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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 6 March 2003
A wonderful collection of short stories. Crazy ,likeable characters in, to say the least ,unusual & challenging situations.All written with great humour, Mr. Krakauer knows how to tell a good story. The account of the Mt.McKinley climb is probably one of the best & funniest short stories I ever read. Maybe even more enjoyable for non-climbers ( I am not), just to find out about the mad men of the mountains.Well recommended.
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on 11 September 1999
This collection of essays by climber and journalist Jon Krakauer is a real eye-opener. It shows just how diverse the world of mountaineering has become. The subjects range from accounts of some of Krakauer's own exploits, including an aborted attempt on the north face of the Eiger, to humorous portraits of the pilots who fly mountaineers onto glaciers.
What makes the book such an entertaining read is Krakauer's disarming honesty and his knack for getting under the skin of his subject and understanding what makes people tick.
Recommended reading for all armchair mountaineers.
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VINE VOICEon 9 May 2000
A series of very well written short stories by the master of mountain writing. Funny, moving, scary and above all accessable. Dont expect great long epis, this looks at the lighter side of mountaineering.
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People have always pushed to accomplish more. When one of my best friends took up mountain climbing well into his fifties after he back wasn't up to golf any more, I began to wonder what the sport was all about. Having remembered that Jon Krakauer is both a wonderful writer and an adventuresome climber, it seemed like I might learn the answers by reading this book. I was more than amply rewarded for my curiosity.

Knowing that adventures are better heard as a story rather than read, I also opted for Philip Franklin's reading for Books on Tape. This was a stunningly good choice. Mr. Franklin makes you feel like you are right there as you look down from dizzying heights of thousands of feet while being held up by a small patch of crumbling ice.

The diversity of the stories is remarkable, from those who want to set records for getting up dangerous new routes to those who want to set records for speed in sport climbing (lots of strength and technique but not much risk). I was very surprised by some of the stories, including the ones about climbing "impossible" boulders that might be only 30 feet high and tall columns of crumbling frozen water . . . unattached to any nearby rock.

Mr. Krakauer has a wonderful ability to bring you into the stories by recounting his own fearful beginnings as a climber and the ways that he has sought release from humdrum cares by climbing. You'll find yourself chilled to the bone in places, even though you may be sitting in front of a roaring fire. It's a great trip!

I don't think I'll take up climbing, but I am indebted to this brilliant exposition of climbing's appeal.
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on 22 February 2000
I have read a few climbing books, and apart from the fact that I still don't quite know why these guys do it, I find most modern writers on the subject vaguely stimulating. More often than not, I read the first 50 pages or so, but then I get bored. Not so with John Krakauer's work here. His style very is well placed, he obviously knows what he's talking about, and his own ideas seem to come through a little. I just wish that other authors on the same subject could lighten up a bit.
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on 6 March 2015
I am fan of Krakauer and I particularly enjoyed his "Into Thin Air". Although this may lack the drama and immediacy of that he still gets to visit and meet some very interesting people, doing many creative and crazy things in some of the most dangerous and isolated parts of the world. Always a reliable and agreeable voice on the great outdoors.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 July 2010
This book is a collection of articles written and previously published by Jon Krakauer (with one chapter a joint written one) and it's worth noting that most of it isn't actually about the Eiger. Each chapter takes a different element of perspective of the different types of climbing or the personalities in climbing and each gives a superb taster, whetting the appetite for more climbing literature.

If you've already read other climbing books there may be some repetition here but for new climbing reader this is a great introduction into the culture and legends of mountaineering and climbing. I really enjoyed it but it is ripe for an update having been written in the late 1980s and it frequently refers to things that should be happening just as the book/article was written. A second edition would be great to tie up these loose ends.

I'm not a climber (it's far too scary for me) but I love reading about the adventures of others. Definitely a collection rather than a progressive story it's still very readable, very interesting and very enjoyable. Recommended.
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The author of this mountaineering miscellany, Jon Krakauer, is an American mountaineer and writer probably best known for his public condemnation of commercialism linked to Mount Everest and his book `Into Thin Air' presenting an investigative account of the 1996 tragedies on the mountain. Though criticised by other mountaineers, Jon Krakauer has mixed easily with many of the world's top climbers and mountaineers, he writes first hand accounts with frankness, he understands the culture of the climbing world and he has direct experience of what motivates mountaineers. As a journalistic writer Krakauer uses knowledge of his own and the achievements and epics of contemporary mountaineers and others to produce narrative in readable and humorous style, though perhaps he makes light of some events and in places for a `Brit' the humour may be too intentionally injected. Furthermore when he relies on quotes it can be irritating to have explanations of how non-American mountaineers have `gotten' into or `gotten' out of various situations. Apart from its final chapter `Eiger Dreams' is a collection of articles previously published between 1982 and 1989 in magazines and journals. Krakauer associates tales with well known mountains of Eiger, K2 and Mount McKinley; together with commentaries on well known individuals like boulderer John Gill, ice climbers of Valdez, maverick mountaineers Alan and Adrian Burgess, and historical perspectives on `A Mountain Higher Than Everest'. Also he delves into the psyche of mountaineers with chapters `On Being Tentbound' and `Chamonix', plus insights to related sports as `Canyoneering'. The final chapter `The Devils Thumb' is a revealing story of Jon Krakauer's early epic solo of a new route in Alaska to somehow seek a "glorious transformation". `Eiger Dreams' allows awareness and apprehension of what compels climbers and mountaineers to accept risks to achieve dreams.
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on 20 June 2015
Very disappointing. I was hoping for a book on climbing the high mountains, but there were only a couple of chapters which held my interest. The other chapters were taken from individual essays on boulder climbing, times in tents, etc. I know Jon had been involved in good exciting climbs, but these were not touched upon. He goes well down my list.
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on 8 July 2013
Started reading Krakauer after watching Into The Wild and have found all his books to be a fantastic read. His stories are always well-written and gives you that "just ten more minutes..." feel when you know you ought to put it down and do something else.
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