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Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest Mass Market Paperback – Nov 6 2001

2.9 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (Nov. 6 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440237084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440237082
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.9 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #261,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book hoping that Beck would provide some valuable insight in to what it was like to be, literally, left for dead. Instead I was forced to read about his personal salvation, his life struggle etc.

This is NOT a book about climbing or the Everest tragedy. If that's what you are looking for, then pass by this book. But even if you are looking for a book in which a man grew from adversity, I'd say bypass this book. It really is not engaging. I finished the book, if only because I hate starting book only to never finish them.

Overall comments - pass on this one.
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By A Customer on Dec 25 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Of all the people involved in the 1996 Everest expeditions, Beck Weathers should have 1 of the more interesting stories to tell. Blind, severely frostbit, and left to die (twice), Weathers stood up and basically walked down the mountain to a high altitude helicopter evacuation.
This Everest story involves about a quarter of the book. It quickly becomes apparent that Weathers' greatest accomplishment in life was to almost die.
The rest of the book is about Beck and his parents, his brother, his wife, his kids, his pets, his depression, his faith, and his job...and it's pretty boring. In the end, we find that Weathers neglected his family for so long, they basically gave up on him...not caring whether he was around or not. But of course Beck is given a second chance to make everything better and now he wanders around his house telling his kids, wife, and pets how much he really loves them (at least that's the impression I got).
What I found most interesting is that Weathers at no point absolutely swears off mountain climbing (despite having lost a good part of his face and most of his hands to frostbite, not to mention the strain it put on his family).
Will Beck climb again? Will Peach divorce him and take the kids? What will happen to the family dog? I'm sure there will be a sequel and I'll tentatively call it "Back To Life" and give it 1 star. The gravy train on Everest books is coming to an end.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is not a typical mountaineering book. If you are looking for detailed descriptions about Camp 4 or the Hillary Step, this is not the book for you. It also does not devote a lot of space to Beck Weathers' Everest climb in 1996 and his opinions on what went wrong. The Krakauer and Breshears books are better if you want a more adventure and climb oriented perspective. However, if you are interested in the psychology of a driven, focused, destructive personality, the book is fascinating. It is an excellent biography of this man's struggles.
The major theme of the book is Beck Weathers' personality and how he wrestles with depression and being extremely goal-oriented, and how this personality nearly drives him to death. It also discusses the carnage he inflicts on his family as he relentlessly follows his passions. The book contains many first-person points of view with some of the most interesting be those of his wife Peach as she deals with Beck's behaviors, tries to run a family, and hang together as Beck travels the world.
The writing is quite lively and there is very little filtering on the language as Beck's comments are often contradicted by the people around him. On the other hand, some of the conversations are not so poignant, and you feel as if some of words have been lifted too directly from the family interviews.
Beck's personality is very interesting to me because he reminds me of a modern Fitzcarraldo, and his choices raise many questions in my mind. Is he a madman for pursuing his dreams? Did his dream save him from suicide? How could he have expected his family to shoulder his burden? Will Beck pick up some other all-encompassing passion? Has he really changed? As I turned the pages, each anecdote seemed to provide some clue in the answers to these questions.
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Format: Hardcover
"Our climb began in earnest on May 9. By then we'd successfully negotiated the Khumbu Icefall, surmounted the Western Cwm, and now were halfway up a moderately steep, four-thousand foot wall of blue ice called the Lhotse Face, which the prudent climber will traverse very carefully.
This extreme care is a function of the physics involved. With hard ice such as that found on th Lhotse Face, there is no coefficient of friction; you are traction free. Fall into an uncontrolled slide, and your chances of stopping are nil. You're history. A Taiwanese climber named Chen Yu-Nan would discover the truth of this, to his horror, on the morning of May 9."
I first picked up this book knowing very little about the 1996 Everest tragedy, except that it left nine people dead, when it probably should have been ten. When I first saw the book, the photo of Beck Weathers, with a frostbitten face, reminded me instantly of news footage and magazine articles of the so-called miracle at the time. I decided to pick this book over others which I had heard about simply because it was written from the point-of-view of the man that survived the impossible.
The book is easily divided into three parts: Part 1- The Climb and Rescue, Part 2- Beck's Recovery, and Part 3- What Was Learned From the Near-Death Experience. Part 1 was easily the most interesting piece of the book. It told of how Beck had gotten addicted to climbing as a way to escape the depression that had haunted him since college, and how this addiction affected his family, particularly his wife and children. It then goes on to talk about the climb, with Beck giving such specific details about his surroundings that you feel as if you are there with him.
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