Category: Book-of-the-Month Discussions
Into Thin Air
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
This is a gripping firsthand account by journalist Krakauer, a survivor of a doomed 1996 Mt. Everest expedition. His account addresses some of the circumstances and mistakes that lead to the death of eight fellow climbers as he tries to make sense of a seemingly senseless loss of life.
Discussion: After reading this book, do you feel you better understand the "driving force" that compels mountain climbers to risk their lives just to reach the summit of a mountain?
I wasn't sure if I would like this book when I began it. For one thing, I'm not an "outdoorsy" person. I like to camp in the summer, but not too far from civilization. I also usually feel little or no sympathy for mountain climbers who knowingly (and willingly) put their lives in peril for no apparent reason other than some sort of personal gratification, often causing costly and dangerous rescues paid for by tax dollars. That said, I have to admit that I really liked reading this book! Initially I didn't care for Krakauers writing style, but once I started reading I got used to that and the story itself I found fascinating. I was astounded by the very many things that these climbers are up against, it was a real eye opener to read about the various forms that "high altitude sickness" takes and I really had no idea exactly how "thin" the air actually is up on top of Mt. Everest. By the time I was a third of the way into the book, it got hard to put down. Regardless of what led up to the circumstances of this tragedy, it is a story that really makes you think about the choices people make and appreciate the value and frailty of life. After reading this book I am still somewhat mystefied that people actually put themselves through this, but I am glad to have read this true account of what happened on Mt. Everest in 1996.
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Further Reading Suggestion:
Everest: Mountain Without Mercy
Submitted by Sharon, posted on Saturday February 24, @11:58PM