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4.2 out of 5 stars99
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 7 December 2010
This is an amazing story and I'm glad I've read the book before the film is released in the UK next month. I'm not into mountaineering but thought the book was fascinating. My only criticism is that I felt there were a few dull sections early on when Aron talked about his previous escapades, some of which I found went on a bit- I just wanted to get back to the story of his entrapment. However, overall his escape is just so mindblowing that it makes a great story. I always find it inspiring to read how people cope both psychologically and practically when faced with overwhelming adversity, such that this book makes for very good read.
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on 9 June 2011
This young man faced an unprecedented challenge and overcame it in a physical and it would also appear a psychological sense. Most of those reading this review will be aware of the challenge that was encountered but for those few that havent read the book or seen the movie I will refrain from giving too much detail...
My summation of the book is as follows..
As a reflection on the human ability to overcome, survive and endure a horrendous situation, it is excellent. The reflections into both past experiences/adventures can at times, whilst meaningful for the author can seem a little tedious for the reader. The spiritual 'enlightenment' experienced was obviously central to this young mans survival and deeply powerful and cant be criticised but for somebody who is reading the book on their sofa, in bed, on a bus, etc it is hard to relate to. Is that the fault of the reader or perhaps it is the writing or editing of the final publication I cant be certain. For me, it doesnt quite work.
I have yet to watch the movie but I believe the soundtrack is excellent.
To the author, I would say well done in terms of overcoming the challenge presented and in writing a book and subsequently negotiating a movie deal. I enjoyed the publication but in reality it is by no means a masterpiece. I hope that the author continues to find new adventures and continues to write new books.
I am as passionate about the outdoors, mountain travel, wildcamping and active in persuing them as anyone. I am also an avid reader. In my view this is an enjoyable read but there are better options.
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on 4 February 2011
I read this book in three days. After seeing the film I really wanted to get a better insight into the authors life and understand what type of man it would take to cut of his own arm. I understand why one reviewer has given this book three stars as I agree that some of the climbing lingo and his descriptions are difficult to follow especially for those of us who are not enthusiastic as the author is. I didn't always understand what he was describing and found it difficult to picture what he was doing, phrases like cornice, couloir, crampons, DPS, ECSO, ICS, Lexan and many others kept popping up and I had no idea what they meant. However, when I reached the end of the book and saw there was a glossary, I wish I would've known this before GODDAMIT!

Still, the best parts of the book are his accounts of being stuck in Blue John Canyon and his sharing of his thoughts and worries which reach a maximum level of intensity. He had to drink his own urine too and watch his right hand decompose in front of him. I found the most interesting part his hullucinations, his near death experience and preminitions which I wished he could've expounded on. I found it somewhat different to the film and some of the biographical stories tend to break up the tension in which the film had displayed and demonstrated. Some of the other stories are interesting, such as the one when he gets chased by bear, which I found rather amusing. however, the other biographical details were no where as intense as the 127 hours in which he was stuck in that canyon.

I liked the fact that he had been reborn had found a sense of spiritualality and had reflected on his whole life to realize the selfishness and pain he had inflicted on others. I think he should've written more about that, as I think that lesson was really what was at the heart of the book. It is this idea that he was stuck in this canyon for a reason, to escape fear and achieve a higher state of consciousness-a knowing that he is more than just a body! I think this message should've been emphasized more, but apart from that I really enjoyed it and I also highly recommend that you go and see the film!
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on 30 March 2007
Aron's tenacity, and lust for life simply cannot be questioned,however, despite his protests to the contrary, this book is an exercise in showing off of the very highest order. The central story of his entrapment is utterly enthralling, let down by his extreme desire to boast about his exploits in the preceeding years. This book could have been a masterpiece detailing an amazing life but what emerges is a tale of someone obsessed with selfish actions which stand out in sharp contrast to what appears to be his genuinely caring soul.
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on 6 December 2007
There's no doubt Aron Ralston is a very brave man. And his story is well-worth reading.

