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Publisher's Summary

In the summer of 1967, an Arctic hurricane trapped seven veteran climbers, members of Joe Wilcox's 12-man expedition, at 20,000 feet on Alaska's Mount McKinley. Ten days passed while the storm raged. Despite the availability of massive resources, no rescue was mounted, and all seven men died. The tragedy was one of the most controversial, bitterly contested, and mysterious tragedies in all of mountaineering history.

No bodies were ever recovered. No cameras, diaries, or films shed light on the climbers' final agonizing days. Yet agenda-driven critics and officials fearing lawsuits pronounced self-serving verdicts. Further obscuring the truth, two prominent expedition members offered conflicting versions of the catastrophe.

Through interviews with those involved, unpublished correspondence and diaries, and sensitive government documents, James M. Tabor uncovered an array of new information: a feud with the expedition leader, Joe Wilcox; a stillborn rescue operation thwarted by the Park Service bureaucracy; and the heroic efforts made by other civilian climbers. To interpret the details, he consulted experts in disciplines as diverse as forensics, meteorology, and psychology.

In the end, Tabor has pieced together for the first time the complete, untold story of this expedition, whose victims and survivors both remain, in many ways, forever on the mountain.

©2007 James Tabor; (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"An often gripping, detailed account." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Narrator sounds like a Harvard grad student

Would you try another book from James Tabor and/or Scott Brick?

no

Who was your favorite character and why?

couldn't get past the lame narrator

Would you be willing to try another one of Scott Brick’s performances?

no

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

dissapointment

Any additional comments?

Have read this book multiple times with great satisfaction. The narration delivery was way overboard. Too much inflection.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • S. Smail
  • Summerville, SC United States
  • 12-01-13

Fascinating Book, Fantastic Narration

If you want to read a book that will make you want to reach through the pages (or speakers I suppose) and strangle someone, this is the book for you! Listening to the absolutely ridiculous rescue attempt (or lack thereof) frustrated me beyond belief. I just kept thinking that if this guy wasn't such an idiot or that guy would just do his job then they might have survived. So I guess you could say I got fairly immersed in the story.

I was a little hesitant to get this book because although Scott Brick is my favorite narrator ever, a lot of people have criticized his performance saying that he tried too hard to make it interesting or went over the top. I decided to give it a go anyway and the entire time I was waiting for this melodramatic reading to begin and it never did. To me it sounded no different than the way he narrated Helter Skelter, In Cold Blood or The Devil in the White City.

And lastly because I'm not above a bit of childish name calling, Bradford Washburn was such a jerk. Talk about kicking a guy while he's down... and then jumping on him for good measure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Absolutely addictive

This book falls outside my normal genre, but with Scott Brick narrating and feeling adventurous I decided to give it a try and what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. My wife and I were completely drawn in by the rich story telling and absolutely enthralled by the adventure itself - we found ourselves listening long into the night. Captivating, hypnotic, inspiring!!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very insightful and informative.

Excellent storytelling and informative. This is one of the best books I've read on the 1967 tragedy on Denali.
The only thing that could've made the book better is pictures and perhaps a diagram of Denali showing where everything happened. I will read this book again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Don Lance
  • Murfreesboro, TN United States
  • 11-30-09

Interesting story, but long on analysis

I like reading stories about high adventure, and learning how people have overcome wilderness challenges. So I chose this story as it describes a historical event with this theme, and postulates what may have happened to the men who never came back from Mt McKinley.

The book provides a good background on the people involved and the difficulties of climbing Mt McKinley. The public usually considers places like Everest to be incredibly dangerous. The book helps to educate you that Mt McKinley is just as dangerous to ascend.

I enjoyed the book, and thought the narrator performed wonderfully. However, toward the end the book seemed to "drag" with a lot of guesses of what may have happened. Obviously the author sought to be comprehensive in examining the causes of the disaster. But sometimes this led to an "over-analysis" in my opinion. The fact is that we will never really know unless some additional definitive evidence surfaces.

While I enjoyed the book, its length of "analysis" at the end made it difficult for me to finish.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good back, distracting narration

First off, I got this book primarily because Scott Brick was the narrator (In the Heart of the Sea is probably the best narrated book ever, IMO) but he tries way to hard to make the story more interesting which it already is. His emphasis on some words and phrases is so distracting that I laughed out loud sometimes. Good book though once you get used to his style. I thought maybe it was the author so I went to the bookstore and read some. Not sure what Scott was trying to do with this one...

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Book worm
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • 08-22-07

Tabor pulled it off!

I hesitated a long time before pulling the trigger on this title. While I am a not a mountain climber I am a fan of classics on the topic such as Krakauer's "Into Thin Air." So I was interested in this book.

What had me worried was the fact that the book was based on second-hand accounts as no personal effects of any of the victims of the tragedy were recovered. More significantly, the tragedy happened over 40 years ago so the recollections and records of those involved can be expected to be further compromised. Finally several books and articles have been written about this event and I wondered what more this book could offer.

I just finished listening to the book and I can say that despite these challenges, the author met the objectives which he spelled out in the introduction. Mainly to objectively examine all the facts related to the incident to better understand excatly what happened and perhaps to better understand why.

I enjoyed the book for several reasons:
1. As always, Scott Brick's narration is excellent.
2. The author is a mountain climber and does a masterful job of filling in gaps in information and in describing what conditions on the mountain would have been like.
3. Reference to scientific and medical information related to leadership, team dynamics and high altitude physiology make what otherwise could have been a dry repetition of times and events enganging.
4. The author did an excellent job of summarizing a large amount of information, making it interesting and in the end helping the listener understand what happened on that fateful July in 1967.

A good listen for fans of mountaineering or real life drama stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Now I'm Hooked ...

I really enjoyed this book by James Tabor, and was sorry to have it end. Scott Brick is easy to listen to and never over-dramatizes an already emotional story. I especially love the survivor interview section and the Further Reading suggestions. I know what I will be reading for the next few weeks.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Distracting narration

Any additional comments?

I'm almost finished with the book but came here to see if anyone else was a little put off by the narration. So it's not just me! I've loved Scott Brick's narration every other time I've heard him, but this time he's over the top. The story is dramatic enough without "help."<br/><br/>Aside from that, it is indeed a dramatic and interesting story. I may buy the paper book for a re-read, especially if it contains the photographs described by the author. I've scoured the net looking for them and no luck.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

thumbs ups

Good narration. Great perspective on the tragedy from a third-party climber familiar with dangerous mountain conditions. Clearly serious research contributed to the accuracy of this account. Highly recommended for anyone curious about the history of climbing on Denali.