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Publisher's Summary

A dramatic, inspiring memoir by legendary rock climber Tommy Caldwell, the first person to free climb the Dawn Wall of Yosemite's El Capitan.

On January 14, 2015, Tommy Caldwell, along with his partner, Kevin Jorgeson, summited what is widely regarded as the hardest climb in history - Yosemite's nearly vertical 3,000-foot Dawn Wall, after 19 days on the route. Caldwell's odds-defying feat was the culmination of an entire lifetime of pushing himself to his limits as an athlete.

This engrossing memoir chronicles the journey of a boy with a fanatical mountain-guide father who was determined to instill toughness in his son to a teen whose obsessive nature drove him to the top of the sport-climbing circuit. Caldwell's affinity for adventure then led him to the vertigo-inducing and little understood world of big wall free climbing. But his evolution as a climber was not without challenges; in his early 20s, he was held hostage by militants in a harrowing ordeal in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Soon after, he lost his left index finger in an accident. Later his wife, and main climbing partner, left him. Caldwell emerged from these hardships with a renewed sense of purpose and determination. He set his sights on free climbing El Capitan's biggest, steepest, blankest face - the Dawn Wall. This epic assault took more than seven years, during which time Caldwell redefined the sport, found love again, and became a father.

The Push is an arresting story of focus, drive, motivation, endurance, and transformation, a book that will appeal to anyone seeking to overcome fear and doubt, cultivate perseverance, turn failure into growth, and find connection with family and with the natural world.

©2017 Tommy Caldwell (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best adventure, and maybe best autobiography I have read.

I was excited for this book, being familiar with Tommy's climbs and adventures. I've read countless similar books, and was geared up for another interesting, but somewhat superficial armchair adventure personal history. However, this book is instead one of the most thoughtful, introspective, and at times emotional personal stories I have read. Tommy has the ability to see the flaws and the grace in all the relationships around him in a mixture of love and honesty. The stories of his adventures are fun and descriptive, but also take pauses to discuss the thoughts, fears, and doubts in Tommy's mind at the time. He does an excellent job embodying his 15, 20, and 30 year old self so we can experience his growing up along side him. I am super impressed at this first book from Tommy- hopefully there are more to come!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional, beautiful

This is such an amazing and insightful story. Tommy Caldwell tells it with amazing detail, transporting us into the joy, agony and beauty of the mountains. I will listen again for sure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A rare life story!

I couldn't put it aside! This would probably be something for non climbers just as well too!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Perseverance Personified!

Wow, this was one of the best books I have read/listened to in a long time around the subject of perseverance and the will to make things happen.

I cannot recommend this book enough and am really looking forward to the movie they were filming whilst scaling the Dawn Wall. My feet and fingers would get tired just reading about the climbs.

Really well written and very honest without a lot of ego.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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One of the best memoirs, period.

Any additional comments?



The book is painfully honest.

From all the reviews I read and heard, I expected nothing but honesty, but still it surprised me. To a genuine person, it is not too hard to honestly dissect the self and even be brutally critical of oneself. However, it takes a strong commitment to honesty to tell the truth about EVERYTHING, which includes other people involved. It takes courage not to gloss over details for fear of offending others, and it takes integrity to speak the truth regardless how that reflects on yourself or others around you.

For some readers out there, you might find the book sometimes painful to read -- that is, if you ever find yourself feeling hopelessly socially awkward and not knowing how to fit in and integrate, if you find yourself struggling to make sense of relationships be it with family, significant other, or even a climbing partner, if you have ever had the thought, no matter how brief and shameful, that walking off that diving board did not seem to be too horrible an idea, or if you have ever set a goal that seemed totally ridiculous and unrealistic ... you will identify yourself in the book. Now, who am I kidding. I am all of those "some readers" rolled into one. The fact that the book has a fairy tale ending -- everyone seems to have gotten what they wanted for life -- might just be the inspiration I need?

You, ya you!, could well be in a very good place in your life right now and cannot relate to any of that. Good for you! I don't know what kind of impact the book will have on you, but I suspect that the book has the power to touch some place deep in anyone's heart. That, is the power of raw honesty. Enjoy!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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climbing, superhero dad, adventure and love

Enjoyed many aspects of this book. Well written with plenty of detail and definitions for non climbers to enjoy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Totally Rad!

Amazing autobiography! Experienced full range of emotions and left me more moto than my days in the military!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Incredible story, so inspiring!

Such an incredible story, told by a great storyteller. I felt like I was right there on the wall with him. I cried through his struggles and cheered at his successes as he faced internal and external obstacles throughout his life to eventually lead him to what will probably be the most defining achievement of his career. Even someone not familiar with climbing can appreciate this story. It's a climber's story, yes, but it is so much more than that.

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Incredible and absolutely immersive

Tommy Caldwell draws a vivid picture of his life, his climbs and his people. The story is captivating, and his accomplishments awe inspiring. The narrator reels you in and plunges into worlds of mountains and gear, and keeps you tethered along the way. Possibly one of the best audio books I’ve heard so far.
Don’t hesitate to dive in!

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Excellent, relatable story of risk and adventure

After listening to Honnold's self-gratifying Alone on the Wall, this book was a breath of fresh air. Tommy Caldwell tells the story from an authentic sense of humility, and makes his outrageous adventures feel relatable through a fantastic telling of his upbringing. As a new parent myself I learned a ton from Tommy's stories about his relationship with his dad and how his parents loving guidance enabled Tommy to rise apart from the crowd and become a world class climber. This guy is unreal - I hope someday to meet him and shake his hand for writing this fantastic book and the positive impact its made upon my life.