©1997 Jon Krakauer; (P)1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.
Likes any genre so long as it is done well.
I had real reservations about getting this, seemed like it could be dry and technical. It certainly was not. Very gripping, very detailed, excellent listen. Narration was excellent.
This really lets you come away with a sense of adventure, but also the foolishness of some people, when hubris gets in the way.
I am just one of many readers. When I give this book two stars it most accurately answers the question how did I react to the book. This is how I rate all my books. This book was OK! That is what 2 stars is said to mean on GR! That does not mean it was bad. I will explain why I have reacted as I did so hopefully you can more easily determine how you may react to the book. Why all this explanation? Because I am thinking that if I only give this book two stars that will give an unfavorable impression, and it isn’t a bad book. I am tired of everyone rating books favorably when that is not really how they reacted to the book. You see it all the time. People say they liked the book, and then give it a five star rating. A five star book is supposed to be amazing. You are supposed to leave a five star book dazzled. Sorry for that long-winded explanation, but this has been bugging me.
Jon Kraukauer is a journalist who has written for the sports magazine Outside. His climb of Mt. Everest was initiated by a request for an article on the commercialization of the mountain, the highest in the world. Such an article preceded the writing of this book, and it sets the tone for the book. I was unaware that the commercialization of Mt. Everest would be a central theme of the book. I was unaware that the book would be directed toward mountaineers and sport enthusiasts, that being because it grew from the article in the sports magazine. If you are a mountaineer yourself, you will be more interested in the detailed exposition of who has climbed which mountains and when and with which equipment. (I prefer trekking and I am not gear oriented.) The history of climbing is interesting, but here you get a rundown of each climber’s accomplishments and failures. I couldn’t keep all the different “big names” straight, and there are many, both in this excursion and in the numerous others mentioned. This information interrupts the telling of what happened in the 1996 Everest disaster, which is what drew me to the book. Who were at fault? Why did it happen What can be done to improve safety? Is there one answer? No, of course not. Sandy Pittman/Sandra Hill has written articles and spoken of her view of what happened. There is also Anatoli Boukreev’s book : The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest. In his book, Krakauer clearly criticizes Boukreev, but it was Boukreev who saved Sandy’s life. All three were there, along with so many others.
Climbing Mt. Everest has become a business, a commodity to be sold, and on that day when the storm hit there were so many people there were bottlenecks and queues up there near the summit. Mountaineering, at least on Everest, is not a solitary sport! So at the bottom lies also my dislike of “the crowd” and of a sport that seems to me ridiculous. If people choose to put their lives at risk, well then they better be prepared for the consequences. Krakauer’s belief that it might be worthwhile to forbid the use of bottled gas, which enables all too many to attempt what they are untrained to do, is not a bad idea. How do you enforce that?! Do you deter people through exorbitant fees? All of this is discussed. Very little of the book is exciting, and at the end I don’t know if I have any clear answers.
The author narrates the book himself. Not a bad job, but I did laugh at how he pronounced the Swedish mountaineer, Göran Kropp’s, first name. Someone could have told him. It is such a common name. It made me wonder if he pronounced other names incorrectly, the Sherpas’ for example.
Finally, I think this book should have made clear what draws people to the mountaineering sport. I still don’t understand that. Krakauer just says it has an attraction for some and once you are hooked, well you are hooked! I want to understand what they feel, see, experience. I only saw the business side of the whole thing. He states that the view at Everest is unexceptional, and at high altitudes you can easily destroy your body! So why do they do it? This book never answered that question for me. It cannot be for fame or recognition because so many do not succeed. So what is it?
I love to read. On average I read and/or listen to more than 100 books a year. Audible has been a fantastic addition to my life. Love it!
I read this in book form years ago when it was first released. I enjoyed it, but gave it maybe three stars. I recently listened to and loved Krakauer's "Under The Banner of Heaven", and -- on a Krakauer kick -- decided to give this another shot. I loved this as an audio book. I think that Krakauer is best enjoyed read in his own voice. I recommend this to first time readers and to anyone who has read, but not heard, the story.
I have too much too read and too little time to read it all. So audio sounded like a great solution, listen on the plane, car, bicycling, whatever. And my degree a few decades ago was English Lit, and I've been an award winning magazine writer so I have decent taste. And I don't care about mountain climbing but, the reviews of this were good, I liked that it would be read by the author and .. wow. He's amazingly articulate, perfect somber delivery for the nature of this book. Tells a story I had no clue about and tells it so well, I've learned about a subject and a place I knew nothing about, much to my joy. Highly recommend this book and most highly as, like me, your first audible book choice. Enjoy. Oh and it's 7 hours, you really get your money's worth!
I absolutely loved this book. I find his writing very entertaining with great descriptions. I loved almost everything about this book. I would love to meet the author. If you like this book, I would recommend "Into the Wild" another of his novels.
This book is undoubtedly engaging tale of tragedy and seems to be historically accurate. However, this audio book is proof if there ever was that authors should not read their own books for distribution. I truly wanted to get through this book, its documentation of the history of moutain climbing alone was most interesting, but I was put to sleep by the author's dull monotone, expressionless voice. Fortunately, the iPod Nano has a fast speed setting for situations like this, I thought. But even on fast play, the reading was just plain boring to death, despite the interesting material. Perhaps with a talented actor reading it I would have been able to enjoy the book. I marvel that others were able to listen to it and rate it so highly. If there were a 1.5 star selection thats as high as I would have rated it because of the dull reading.
This is one of my favorite books and I have given print or Audible copies to at least a dozen friends. I respect the honesty and accuracy that Krakauer strives for and hearing the book in his own voice makes it more real. I've read several books on Everest and the 1996 tragedy. Eiger Dreams is also an enjoyable book.
Overall a very captivating story but this book is like a car wreck on the freeway. Human nature is to slow down and take a close look at what happened. While fascinating I can't help but cringe on the seemingly self serving nature of the book for Mr. Krakuaer. The facts of the climb are well done but the biased opinions of other climbers and outfits makes you feel you're sitting around the employee lunch table griping about who got a raise, who took the last cup of coffee...etc. As for the writing...you feel you are climbing a mountain of metaphors and multisyllabic words instead of Everest. The monotonality of the reading makes it hard to distinguish between quotes from other climbers etc.
This one was tough to get through. The author was the reader of this book and I couldn't believe his total lack of enthusiasm when reading. It was almost like listening to a robot. If you want an exciting adventure book, check out Shadow Divers.
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