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I'm definitely a flat-lander, never had even the slightest interest in climbing anything higher than my bed, so this book was an odd choice for me. I bought it because I'd just finished listening to -- and loving -- Junger's "A Perfect Storm", when some cookie-wizard said if I like "disaster books", maybe I'd like this one. Well, sure, why not? (For the record, John McDonald's "Condominium" is the best book I've ever read on what it's like to be in a hurricane. Loved that one, too, so I guess I do like "disaster books.")
I'm not sure what I expected with this one -- I wasn't aware of this particular disastrous climb before, although I certainly do remember various magazine spreads showing people doing silly things like climbing to 29,000 feet -- not when passenger airplanes normally cruises at about 30,000 feet. You mean as you're flying along, someone could be outside your window, there, looking in? Well, maybe not. Not without some conditioning, but still.... Why would someone do something like that?
I still don't know. It sounds not just highly likely to be lethal, but it's also not all that pretty -- the way the base camps are described -- dirty, cluttered, thin air, poor food, people sick, barfing, gasping, wounded, struggling to survive -- don't come across as pleasant at all. But what I do know now, with more intensity than I ever expected, the vast array of really dreadful things that can happen to you when you do.
I surely didn't realize all the things that went into such a climb -- the high-altitude conditioning, the high cost (although I guess I could have figured that out) or the surprisingly large number of regular ordinary people, more or less, who decide that a climb to the top of Mt. Everest belongs on their bucket list -- sometimes the last entry, apparently.
All I can say is this: This is a heck of a book. I will most definitely listen to this one again -- maybe many times over. I was so hooked on listening that the rug I was crocheting at the time had to be completely ripped up and started over. Sometimes I'd just stop dead, and sit and listen. Few books in any genre beat this one for its "so what happened then?" quality. Listening, the only thing you know for sure is that the author survived, so that he could write the book.
Anyway, this is a really really good book. Don't miss it.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
Loved the reading!
Jon Krakauer, eyewitness, author, and narrator, grabs the audience in a way which transports them with the doomed 1996 Everest expedition teams. We feel the camaraderie, exultations, and eventual tragedy while safely well below the "death zone". Having skimmed the printed edition, I finally purchased and listened to this title while commuting - for the first time I wished my commute were longer or the traffic worse!
Jon reads with feeling, as he should; he was there and witnessed the events. His account is gripping and the unabridged version is well worth the additional investment of time!
I see that The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev, a guide on Fisher's team, is also available on Audible - to better understand the events of mid-May 1996 one would want to listen to both titles.
Having been an Audible listener for over 2 years, I have often relied upon reviews of other listeners when choosing new titles; this is my first contribution.
38 of 40 people found this review helpful