Title: Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
Author: Jon Krakauer
Published: 1997
Language: English
Pages: 319
Rating: 5/5

This is journalist Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster on Everest, which eventually claimed the lives of eight people.

This book was brutal and almost left me heaving.

To be honest, I had been avoiding this book for some time, because I felt I already knew quite a lot about the disaster, having seen several movies, documentaries and read articles. However, none of that was anything like this. This book doesn't just show you what happened, but takes you in and brings you along on this epic, idealistic and eventually horrifying adventure.

I thought this was well written and I like how it sort of strips this sort of enterprise of it's glossiness. Climbing Everest is, above all, painful. And you can almost feel the pain while reading this. Yes, it's also a show of extraordinary will of humans, a show of athleticism, bravery and friendship, but it's no easy feat, and if you have any ideas that climbing the highest mountain on Earth is easy, you're wrong.

When reading these kinds of books, I am aware that it's impossible for the author to tell the story objectively, so the controversy around this makes no difference to me: this is how Krakauer experienced the disaster and how he remembers it, and I understand that some of it might not be completely accurate.

I read this book over the span of about 24 hours, which is not something I usually feel compelled to do, but I could not put this one down. I thought it was harrowing, atmospheric and horrifying, and although it might not be the absolute truth, I don't see how this could've been done any better.
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  1. I love books based on facts, but it still made me shake my head reading about lives lost just because they didn't listen. It was spellbinding but also extremely hard to swallow. But I think all of his books are like that.

    1. It's definitely a tragedy and definitely a very pressing environment to be in, but as you say, also spellbinding :) xx Alice


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