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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
106
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 December 2006
I received this book as a Christmas present and wasn't sure about how I would find the read. It didn't take long before I was fully engaged in the story.

It was really interesting to discover just how much climbing experience Aron Ralston has. This experience clearly saved his life when it really counted. The main theme is broken up well with stories of his climbing past. Readers are easily able to live side-by-side with Aron as he describes the accident and the days that followed. The text is supplemented with a good photo section.

This was a very well written book that evoked many different emotions. It comes highly recommended to all.
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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 the previous 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 31 May 2005
Had trouble at the start of this book reading all the accompanying chapters. He wanders around with his life experiences quite a bit, using these to put the ordeal in perspective, and I am certain, to bolster the book out a bit, after all how much can You say about having your hand stuck and staring at a sandstone wall for 10 days. BUT, when he started with the point of the book, e.g. the hand cutting incident, I found myself looking away and wincing. Definitely worth the read, exceptional courage and ensure you have a strong stomach.
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on 1 May 2008
I am not a fan of climbing at all, but heard a brief amount about this story and decided to get it - I was not disappointed. Unlike some of the more negative reviews I found the explanations of climbing terminology and processes easy to understand and quite straight to the point.

The book avoids filling spaces with waffle and useless snippets just to fill pages and had me gripped from start to finish. A really brave man, who had to use all of his skill and then all of his courage.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone!
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on 21 October 2004
This is a pretty mind-blowing story. The chapters about his ordeal are intersperced with stories about previous death-defying adventures including avalanches and blinding snowstorms. This was a very honest and unvarnished account of what Aron Ralston went through, and as such it is very powerful. I had to keep looking at his photo on the cover to reassure myself that he lived!! It helps put life into perspective, a little, and I highly recommend it.
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on 12 January 2016
Bit too technical in parts -lots of parts in fact!Ended up skimming over the authors previous trips which I wasnt interested in-but that is just my opinion-the main body of this story which i am sure was the reason for many who purchased this book was however inspirational and does have you thinking what if?
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on 6 November 2014
If you like stories about people who find themselves in near death situations and admire their will to survive even if it means self-mutilation, you might like this. I did not find any insight in this book and was left with the impression that the author is foolhardy, not because he finds wildernesses attractive but because he seemed to have a disregard for his own safety. There were too many recollections that added little to the main plot or narrative but which amplified the author's character which seemed unable to learn from past mistakes. I was left with a feeling that I'd just read a "how to" manual while getting a lot of irrelevant information about the instructor.
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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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