, his books seem to be based more deeply in his ongoing struggle to figure himself out. I don't know where his faith lies, but he seems tortured by the compulsions to blame (alternately; others and himself, generally the former). In both books I scanned through the paragraphs that seemed self-serving to the author. I kept reading because I found his descriptions of nature and events to be very well crafted. Anatoli's account of the expedition seems to have been written to defend against the attack by Krakauer. Even at this, Anatoli's version seemed much more factual. I appreciated Anatoli's stoicism (contrasted to Krakauer's blaming). I laughed on reading the quip: "$6.98 - Into Thin Air" in one of the other reviewers comments. Krakauer - Please, next time spare the psychodrama, it comes off as daytime TV set in the mountains.
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on May 5, 1999
This was an entertaining book, but was not very factual. Jon Krakauer was constantly stating what all the other climbers were thinking, but actually had no way of knowing their thoughts. It is a good book if you want to read it for entertainment purposes, but the reader must always keep in mind that this is only one man's point of view. I felt Jon Krakauer used the book to tell about what a wonderful climber he was. His writing was very powerful, but was a very one-sided point of view. If you would like to get an idea of the full spectrum, read The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev. (He was a guide for a team that worked closely with the team Jon Krakauer was on). I'm not saying that either Boukreev or Krakauer are correct but it will give you the other side of the story. Jon Krakauer constantly criticized Anatoli's actions on the trip and Anatoli tells his totally different point of view and recount of events during the ascent. I do suggest this book as an entertainment read, but do not use information in this book as absolute fact.
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on May 5, 1999
This was an entertaining book, but was not very factual. Jon Krakauer was constantly stating what all the other climbers were thinking, but actually had no way of knowing their thoughts. It is a good book if you want to read it for entertainment purposes, but the reader must always keep in mind that this is only one man's point of view. I felt Jon Krakauer used the book to tell about what a wonderful climber he was. His writing was very powerful, but was a very one-sided point of view. If you would like to get an idea of the full spectrum, read The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev. (He was a guide for a team that worked closely with the team Jon Krakauer was on). I'm not saying that either Boukreev or Krakauer are correct but it will give you the other side of the story. Jon Krakauer constantly criticized Anatoli's actions on the trip and Anatoli tells his totally different point of view and recount of events during the ascent. I do suggest this book as an entertainment read, but do not use information in this book as absolute fact.
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on October 22, 1998
Krakauer narrates the Everest disaster very well, but I think he missed the boat by trying to either vindicate people or hold them accountable for what happened up there. In my mind, he came across as very mean-spirited and at the same time, unwilling or unable to commit to his opinions of what went wrong on the mountain. In one breath he seems to be saying that anything can happen at altitude and people make mistakes, while in the next breath he seems to be making personal accusations behind which he never really puts his full weight. If he had committed himself one way or another I would have more respect for this book.
Meanwhile, please don't hold up Krakauer as the end-all, be-all of mountain literature. If he writes about smoking out in one more book as an example of how he relates to tragedy and unrealized ambition, I'm going to be sick.
Anatoli Boukreev's THE CLIMB is a very good explanation of the same events, and at times has far more spirit to it, as does ANNAPURNA, by Maurice Herzog. If you want mountain literature, read that one.
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on November 9, 1999
Granted, it's well written, for the most part. And, yes, it's hard not to feel empathy for those who lost their lives and [moreover] for their friends and family, but.....
..... that empathy is tempered by the realization that these people decided to put themselves in deadly peril, NOT to explore new paths, NOR to accomplish something of benefit to humankind, but merely for RECREATION. To me, it seems terribly hubristic and self-centered, not to mention costly. In a way, this is a paean to death as the ultimate "thrill".
A note to educators: PLEASE do not ask your students to post reviews of books you have assigned them! I'm sure I speak for many in saying that most people read these reviews for the opinions of people who have actually chosen to read these books, however much they may eventually regret the choice. Finding a review along the lines of "this book sucked because my teacher made me read it" rather defeats the purpose.
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on April 11, 2004
When I chose this book, I chose it because of all of the good things I heard about it. How it was so exciting, wrenching, impossible to put down.
Well, I got to reading it, expecting a thriller, only to be absolutely bored. He rambled on about useless information that had no great impact on me besides losing my interest completely. Yet, I had picked this book to do a project on for english, so I had to read all of it. Once I got to page 207 it wasn't that bad. The pages before that however were pure torture.
I also questioned how true his account of the event was. He seemed to shine a light on himself throughout the book. He made it seem like he was the only one on the mountain who know what was going on. I found a lot of that hard to believe, which led me to further dislike the book.
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on October 17, 1999
I give "Into Thin Air" two stars because it was a decent story, but seemed to drag on and on. If I would not have been required to read it for English class, I would have put it down after page 5. The first 200 or so pages are all about what happened up to the summit, from the plane ride across the ocean to what equipment they have at base camp. The last 178 pages cover who dies, how they die, what the bodies look like when they're found, and who was probably going to die next. The whole book was depressing. I knew from the beginning that I was forever discouraged from climbing Everest. It makes me wonder about the sanity of those who do try it.
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on May 5, 1999
I thought the book was fair. It gives an inside and personal look at climbing Mount Everest that is somewhat interesting. The mindset of the climbers was the most interesting part of the book. Although, I liked him analyzing the decisions of the guides and trying to figure out what was going through their minds he didn't need to do it twenty-four hours a day. It became boring and I lost interest. Jon may have written the book to free his feelings and give some detailed insight as to what happened up on Everest in 1996, but was unsuccessful due to the discrepencies.It made the book more confusing. I feel this book is not worth taking the time to read.
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on May 22, 1999
I can not believe what I am reading. All of the reviews written here, besides the one from the reader from New Hampshire, all glorify the deaths of these climbers. None of you seem to realize that this really did happen and lives were lost. This was not a movie where anything can happen and the actor walks away at the end. Krakauer should be ashamed of himself, writing a glorified and "Hollywood" account of one of the worst expedition experiences in recent memory. The only reason for two stars is because Krakauer survived and maybe one person will get the true picture of the story. Amateurs do not belong on Everest.
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