With pretty solid writing skills, this author tells a straightforward account of a long-distance trail hike. There is less content spent on the personal growth aspect of his journey than some related authors like Cheryl Strayed (Wild), however the author's limited reflections on personal growth, politics, and relationships are thoughtful and interesting. This book is informative for aspiring AT hikers and entertaining for armchair hiking enthusiasts.
I read this after returning from a backpacking trip in the Sierras, and it was great to hear what was different for a traveler in Muir's time compared to now (not to mention how different it must have been for a risk-taker like Muir compared to me). Muir's writing style is so old-timey and reverent, the story almost sounds like a religious text.
The author refers to plant and animal species, as well as geographic locations, very specifically.
I saw the film and heard some snippets of Ralston's interviews online. This made me wonder why he said he wouldn't avoid this accident if he were to do it over again. This book helped to explain what the experience has done to enrich the author's life. Although the book would do a service to readers by adding some advice on avoiding similar incidents, it's a great story from a standpoint of overcoming adversity, facing fears, "growing" spiritually/intellectually, etc. The book does not, however, provide much advice in terms of "lessons learned." I enjoyed that it was ready by Aron Ralston himself. I always like audio books that are read by their own authors; you can be pretty sure that all the voice inflections are correct interpretations of the author's tone.
In my opinion, this book is only valuable for those who want to compile multiple accounts of the 1996 Everest accidents. It is somewhat interesting to compare Viesturs' account of this disaster with others' stories. The writing itself does not describe well the beauty, adventure, or accomplishments of climbing and being outdoors; the only thing it properly illustrates is Viesturs' self-absorption. The reader's incorrect pronunciation of commonly used words, such as "veterinarian," is also annoying.
Mr. Viesturs could have used some more writing help. His experiences and accomplishments are amazing and worth telling, but they're communicated poorly.
It is a significant account of the 1996 Everest disaster, and the author is not the least bit shy about assigning blame. This is interesting to compare to other accounts, such as John Krakauer's book Into Thin Air. Viesturs also references other climbers' books on the incident within his story. That's a good resource.
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