Into Thin Air : A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
by Jon Krakauer
Release Date: 19 October, 1999
Imagine yourself alone, surrounded by nothing but blinding snow. In the midst of hurricane force winds and sub zero temperatures you are all alone, 8,000 meters above the rest of the world. Home is only a picture in your mind, your body aches with agony.
After completing Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air, I breathed a sigh of relief that I had made it off of Mt. Everest in one piece. Krakauer's description of the events that took the lives of several of his comrades will leave you breathless.
Krakauer's book combines his oustanding journalistic talents, climbing expertise and his experience of the real life crisis that took the lives of 12 people in the Spring of 1996. No one could tell this story better than Krakauer.
With poignancy and compassion Krakauer takes the reader up into the heart of the mountain to explore what drives women and men to push their minds and bodies beyond the limits-- to stand atop the world.
This book is a must read.
A disclaimer: I read the whole book without being able to understand the lure of climbing mountains, especially Everest, an incredibly remote, dangerous peak. There can't be enough fame and fortune to justify the risk, and I can't imagine that the rush of standing on the 'top of the world' is worth it either.
That said, Krakauer delivers an outstanding account of the doomed expedition. He does an tremendous job of describing the conditions, especially the difficulty of climbing in high altitude, where oxygen is limited.
As an adventure story, this book really delivers, entertaining and keeping the pages turning right up to the finish. The thing that tugs at you is that the story is true and the ending is not a happy one.
There are no heros, but there are also no villains though I'm certain that there has been and will continue to be copious fingerpointing. The only culprit here is the desire in some people to push the envelope and take unnecessary risks simply for the sake of saying they did it. That can't come as much consolation for the families of those who lost their lives.