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Into Thin Air | [Jon Krakauer]

Into Thin Air

The definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of Into the Wild. Read by the author. Also, hear a Fresh Air interview with Krakauer conducted shortly after his ordeal.
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Publisher's Summary

Into Thin Air is the definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of Eiger Dreams and Into the Wild. On assignment for Outside magazine, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas to report on the growing commercialization of the planet's highest mountain. Everest has always been a dangerous mountain. From the first British expeditions in the 1920s until 1996, one climber has died for ever 4 who have attained the summit. This shocking death toll has not put a damper on the burgeoning business of guided ascents, however, in which amateur alpinists with alarmingly disparate skills are ushered up the mountain for a $65,000 fee. To ascend into the thin, frigid air above 26,000 feet - the cruising altitude of a commercial jetliner - is an inherently irrational act. The environment is unimaginably harsh, the margin for error miniscule. Krakauer examines what it is about Everest that has compelled so many people - including himself - to throw caution to the wind, ignore the concern of loved ones, and willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense. Written with emotional clarity and supported by his unimpeachable reporting, Krakauer's frank eyewitness account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement.

©1997 Jon Krakauer; (P)1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award Winner, Best Audio of 1998, Best of the Best
    Alex Award Winner, 1998

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1956 )
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4.4 (783 )
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Performance
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  •  
    David New York, NY, USA 03-09-03
    David New York, NY, USA 03-09-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Being There"

    This was a great, thrilling story and well read by the author. The sense of "being there" with John on Everest was palpable. As a reader, I am normally overly eager to reach the end of a story, to see how it turns out, and get on to the next read. This was a book I never wanted to end. It kept my attention rivieted every second. My most enjoyable book for the last year!

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Doral, FL, USA 02-17-03
    Dan Doral, FL, USA 02-17-03 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An incredible book, beautifully performed"

    Into Thin Air is the dramatic retelling of the Mount Everest disaster as told by an Outside Magazine writer that was on the expedition. I am normally not fond of author's reading their own books--this seems to be a job better left to professional readers. In this case, having the author read the book adds extra weight to the tragidy of the story. I've been an Audible subscriber for two years and this has been my favorite book so far.

    34 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul San Mateo, CA, USA 02-10-04
    Paul San Mateo, CA, USA 02-10-04
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    "Touching tale of tragedy on Top of the World"

    Loved the reading!
    Jon Krakauer, eyewitness, author, and narrator, grabs the audience in a way which transports them with the doomed 1996 Everest expedition teams. We feel the camaraderie, exultations, and eventual tragedy while safely well below the "death zone". Having skimmed the printed edition, I finally purchased and listened to this title while commuting - for the first time I wished my commute were longer or the traffic worse!
    Jon reads with feeling, as he should; he was there and witnessed the events. His account is gripping and the unabridged version is well worth the additional investment of time!
    I see that The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev, a guide on Fisher's team, is also available on Audible - to better understand the events of mid-May 1996 one would want to listen to both titles.
    Having been an Audible listener for over 2 years, I have often relied upon reviews of other listeners when choosing new titles; this is my first contribution.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Wolfforth, TX, USA 07-20-09
    Michael Wolfforth, TX, USA 07-20-09 Member Since 2005
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    "A must read"

    Where do I start? This book has changed people's lives for years and it changed mine. The detailed account of how people strive so hard to achieve an almost unreachable goal despite the fact that they might die is almost unbelievable. I do not understand why climbers would put themselves through the suffering one must endure to stand atop Everest, nor do I have the desire to climb Everest, but I found this book completely enthralling. It is a testament to the human spirit and what man can and will do once he/she has set their mind to it.

    I ended the book, listened to the interview, and immediately started the book over again. It was that good. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good non-fiction read.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca VERNON, CT, United States 07-17-05
    Rebecca VERNON, CT, United States 07-17-05
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    "Into Thin Air"

    Absolutely, hands down, the best book I've listened to. I couldn't stop listening. The unbelievable description of Everest and the account of the 1996 disaster at times made me feel like I was there. Mr. Krakauer writes in a way that makes you think about the book for hours after listening to it. I would highly recommend this book to anybody -- even if you don't have any interest in climbing! It's so much more than a climbing book. It's the tale of unbelievable human endurance, will and drive.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, USA 01-16-08
    Dennis COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, USA 01-16-08 Member Since 2006
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    "Well Told"

    This book is narrated by the author. The pace is good and the recording is good. First person perspective. I have been intrigued by Everest and the author gives some nice details about the climb in general. He also gives some good background about the world's highest mountains and the climbing culture. The group he climbed with were a bunch of characters and he tells interesting anecdotes about most of them. I listened to the book twice.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darren Galveston, TX, USA 08-18-03
    Darren Galveston, TX, USA 08-18-03 Member Since 2003
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    "Amazing"

    A story so compelling it pushes other engagements out of the way.

    The depth of vivid description grabs as intently as the lethal danger surrounding the climbers. Krakauer is the best writer I've yet to come across in my stint on Audible. His work rival's Diana Gabaldon's incredible delineations. The effortless flow of dense, diverse description of an eclectic cast of driven individuals struggling against the very edge of life completely ensnares the listener.

    In a word, amazing.

    Highly recommended.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Houston, TX, USA 07-08-05
    Elizabeth Houston, TX, USA 07-08-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Drive around the block"

    This was the first book I ever listened to on tape, that didn't have a ding to tell me to turn the pages. It took some time to get into the rythym of the author reading the book, but we found ourselves driving around the block to get to the end of chapters. It is a compelling story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelley CA, United States 10-15-07
    Kelley CA, United States 10-15-07 Member Since 2006

    Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of the best"

    This book actually made me greive as though I were somehow part of the story. Amazing when an author can actually make our theoretical connection to others become very real. It's quite a masterpiece and one of the best author readings I've heard.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Indygreg Indianapolis, IN 11-01-04
    Indygreg Indianapolis, IN 11-01-04 Member Since 2001

    IndyGreg

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A must listen if there is one"

    In my years of audible.com use (back to 98) I have to say this is the book I recommend to friends the most. It is just a must read/listen. It grips you and holds you and sticks with you for years. This is the only audio book I re-listen to - almost on a yearly basis. It is a story of triumph and loss. It turned me into an Everest buff.
    Get this book. You will love it. You will learn from it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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