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Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See | [Robert Kurson]

Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See

Blinded at age three, Mike May defied expectations by breaking world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA, and becoming a successful inventor, entrepreneur, and family man. He had never yearned for vision. Then, in 1999, a chance encounter brought startling news: a revolutionary stem-cell transplant surgery could restore May's vision.
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Publisher's Summary

Blinded at age three, Mike May defied expectations by breaking world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA, and becoming a successful inventor, entrepreneur, and family man. He had never yearned for vision.

Then, in 1999, a chance encounter brought startling news: a revolutionary stem-cell transplant surgery could restore May's vision. The procedure was filled with risks, some of them deadly, others beyond May's wildest dreams. There were countless reasons for May to pass on vision. He could think of only a single reason to go forward. Whatever his decision, he knew it would change his life.

Beautifully written and thrillingly told, Crashing Through is a journey of suspense, daring, romance, and insight into the mysteries of vision and the brain. Robert Kurson gives us a fascinating account of one man's choice to explore what it means to see - and to truly live.

©2007 Robert Kurson; (P)2007 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"A remarkable story of courage and endurance." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (287 )
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4.3 (55 )
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Performance
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  •  
    K. R. Phillips London 06-27-07
    K. R. Phillips London 06-27-07 Listener Since 2001

    w1z

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding!"

    An amazing account of an exceptionally rare occurrence – a totally blind man who is made to see after nearly 40 years. Wonderful? You’d think so, but when your brain hasn’t learned to understand what your eyes see, the resulting chaos can drive a man to suicide.

    Kurson tells Mike May’s story brilliantly. He has a rare ability that transported me into the adventure and held my attention throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed his skilful capacity to impart technical information with intense clarity, without every becoming tedious or sounding patronising.

    This is a book that will fascinate, stimulate, educate and inspire you. Once you have listened to it, you’ll be bursting to tell others about this truly incredible story. One of the best books I’ve downloaded in 10 years of membership.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Gainesville, Florida 06-19-07
    Amazon Customer Gainesville, Florida 06-19-07 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Now through a glass darkly..."

    The title "Crashing Through" implies a momentous breakthrough that never quite appears in the book. Granted, the story is about a man, Michael May, who gains sight after more than 43 years of blindness, and his struggle to make sense of visual information after so many years of dormancy. But I kept waiting for a breakthorough to normalcy that never happens.

    As it turns out, sight is more complex than any of us might have suspected, requiring far more than simple sensory input. Yet May is a remarkable man and his willingness to let us share in the intimate details of this struggle makes this a singular read. Without May's insights this would just be another story of science falling short of the mark. With it, we are treated to a far deeper awareness of the complexities of vision, an appreciation for its gifts, and understanding of what it must be like to see, even just a little, after so many years of blindness.

    This book has done what I expect of all great books, it has left me pondering the significance of many of its values and ideas and has been the source of many conversations with my friends and family.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn Spring Lake, MI, USA 06-23-07
    Kathryn Spring Lake, MI, USA 06-23-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What is sight - Mind or eye"

    The audio book "Crashing through" is a really interesting and I thought about it daily until I finished lisening. I have recommened this audio book to all my friends that are interested in nonfiction books about medical/social type issues. It makes you think about your own vision and how we take it for granted and how different we would be if we had never had a memory of seeing faces, colors, highways and more.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Wilson Boise, ID USA 06-13-07
    B. Wilson Boise, ID USA 06-13-07 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"

    Good story. Amazing mother who allowed him to literally fall on his face to find his limits (or lack there of.) It's also facsinating to see how the brain works.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri Jones 05-31-07
    Terri Jones 05-31-07 Member Since 2012

    TJ

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Astounding!"

    If you think you have even an "idea" of what it would mean for a blind person to regain sight, this book will "open your eyes". I couldn't stop listening... Kurson does an incredible job of blending the emotional, the technical, and the theoretical aspects of Mike May's story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Twin Bridges, MT, United States 08-31-10
    Debra Twin Bridges, MT, United States 08-31-10 Member Since 2013

    Mom, married, website designer, portfolio manager in self-imposed exile (yeah Greg Smith!!), former California native, Episcopalian.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Amazing Life and Excellent Book"

    It's been awhile since I've listened to a book that I can wholeheartedly recommend to all my book-loving friends. Kurson's descriptions regarding the perceptions of the newly sighted are mind-bending. Mike May is an incredible inspiration, especially to our young people. I plan to encourage our school to use all or part (for the elementary kids) of this book for our next community reading program. (Last book was Three Cups of Tea - another BRAVO book!)

    When I recommend this book to a friend who has already ready it, we both say, "Wasn't it marvelous?". Use your credit, dig in and enjoy. Oh, and the narrator is quite good too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 04-19-10
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 04-19-10 Member Since 2015
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    "An Eye Opener"

    This is the story of Mike May who undergoes surgery to renew the sight he lost at age three. The book opens by detailing May's decision to undergo the surgery and the initial results of this experiment. The latter portions consider the problems he encounterd after the surgery along with the neurological studies he endured.

    The book is a curious combination of biography, science, and story telling. The listener will come away with a new appreciation for sight and a fuller understanding of what it means to perceive the world around us through sight.

    The reading is very good, the writing - okay, and the information well worth the time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Douglasville, GA, USA 02-04-08
    Ann Douglasville, GA, USA 02-04-08 Member Since 2012
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    "Inspirational"

    Mike May's courage to live life to the fullest is an inspiration to everyone, especially those of us who are visually handicapped.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Witter 04-14-15
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    "Read Mike May's Wikipedia Article Instead"
    Would you try another book from Robert Kurson and/or Doug Ordunio?

    No


    Would you be willing to try another book from Robert Kurson? Why or why not?

    No, his writing style is not for me.


    What didn’t you like about Doug Ordunio’s performance?

    He was monotone virtually the entire time. No emphasis on anything, no arcs in the storytelling, speaking patterns--almost put me to sleep multiple times.


    Did Crashing Through inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Hmm. This book is very mixed for me. It really is an incredible story, but it felt very stretched in order to make it into a book. I was not surprised to find out that this story initially began as an article for Esquire--for which it won a National Magazine Award--because I'm sure it was must more interesting and engaging in a (much) more condensed form.

    Because it won such a prestigious award, I hope that the article was more well written than the book. The sentences were choppy and basic, the descriptions were uninspired and ordinary (very disappointing considering this is a book about sight)--I felt like it was written at a 6th grade reading level.

    The book focuses on Mike May's childhood, his successful skiing career, his entrepreneurial endeavors, and the fact that he is a straight male. By this I mean that at least half of the book focuses on girls/women he finds attractive, dates he goes on, weekends we spends with women, sex he has or wants to have with women, his want to see breasts, the low cut tops he gets to see when he gains vision... You get the picture.

    The parts of the story that focus on him gaining sight is interesting if you can get past the writing and the overall pompous and self-centered personality of Mike May. But I would highly suggest reading it instead, the audiobook reader is awful. So monotone. So boring. No feeling in his voice whatsoever. I felt like he just wanted to get it over with--I guess I can't blame him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Phoenix, AZ 05-17-14
    Jim Phoenix, AZ 05-17-14
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    "An inspiration and a godsend for me!"

    The book provides a very palatable insight into what it is like to be blind. It provides an understanding of vision itself in a hard-to-put-down cadence. I recently had a health event that has left me partially blind. I couldn't have read Mike May's story but being able to listen to it as I have been healing has truly been balm to my spirit. Mike' sense of adventure and attitude towards obstacles is contagious and I found myself excited to not just hear the next chapter of the book but to face the next chapters of my life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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