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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 (274 )
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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
  •  
    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
  •  
    Poets Logic Gainesville, Florida 06-19-07
    Poets Logic 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.

    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 2004
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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 2004

    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 2005

    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 2005
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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 2007
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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
  •  
    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
  •  
    Karen Glen Gardner, NJ, United States 07-22-13
    Karen Glen Gardner, NJ, United States 07-22-13 Member Since 2008

    Likes: Cozy mysteries, esp w/cats, books on workings of the brain/autism, not-too-dark fantasy. Dislikes: Animal cruelty, torture scenes.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow start, but interesting info about vision"
    Any additional comments?

    I chose this book because I was interested in hearing about the experience of suddenly having vision (especially when I had heard it tended to be a big disaster) but it didn’t start off very exciting. It’s almost annoying how Mike keeps insisting how ok he is with being blind. I suppose it is true enough that the way he was thrown into the sighted world to make it on his own as a child would probably be the thing most likely to make him able to feel that way but I got tired of hearing it.
    I was so happy when he finally got his sight back - mainly because we were finally getting into the business of vision. There were some interesting case histories discussed of the rare instances of sight restoration after long term blindness. I thought the happy blind guy who became totally depressed when he saw how shabby the world actually looked was pretty interesting. And it is interesting to hear about what works and what doesn’t work in May's restored vision. I think the book first came to my attention when I was reading a book about the brain. I find it interesting how the eyes and brain (visual cortex I suppose) go about working together to create vision. May has (among other issues) problem seeing depth - like stairs or shadows looking like stripes on the ground. I was somewhat surprised by this problem for him. I would expect it if someone had never seen - ie that brain function never had the ability to develop but May was 3 when he became blind. Three year olds see stairs and shadows just fine. Apparently the brain "reuses" the parts when vision ceases. May's eyes (eye I should say, he only has one) looks like it should see fine and yet he has these issues.
    So anyway, like I said the book was off to a slow start but I did enjoy it (except for the scene where May first takes time out to check out his wife’s naked body – talk about TMI!) The audiobook had an interview with May himself at the end as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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