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Into Thin Air

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  240,003 ratings  ·  7,367 reviews
A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into ...more
Hardcover, 407 pages
Published November 17th 1998 by Random House USA Inc (first published 1997)
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Tyson Yes, f-word is said maybe a handful of times. A few instances of some other curse words.
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cassy
Life got you down? Then join us on a guided expedition led by Capital Stupidity Inc. as we climb to...

The Summit of MOUNT EVEREST

For the bargain price of $65,000,*[1] we will take you on the adventure of a lifetime full of scenic views,*[2] camaraderie,*[3] and athleticism.*[4]

Worried that you lack the necessary climbing experience?
Don’t be discouraged!*[5] While Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, it is not the most technically challenging climb. And in addition to our experti
...more
karen
RELEASE THE KRAKAUER!!!!


seriously, it is time to just raze everest and be done with it already. i mean, it's big and impressive but it is just taking up all this room and killing people so why do we even need it anymore?? can't we just get over it? really, i think it has reached its peak and is all downhill from here.

shameless punning aside.

so this started out as an article that KRAKAUER was asked to write for outside magazine about the commercialization of everest. it should embarrass us that s
...more
Brigette
I recently attended the Banff mountain film festival in Canada. One of the key speakers was Simone Moro, the close friend of Anatoli Boukreev, the climber who was killed in an avalanche several years ago on Annapurna and whom Krakauer pretty much vilifies in this book as not having done enough to save the lives of those caught in the blizzard on Mount Everest in May of 1996. Needless to say, the vibe in the room was chilly whenever the subject of Krakauer's version of events came up; he was accu ...more
Michelle
Mar 17, 2009 Michelle rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mountaineers, adventure lovers, crazy people
Shelves: non-fiction
This is not a review. I don’t feel like writing a review for this book, but I feel like I should at least say something about it because I did enjoy it. I mean, it did make me utter “Jesus Christ” out loud more than one time, and I don’t often talk to myself while I am reading a book.

(I almost want to post a picture of a LOLcat with a caption that says “This buk wuz gud,” but I don’t have one.)

So…These are a few things I learned from reading this book:

1. If a person decides to climb Everest, the
...more
Kim
Read within the span of 10 hours. This is not a hard read, well, if you take out the subject matter.
I picked this up because 'Into the Wild' has been out or on hold for months at the library so I thought I'd at least get a feel for Jon Krakauer's writing style.
I also have to admit that it wasn't the writing style that sold me, not that it isn't well done, but usually I'm not drawn to 'personal accounts' or non-fiction, in general, unless it is a subject that really fascinates me. I'm an escapi
...more
Petra X
Into Thin Air or Injustice (of many kinds) on the Mountain.

Until almost the end this book was exactly as I expected it to be with just one exception. It was the story of a journalist climbing Mount Everest both as a journalist and as a mountaineer. Ideal getting paid to do your hobby! It was interesting because Krakauer is a damn good writer and because its fascinating to see the details of how the mountain is climbed. Its also disappointing because few individuals do it by themselves, without a
...more
Tatiana
If Krakauer's intention was to kill all of our romantic ideas about mountain climbing with this book, he undoubtedly succeeded. Whatever idealistic notions of bravery, athleticism, adventure, and brotherhood I had about this "sport", are now gone forever.

What Krakauer delivers instead is a very tough picture of people who are ready to risk their lives and lives of those around them (guides, Sherpas, rescue workers) for the purpose of satisfying some masochistic macho aspirations of theirs or, ev
...more
Arah-Lynda
Apr 23, 2013 Arah-Lynda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: Arah-Leah Hay
Shelves: top, i-said, lets-get-real
Several authors and editors I respect counseled me not to write the book as quickly as I did; they urged me to wait two or three years and put some distance between me and the expedition in order to gain some crucial perspective. Their advice was sound, but in the end I ignored it- mostly because what happened on the mountain was gnawing my guts out. I thought that writing the book might purge Everest from my life. It hasn’t of course.

