• Last Breath

  • Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance
  • By: Peter Stark
  • Narrated by: Peter Stark
  • Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
  • Highlights Audiobook
  • Release date: 09-28-01
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.9 (146 ratings)

Regular price: $19.93

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Publisher's Summary

In this enthralling blend of adventure and science, veteran travel and outdoor sports writer Peter Stark ( Outdoor magazine) reenacts the drama of what happens inside our bodies, our minds, and our souls in the precarious last moments of life when we push ourselves to the absolute limits of human endurance. Combining the adrenaline high of extreme sports with the startling facts of physiological reality, Stark narrates a series of outdoor adventure stories in which thrill can cross the line into mortal peril. Each death or brush with death is at once a suspense story, a cautionary tale, and a medical thriller. Will they survive, or will they succumb? Stark describes in unforgettable detail exactly what goes through the mind of a cross-country skier as his body temperature plummets - apathy at 91 degrees, stupor at 90. He puts us inside the body of a doomed kayaker tumbling helplessly underwater for two minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes. He conjures up the physiology of a snowboarder frantically trying not to panic as he consumes the tiny pocket of air trapped around his face under thousands of pounds of snow.
These are among the dire situations that Stark transforms into harrowing accounts of how our bodies react to trauma, how reflexes and instinct compel us to fight back, and how, why, and when we let go of our will to live.
In an increasingly tamed and homogenized world, risk is not only a means of escape but a path to spirituality. In this fascinating, informative audio, Stark reveals exactly what we're getting ourselves into when we choose to live - and die - at the extremes of endurance.
©2001 Peter Stark (P)2001 Random House, Inc., Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, a Division of Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Stark packs enough historic and scientific information and page-turning suspense into each chapter to make them all fascinating and useful." (Amazon.com)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Terry Austin on 01-28-03

Marvelously well told physiological tales

As a long time biologist and lover of fine words this audiobook is a double pleasure! I share excerpts of these stories with my Anatomy & Physiology classes at appropriate times during my lectures. An added bonus is provided with the author's own voice doing a splendid job on the narration. Great job, Stark! You make me, and my students feel as if we were there with the 'victims' of your examples.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 12-25-03

A Very Nice Surprise!

I haven't listened to audiobooks for awhile. Imagine my delight when I bought this wonderful book and found it to be a 5 star work. It is read by the author, something which most authors are not qualified to do. It is very refreshing, even though it is about death. It is very scientific but not dull or overly technical. A must-read for anybody who loves information about anything including mortality.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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