Shattered Air

A True Account of Catastrophe and Courage on Yosemite's Half Dome
Narrated by: Anthony Heald
Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
4 out of 5 stars (115 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On the evening of July 27, 1985, five hikers made a fateful choice to climb Yosemite's fabled Half Dome, even as the sky darkened and thunder rolled. By night's end, two would be dead from a lightning strike, three gravely wounded, and desperate EMTs would be overseeing a harrowing midnight helicopter rescue.

Shattered Air is a haunting account of recklessness, tragedy, courage, and rescue, a book whose depiction of nature's power is tempered by unforgettable portraits of human courage and the will to survive.

©2005 Robert Madgic (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[A] penetrating account of this tragedy." ( Booklist)
"If you've ever felt cavalier about dealing with mountain thunderstorms, this drama about lightning and death should fix it." ( San Francisco Chronicle)
"[A] well-written and thoroughly investigated account....Madgic's contribution to the adventure category is at once a terrifying story and an urgent cautionary tale." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Shattered Air

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Had me on the edge of my seat

This book is the best read I've had in a while. I like adventure stories and nature and this combines both. Yosemite, lightening, hiking, rescue are all involved and makes for a good listen.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not that much Catastrophe or Courage

I love stories about mountains, extreme weather, outdoor adventures and heroic survival and rescues, but this one just isn't that interesting. Summary could be - a bunch of stoners ignore all warnings, go up Half Dome in a storm, the most inexperienced die and a bunch of bypassers are forced to put themselves in danger to rescue them. The characters aren't particularly likeable or interesting and there's nothing particularly exciting about the rescue. Lots of detail and history about lightening strikes, but for the first time ever I had to make myself listen to the end, hoping it might become more engaging - but it never did.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good to the last word

This book is one of the five best books I ever listened. The story is attractive and the narrator's performance is great. I wish I can give it six stars.

2 people found this helpful

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

Good story, but excessive detail.

I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline of this book. Unfortunately, the story was overshadowed by an overwhelming amount of unnecessary detail that did not add anything to the understanding or enjoyability of the plot (ex. detailing the accounts of climbers that were never involved in the accident and never mentioned again after the initial introduction). I consistently found myself saying "Just get on with it already!" Good enough to read once but too aggrivating to read a second time.

1 person found this helpful

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

What are you guys thinking.

This book shouldn't exist! It's semi well written and kinda of interesting but like a 5th grade essay he losses his point so entirely that by the time he wanders back you forgot what the story is supposed to be about. There's a whole section on mountain climbing ( which has no relivence to this story or it's persons. There is also this forbidding unmentioned FEAR of storms that I feel he really got heavy handed with. The author really feels like humans should be inside from a half hour before a storm to a half hour after it..... Who has time for that in life? This book could have been half it's length with 2x the excitement if he had left his fluff out of this book.

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

Incredible story!

One of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read! Exciting, informative and well researched! You won’t want to put it down!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Didn’t expect it to be so riveting!

Really harrowing true story read by an excellent narrator... I had never even heard of this tragic incident and didn’t really expect to be so interested. It was a great book and I learned a lot about natural phenomena and Yosemite.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A new respect for lightning

Amazing story, great narrator's voice and I will never climb Half Dome. I love Yosemite.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Read it yourself.

Not that the narration was terrible. It was just . . . so. There was a lack of excitement that could have made the difference.

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

Good narrative except for some language

Would you try another book from Bob Madgic and Adrian Esteban and/or Anthony Heald?

Maybe.

Would you be willing to try another book from Bob Madgic and Adrian Esteban ? Why or why not?

Maybe, if I knew there was less foul language

What about Anthony Heald’s performance did you like?

Clear and kept you engaged

Was Shattered Air worth the listening time?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Good book on famous event that occurred on Half-Dome. It also includes some excellent background information on lightning, a brief history of Yosemite and Half-Dome, and climbing.

While reading you can sense that disaster was coming even if it did not know the eventual outcome. You think, “How can people be this reckless?” Clearly in this case thrill-seeking and ego took over their better judgment, and it cost people their lives. The courage and quick action of the would-be rescuers in an overwhelming situation also helps you better understand the challenges these everyday heroes face and you are grateful for such people who overcome the odds to save others.

Overall I liked the storytelling and the background, and you develop empathy for everyone involved. My only negative was that it included significant foul language, and this distracted from the enjoyment of the narrative. It was the reason I gave it a lower rating.