However, Aron has been ill-advised on his writing style. He uses over complex syntax to tell his worthy tale - hampering the reader's ability to enjoy a flowing commentary of his remarkable story.

By regurgitating every minute fact; observation and event Aron's book feels more like a scramble over a scree field - than a smooth bouldering climb.

Perhaps Aron has an inbuilt lack of self-confidence and feels the need to constantly re-assure his readers that he's a clever individual with lots of achievements to his credit. Unfortunately this DOES come across as arrogance. It's a pity, because we all know just what determination climbers need to achieve their objective.

Personally I think the inter-splicing of chapters of AR's life-story - between the retelling of the event is a mistake. It only serves to further hamper the flow of Aron's brave tale.

Joe Tasker's Touching the Void is the definitive re-telling of a climbing incident. The writer paints a picture of what happened in a smooth flowing style. The syntax is straight forward, whereas you could be forgiven for thinking that Aron had a dictionary alongside him most of the time.

The result is that the book reads more like an official report than the retelling of a story by a very brave guy...
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VINE VOICEon 19 April 2011
To be honest, I started reading this book because I wanted all the gory details of how someone can chop their own arm off. I had little interest in the whole extreme adrenalin junkie lifestyle that he has, but it was incredibly inspiring and unbelievable, not just the mental capability of the man but the physical side, the fact that he can run a marathon, go to work, then have a night out all in the same day. His personal feats are definitely awe-provoking, and nothing is more obvious that this guy lives to climb, hike, and generally live on the dangerous side of life.

I think the book could have been condensed to be a bit shorter, some of the external biographical pieces drag a little and I found myself skimming the pages and losing concentration for some of it. There's a lot of technical mountaineering jargon that clogs up some of the text, and if you're completely clueless like myself about any of that then it gets a bit hard to understand what he's going on about. There s a glossary at the back though, which I liked that he put in there.

The best parts though are the descriptions of him stuck under the boulder. The chapters alternate from a history of previous climbs to the current situation of being stuck, and it is a true exploration if the harrowing mental turmoil that comes with a potentially suicidal act or simply waiting for a slow and lonely death.
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on 5 July 2006
I found this book fairly hard-going for 2 reasons. I am not a "outdoorsman" and I found the multiple technical descriptions of expeditions lengthy and tedious. Unless you are "in the know" they bring very little to the story and I found myself scan reading these parts. The second problem is that I found Aron Ralston to be a completely unsympathetic "character". In his own admission his "attitudes were not intrinsically safe" however he refuses to regret his mistakes and instead swears to learn from them but he fails to do this, repeatedly.

Aron is incredibly full of life, vigour, and the will to survive which has, without question, been an inspiration to others and helped him to survive his accident. Sadly though he is also full of pride which shines out on every page saying "Look what me, look at what I can do!". Even Aron's epiphany of understanding his friends comment about "it is not what you do,... it is who you are" seems short-lived. I therefore found the tone of the book to be very arrogant.

This book inspired me, but perhaps in an unintended way, specifically that important lesson which is "Pride comes before a fall". For a truly inspirational story I would recommend "The Luxury of Time" by (and about) Jane Tomlinson. Now that really is living for the moment!
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on 5 November 2004
This is one man that knows what beating the odds is all about. He has been close to death, yet, his courage and determination to survive is remarkable. He writes with poetic justice and you can almost see the scenerios he paints. Highly rated!
Other good books to read are: Skywriting,If I Knew Then and Nightmares Echo
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This book is part autobiography and part survival story and you can't help but be inspired by both aspects. This book is written so well you get sucked in in the first few pages and hold on with Aron through all the trials until the very end. It isn't easy to read when he gets to the more graphic parts in places, but it is an incredible story and an excellent book.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 18 March 2005
I enjoyed this book and you simply cannot fail to be moved by the authors sheer will to live and ability to overcome what few of us to even contemplate. I found the actual reading of the book to be hard going due to the writing style and some of the wording used but found it better the farther i got on with it (probably just got used to the style), amazing story, incredible guy, i take my hat of to you Aron, you are a truly amazing guy!!
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