In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened. This gripping work of literary nonfiction delves into the mystery through unprecedented access to the hikers' own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author's retracing of the hikers' fateful journey in the Russian winter. A fascinating portrait of the young hikers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of the hikers narrative, the investigators' efforts, and the author's investigations, here for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain.
©2013 Donnie Eichar (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Donnie Eichar cleverly weaves his personal story into this decades old mystery. His approach is methodical and captivating. I felt as though I was trying to unravel the evidence along with him.
His narration was steady and nearly monotone, which for me, added to the suspense. This story could have been sensationalised which would have done it a disservice.
The book kept me engaged throughout. In my mind's eye I still find myself seeing that mountain and those hikers, feeling the cold and hearing that wind.
Very interesting mystery - plausible and surprising theory on what really happened. I had never heard of it before. Interesting view into that era in Soviet Russia. Only negative is author's rather droning reading voice. A pro may have been a better choice. But still a good way to spend six or so hours!
Dead Mountain is composed to two narratives: the 1959 story which reconstructs the hikers journey, disappearance, and attempted rescue; and the 2012 story which recounts Eichar's investigation into the case. Interspersed throughout are various tidbits about Donnie's own life, how schooling worked in the USSR, facts about Russian history, and other not-wholly-relevant tidbits that give the story a somewhat padded feel.
The best audience for this book are those who are new to the Dyatlov Pass case. Donnie Eichar should be given credit for presenting a solid overview of the case, but he doesn't go into the nitty-gritty. He comes up with a theory about the "unknown compelling force" which is rather intriguing.
The reading was fine, though it had a somewhat recited quality to it. Perhaps it would have been better if a professional had read it, but it's not like books of this sort lend themselves to showcasing vocal talent. This story is about the author as much as the mystery so I think his reading it was a good idea.
Whoa. You will never in a million years see this coming. Fascinating true mystery - if you like those things (I do!), you'll love this. Only downside is the author's rotten narration - almost made me give up, he's so monotone. But the story is worth it - hang in there. I still see the hikers in my mind and can't imagine how terrifying their last night must have been.
Fascinating, intriguing & tragic...........
The setting, it's the height of the cold war in north central Russia in the "dead" of winter........
I don't have an opinion on a specific character as performed by Donnie Eichar, the narration was all monotone. However, I found the surviving member, Yuri Yudin, to be a very interesting individual who struggled with being the only member of the original 10 to not perish.
It left me feeling empty for the young lives lost in this incident and then the ridiculous response by the Russian government to refuse to support the surviving families during the terrible grief filled aftermath.
I loved the characters in this book. The author did a great job of giving us his perspective on what drove them individually so that we could view their actions and participate in the mindset that drove them to come together with Eichar to tear off the scab of this incident and dive head long into resolving it some 50 years later.
I chose this book because I wanted to find out what happened to this group of hikers. The incident is a well-known and controversial story in Russia, and how the hikers died has never been satisfactorily, or conclusively, explained. I found this intriguing.
At first, the narrator's amateurish non-performance bothered me. As the story gathered momentum, I decided his "just the facts" reading highlighted the weirdness of the hikers death in a way a hyped up "performance" by a narrator could not. In addition, I liked the way the author approached the mystery of the hikers death as Sherlock Holmes did-by eliminating all possible scenarios until only one is left. Although the final scenario is not conclusive, I agree with the author it is both plausible (although highly unusual), and the only scenario that fits all of the available evidence.
I recommend this book to those who like an offbeat and unusual mystery that remains unsolved to this day.
The genre is real, unsolved, events. Highly unusual deaths. Mysteries that have remained unsolved for many years.
I found it a compelling read. I wanted to know what happened to the hikers and why.
I recommend pushing through the first few chapters to get used to the narrator. I've been spoiled by the highly professional performances now available in audio books. In the end, I felt the book was worth the listen.
Eichar gives a brilliant narrative. By focusing on the lives of the victims, we see that they were normal people. It helps one understand the complete tragedy of the event. He arrives at a very well-researched and plausible hypothesis as to what may have actually happened. It's clear that Eichar has a genuine passion for understanding this baffling mystery.
I really thought Dead Mountain was going to turn into something more than it was. I kept waiting, and hoping but the story never really got off the ground. The suspense just wasn't there. And when the explanation for the missing hikers finally comes around, the author had my interest, but only for a moment.
I think part of how I felt comes about because of the way the story jumps back and forth, back and forth which really hurt the continuity of the story telling. It seemed like the story could've been better told if the hiker's perspective was told in it's entirety in the first few chapters, explaining where they came from, what they did and where they stopped without the repetition of reverting back to 2010. Maybe not.
And the reader almost put me to sleep with his somber, monotone delivery. Maybe he was the best choice to convey the cold, miserable isolation of Siberia, and to pronounce the Russian names. He was just so vanilla with little inflection and no excitement when the story reaches its climax.
The final hypothesis by the author and the scientists he recruits is believable. Though the story might've been more exciting if aliens, or the Yeti, or Russian KGB were the culprits I was content with what he came up with and how it's told in the (literally) last 3-5 minutes of the book. I don't regret the purchase since it was only 6-7 hours so it was easily completed. it will keep your attention for at least that long.
I was fascinated by this story, even before I read the book. I didn't have a great understanding of the facts, and the author does a great job at laying out facts, and keeps the story line intact. To that point, I thought in many instances the author could have delved deeper into narratives, individual bios, etc. I also would have loved to have heard more on the other, more wilder explanations, and he does cover this briefly towards the end of the book. I just honestly think some of those would have been very interesting to hear about in-depth.
He has a pretty dry narrative style, almost a monotone at times.
I looked up the facts quite a bit while I was listening to the book, searching for images, clues, etc.
I like weird stuff...The creepier the better!
A well researched book about an incident I have always found fascinating. The author does a great job telling the timeline of events.
His summation at the end gives the most plausible accounting of the incident I have seen.
Yes....and I listened to the book in one day! I worked late so that I could hear the ending.
The author does a nice job narrating the book.
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