2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Edgy and riveting, 15 Jun. 2011
OK, so I've now finished 'Into Thin Air' and its a really good read. I am in awe of people who do something as truly dangerous as climbing Everest, although at the same time, I know they are all bonkers and you wouldn't even catch me anywhere near base camp, that's for sure.
Jon Krakauer is a good writer and he keeps the momentum going in this account of one of the more famously awful ascents of Everest. I developed a morbid habit of going back to the dedication at the front of the book to check who was mentioned there - a name check at the front meant they hadn't made it back down alive. It was uncomfortable reading at times - but for all the right reasons and his thoughts on the commercialisation of Everest are essential reading.
One of the disturbing aspects of the book, which appears almost an afterthought towards the end, is that if you keel over on Everest, you are just left to die - it's rare that anyone will stop to help you. There are a few exceptions - and Jon rightly praises those whose heroics in this incident saved several lives - but there's an incident in this book where a Japanese climbing team literally step over three other climbers who are in difficulty and leave them to die, when in reality, they could have abandoned their summit attempt and perhaps saved all their lives. Its a sobering moment in an edgy and riveting book.
All in all, an excellent, recommended book.