Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster Author Jon Krakauer
ISBN-10 0385494785
ISBN-13 9780385494786
Year 1999-10-19
Pages 332
Language English
Publisher Anchor
Download Link Click Here


National BestsellerA bank of clouds was assembling on the not so distant horizon but journalist mountaineer Jon Krakauer standing on the summit of Mt Everest saw nothing that suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down He was wrong The storm which claimed five lives and left countless more including Krakauer s in guilt ridden disarray would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air Krakauer s epic account of the May 1996 disaster By writing Into Thin Air Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons and lay to rest some of the painful questions that still surround the event He takes great pains to provide a balanced picture of the people and events he witnessed and gives due credit to the tireless and dedicated Sherpas He also avoids blasting easy targets such as Sandy Pittman the wealthy socialite who brought an espresso maker along on the expedition Krakauer s highly personal inquiry into the catastrophe provides a great deal of insight into what went wrong But for Krakauer himself further interviews and investigations only lead him to the conclusion that his perceived failures were directly responsible for a fellow climber s death Clearly Krakauer remains haunted by the disaster and although he relates a number of incidents in which he acted selflessly and even heroically he seems unable to view those instances objectively In the end despite his evenhanded and even generous assessment of others actions he reserves a full measure of vitriol for himself This updated trade paperback edition of Into Thin Air includes an extensive new postscript that sheds fascinating light on the acrimonious debate that flared between Krakauer and Everest guide Anatoli Boukreev in the wake of the tragedy I have no doubt that Boukreev s intentions were good on summit day writes Krakauer in the postscript dated August 1999 What disturbs me though was Boukreev s refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor decision Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn t the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his clients As usual Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility But rather than continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air s denouncement of guide Boukreev Krakauer s tone is conciliatory he points most of his criticism at G Weston De Walt who coauthored The Climb Boukreev s version of events And in a touching conclusion Krakauer recounts his last conversation with the late Boukreev in which the two weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev but the Russian later died in an avalanche on another Himalayan peak Annapurna I In 1999 Krakauer received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters a prestigious prize intended to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment According to the Academy s citation Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic solitary sport while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind

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