• Crashing Through

  • A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See
  • By: Robert Kurson
  • Narrated by: Doug Ordunio
  • Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 04-30-07
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Books on Tape
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (467 ratings)

Regular price: $31.93

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Publisher's Summary

Blinded at age three, Mike May defied expectations by breaking world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA, and becoming a successful inventor, entrepreneur, and family man. He had never yearned for vision.

Then, in 1999, a chance encounter brought startling news: a revolutionary stem-cell transplant surgery could restore May's vision. The procedure was filled with risks, some of them deadly, others beyond May's wildest dreams. There were countless reasons for May to pass on vision. He could think of only a single reason to go forward. Whatever his decision, he knew it would change his life.

Beautifully written and thrillingly told, Crashing Through is a journey of suspense, daring, romance, and insight into the mysteries of vision and the brain. Robert Kurson gives us a fascinating account of one man's choice to explore what it means to see - and to truly live.

©2007 Robert Kurson (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"A remarkable story of courage and endurance." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding!

An amazing account of an exceptionally rare occurrence – a totally blind man who is made to see after nearly 40 years. Wonderful? You’d think so, but when your brain hasn’t learned to understand what your eyes see, the resulting chaos can drive a man to suicide.

Kurson tells Mike May’s story brilliantly. He has a rare ability that transported me into the adventure and held my attention throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed his skilful capacity to impart technical information with intense clarity, without every becoming tedious or sounding patronising.

This is a book that will fascinate, stimulate, educate and inspire you. Once you have listened to it, you’ll be bursting to tell others about this truly incredible story. One of the best books I’ve downloaded in 10 years of membership.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Now through a glass darkly...

The title "Crashing Through" implies a momentous breakthrough that never quite appears in the book. Granted, the story is about a man, Michael May, who gains sight after more than 43 years of blindness, and his struggle to make sense of visual information after so many years of dormancy. But I kept waiting for a breakthorough to normalcy that never happens.

As it turns out, sight is more complex than any of us might have suspected, requiring far more than simple sensory input. Yet May is a remarkable man and his willingness to let us share in the intimate details of this struggle makes this a singular read. Without May's insights this would just be another story of science falling short of the mark. With it, we are treated to a far deeper awareness of the complexities of vision, an appreciation for its gifts, and understanding of what it must be like to see, even just a little, after so many years of blindness.

This book has done what I expect of all great books, it has left me pondering the significance of many of its values and ideas and has been the source of many conversations with my friends and family.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved the science. Mike's life story, not so much.

STORY (true) - Mike May is one of only ten documented cases of sight restoration after a lifetime of blindness. This book is about his life and his journey from darkness into light. I'm not sure I would like Mike as a person. He reminds me of my ex-husband -- a cocky adrenaline junkie who looks too much at women other than his wife -- but I digress. Those aspects of his personality definitely contributed to his success story.

The parts of the book about Mike's life...meh. He is successful and happy, blah, blah. blah. The parts about his surgery and the battle he fought for vision...awesome! Much of the "seeing part" of his brain was never developed and had to be trained or worked around. As only one example, he had to be taught how to distinguish between male and female faces and the difference between a smile and a frown. When shown drawings of faces with eyes or mouths upside down, he didn't notice. He even had trouble distinguishing between his own children using sight alone. Things we learn through our lifetimes of sight are things Mike had to be taught. Fascinating.

PERFORMANCE - No particular comment about the performance. It got the job done without distraction.

OVERALL - The book reads pretty much like a story, going chronologically through Mike's experiences. There is no violence or cursing, and there's only one sexual situation. Recommended for any adult who might be interested in Mike's journey.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathryn
  • Spring Lake, MI, USA
  • 06-23-07

What is sight - Mind or eye

The audio book "Crashing through" is a really interesting and I thought about it daily until I finished lisening. I have recommened this audio book to all my friends that are interested in nonfiction books about medical/social type issues. It makes you think about your own vision and how we take it for granted and how different we would be if we had never had a memory of seeing faces, colors, highways and more.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Astounding!

If you think you have even an "idea" of what it would mean for a blind person to regain sight, this book will "open your eyes". I couldn't stop listening... Kurson does an incredible job of blending the emotional, the technical, and the theoretical aspects of Mike May's story.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy
  • Davis, CA, United States
  • 12-12-15

Amazing and Unforgettable--Must Read Non-fiction!

If I had nothing going on in my life, I would have listened to this true account in one sitting. I don't think I have ever said that about a book before.

This is the true story of Mike May, a forty-something married man who lost his sight in a chemical explosion at the age of 3 and who subsequently regained sight as an adult. This is not a common occurrence--possibly 20 other people have ever been documented with similar circumstances. Many of those who were documented shared similar occurrences of depression and even suicide. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

There was nothing whatsoever about Mike, pre-sight, to make anyone feel sorry for his handicap. You see, Mike did not think of it as a handicap and was raised to not let blindness stop him from living life to the fullest--thus the title of this book. As a child (and adult), Mike was determined to do whatever sighted people do and so, he frequently charged onward, crashing through whatever was in his way.

So, you can imagine that the decision to accept all the serious and possibly life-threatening consequences of this attempt to acquire sight was not an easy choice for Mike. Due to the rarity of this set of circumstances--acquiring sight late in life--neither Mike nor the doctors had any idea what a successful outcome would look like.

I came to have the greatest admiration for Mike May. He was a superior human being without sight. He was even more amazing during the process of attempting new sight.

In addition to the story, the author interviews Mike at the end of the book.

If I have stimulated your interest at all, this is a no-brainer. Get this book now!

(Disclaimer: I had no idea upon purchasing this book that Mike lived in my town, nor have I ever met him.)

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Amazing

Good story. Amazing mother who allowed him to literally fall on his face to find his limits (or lack there of.) It's also facsinating to see how the brain works.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Let me understand the person behind the "blindness

because it is q true story as well as local, made it that much more interesting. As well as I have a blind daughter.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredibly Inspiring<br />

Loved the book from start to finish, and the optimism of the subject. The author did a great job with the details.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic must-read or must-listen to book.

Not only is Mike Mays story simply amazing, it is motivational for anyone who faces any challenges. It would be hard to find somebody who has overcome as many challenges as this stories main character has. Kudos to his wife in this story for being an amazing supporter of him, not to mention being highly patient and tolerant. The book is exceptionally well written, highly detailed and informative, and very well narrated. I can't recommend it highly enough. There are no negatives about it whatsoever.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful