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Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth | [James Tabor]

Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth

Blind Descent explores both the brightest and darkest aspects of the timeless human urge to discover—to be first. It is also a thrilling epic about a pursuit that makes even extreme mountaineering and ocean exploration pale by comparison.
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Publisher's Summary

The deepest cave on earth was a prize that had remained unclaimed for centuries, long after every other ultimate discovery had been made: both poles by 1912, Everest in 1958, the Challenger Deep in 1961. In 1969 we even walked on the moon. And yet as late as 2000, the earth’s deepest cave—the supercave—remained undiscovered. This is the story of the men and women who risked everything to find it, earning their place in history beside the likes of Peary, Amundsen, Hillary, and Armstrong.

In 2004, two great scientist-explorers are attempting to find the bottom of the world. Bold, heroic American Bill Stone is committed to the vast Cheve Cave, located in southern Mexico and deadly even by supercave standards. On the other side of the globe, legendary Ukrainian explorer Alexander Klimchouk—Stone’s polar opposite in temperament and style, but every bit his equal in scientific expertise, physical bravery, and sheer determination—has targeted Krubera, a freezing nightmare of a supercave in the Republic of Georgia, where underground dangers are compounded by the horrors of separatist war in this former Soviet republic.

Blind Descent explores both the brightest and darkest aspects of the timeless human urge to discover—to be first. It is also a thrilling epic about a pursuit that makes even extreme mountaineering and ocean exploration pale by comparison.

©2010 James Tabor (P)2010 Random House

What the Critics Say

"Holds the reader to his seat, containing dangers aplenty with deadly falls, killer microbes, sudden burial, asphyxiation, claustrophobia, anxiety, and hallucinations far underneath the ground in a lightless world. Using a pulse-pounding narrative, this is tense real-life adventure pitting two master cavers mirroring the cold war with very uncommonly high stakes." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (186 )
5 star
 (57)
4 star
 (66)
3 star
 (52)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
3.9 (91 )
5 star
 (25)
4 star
 (36)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (2)
Story
3.9 (92 )
5 star
 (24)
4 star
 (45)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    RGH Norco, CA, US 11-07-10
    RGH Norco, CA, US 11-07-10 Listener Since 2008

    MGMRay

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Courage!!"

    I'm an adventure/travel story buff. I loved Into Thin Air, Lost City of Z, Shadow Divers and Endurance. This one ranks right up there with those amazing true stories. I'm amazed at the courage it takes to explore the deepest caves in the world and the dibilitating panic attack they call, "The Rapture" that can hit anyone at anytime whilst inside the deep recesses of the Earth!! I highly recommend this adventure and the narrator does an excellent job. A credit well spent!!!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 08-01-10
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 08-01-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    273
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    "Amazon Best Books of Month June 2010 I Agree"

    Well, I am always lookiing for books that inform in areas which are unfamiliar. So with some interest I downloaded Blind Descent. I actually put off listening because my other Audible downloads seemed more interesting. Well, this is one of the best books I have listened to in years and I have been following Audible for a long time and Books on Tape before. This is an adventure story, science exposition, and I can't say what else.

    Anyway, this is James Tabor's effort to describe the work of primier cavers (Bill Stone and ALexander Kliimchouk) as they labor to find the world's deepest caves. It details their adventures, the logistical problems encountered, political maneuvering necessary and everything else that you cannot ever expect in advance.

    The book is wonderfully written and researched. Don Leslie could not be topped in his reading. Grab your mouse and click "Buy" - now. Download this volume and plug in your ear phones as soon as you can. It is well worth the time.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ali 08-14-10
    Ali 08-14-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "amazing narration and awesome writing"

    Being an explorer myself or kind of passionate about the subject, I can't get the headphones out of my ear. Amazing job by Tabor and great narration by Don Leslie.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jeremiah vista, CA, United States 08-16-11
    jeremiah vista, CA, United States 08-16-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Listening!!"

    I never knew there were caves that existed like that on this planet. Exelent on going in to the details of what it takes to discover new frontiers; let downs, failures, sucesses and inventing new and improved technolagies to do so.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Fairfield, IA, United States 04-25-11
    Laura Fairfield, IA, United States 04-25-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    12
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    "Fascinating entrance into a little known world"

    So few books are written about cave diving and exploration, this is a fascinating account and description of underground waterfalls and cave exploration that goes beyond imagination. I loved this book so much I've listened to it about four or five times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate W. St. Louis, MO. USA 11-27-13
    Nate W. St. Louis, MO. USA 11-27-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    17
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    Story
    "Great story, poorly organized and poorly narrated."

    The source material for Blind Descent is fascinating and more than a little terrifying to imagine. Unfortunately the story suffers a bit in Tabor's treatment. It's poorly organized - - jumping around and difficult to follow in places.

    The writing veers into melodrama and hyperbole more than it should (ie, repeated statements like "what happened next would haunt him for the rest of his life..."). This problem is compounded by the narration. At times it sounds like you're listening to a book length movie trailer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David SAGINAW, MI, United States 07-31-13
    David SAGINAW, MI, United States 07-31-13
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    "Is there an abridged version..."
    Would you try another book from James Tabor and/or Don Leslie?

    Probably wouldn't read another book by this author. It felt like a play by play with way too many tangents. The story would have kept my interest if it was the crib notes version.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Game of Thrones


    Did Don Leslie do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    The reader was clear and had a nice voice but the book didn't call for much differentiation


    Was Blind Descent worth the listening time?

    No. I finally started to fast forward.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica middlebury, VT, United States 01-28-13
    Jessica middlebury, VT, United States 01-28-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Race to the Bottom of the Earth"
    Any additional comments?

    This story will introduce the reader to the little known world of extreme deep-cave exploration. And you thought mountaineering was tough? At least they could see what they had to climb and rappel! The author and narrator do a good job of transporting the listener/reader into the grueling, dangerous, and often terrifying pitch black darkness of the cave, as well as character studies of some of the modern-day Hillarys and Shackletons who voluntarily, and eagerly, descend. Well written, fascinating, this book made me both search online for videos and websites of extreme caving to learn more, as well as thinkig that this is something I'd never want to do!!! Highly recommend to fans, like myself, of adventure stories like "The Worst Journey In The World" and "Into Thin Air".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander Jackson Heights, NY, United States 12-09-10
    Alexander Jackson Heights, NY, United States 12-09-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Makes it very clear whether caving is for you"

    I bought this audiobook on a friend's advice - and it made me clearly realize that caving is not for me (I had gone cave diving in Mexico). While the book was pretty clear in its description of competitive caving, I had to deduct two stars from its rating: one for a stolen title (from a book by a different author from 1999) and the other for its reader. Half of the book takes place in Russia, and they got a reader who rapes every Russian word he tries to pronounce.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Constant Reader LA, CA, USA 08-10-10
    Constant Reader LA, CA, USA 08-10-10 Member Since 2008

    M

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    "But Why?"

    About halfway through the book, I realized I couldn't, for the love of me, understand why people would want to crawl through caves. Unlike climbing a mountain, with your spirit soaring, and heaven just out of reach, caves are wet, smelly, dark, and claustrophobic in the extreme. When you get to the bottom of a cave -- well, there you are. At the bottom. In the dark. And the stink. Caving is a creepy activity. And intentionally or not, James Tabor communicates that. After reading Blind Descent, I decided I didn't even want to go into basements. I'd rather seek the sky above -- than the mud below.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
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