But it is the way this reads, as Jon Krakauer, a client of R
...more
Randy
Jon Krakauer is a student of extreme behaviors and those who engage in them, and he happened to be on Mt. Everest during the notorious May 10-11, 1996, disaster. A series of seemingly minor mishaps, oversights, and questionable decisions kept climbers moving up the mountain hours later than any reasonable turnaround time. At 29,000 feet, that would have been bad enough given cold, hypoxia, and a finite supply of supplemental oxygen, but an unexpected storm that moved in from the south turned a p ...more
Greg
I had no idea what shelf to put this on. So I made up a new one, lacking the number of characters needed, this shelf should be called, true stories about things I would never do or try to do. But maybe that is a lie. Like Krakauer I too have had a near death experience while engaged in 'climbing', like the doomed people in this book, my own life was possibly endangered by faulty decisions made by those who are being paid to know better. My own experience is pretty undramatic, and was rectified i ...more
Ash
Feb 01, 2013 Ash rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like travelling
I have never read a non-fiction which was literally unputdownable, the way this book was. I just couldnt keep it aside for a minute and finished reading it in 2 days! I dont remember finishing a non-fiction that fast. Now it is one of my all-time favourites.

I love to travel and I am adventurous at heart (even though I have never done anything adventurous in my life). As a result, I reallyyyyy liked this book.



"In order to succeed you must be exceedingly driven, but if you're too driven you're lik
...more
Brandon
About a year ago, I read a book called Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth which was basically all about finding the basement of the earth. A group of cave divers descended into a seemingly bottomless cave full of all sorts of unknown danger. For some reason after finishing it, I didn’t return to any exploration books even though this tale fascinated me. It wasn’t until recently when I listened to an episode of Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier’s SModcast in which Mosier r ...more
Hunger For Knowledge
3.5 stars.

Jon Krakauer is an remarkable writer. He doesn't just write well but has the astonishing ability to summarize important and needed information the way it only requires few hundred pages between the bindings.

This is particularly important talent to have when you can assume that whoever is reading your book, has no deeper understanding of the subject you are writing about. This was the case with me. I had very minimal knowledge about climbing, Mount Everest and the tragic event that too
...more
Algernon

My 5 star rating reflects both the quality of the book and a lifetime passion for mountains. I've devoured in the past all books and magazine articles I could find, following climbers from Cerro Torres to Eiger or Matterhorn, Trango Towers, Kilimanjaro or McKinley. The Jewels in the Crown have always been the Himalayan peaks, with their musical names promising adventure and fame to the bold and determined climber: Nanga Parbat, Makalu, Annapurna, Kangchenjunga, Chomolungma, Lhotse, Dhaulagiri, G
...more
Idle Hippo
Aug 10, 2008 Idle Hippo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Idle Hippo by: Enjum
You can always tell you are reading a good book when you find yourself holding your breath during the intense moments. Well, this is definitely one of that book.

Meski gw samasekali buta tentang hal-hal yang berkaitan dengan mendaki gunung, tapi gw sempat punya impian dan hasrat gila untuk mendaki gunung Everest. Setelah membaca buku ini impian dan hasrat tersebut (kalaupun masih ada) kini dipastikan lenyap tanpa bekas. Thanks a lot Mr. Krakauer for make my dream coming to an abrupt end, heuheu.
...more
Arah-Leah Hay
I think it is impossible to read this and not be moved. I couldn't put it down, and I can't stop thinking about it. This is a book that I will never forget the experience of reading. It so compelled and fascinated me that by its completion I would forever be changed into an Everest addict. Countless articles read, endless pictures poured over, maps, facts, statistics, you name it, I've read it.

There are so many compelling parts to this story that I was caught off guard with and before reading h
...more
Chris Heaney
I don't know how I feel about this book, an account of an expedition to Everest that killed several people. It made me angry when I suspected it would just end up being disaster porn, but Krakauer manages to pull through in the final pages and evoke the wrenching guilt of the survivors, the loss and unanswered questions. That hit me pretty hard.

So why three stars? I wanted more about the people who died, more in other people's voices, and less straight narration of events. (Or perhaps just a mix
...more
Philip
Oct 01, 2011 Philip rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretty much anyone
Recommended to Philip by: doug
I promised myself that when I wrote a synopsis of Into Thin Air it would not contain the words perilous, arduous, or ill-fated because those words have a limiting effect on a book of this calibre.
Yes, it recounts an ill-fated Everest expedition. Yes the climb is fraught with peril. It is an adventure story, but in its honesty it is quite a bit more.

Although it is a non-fictional work, many of the literary conflicts that make for good narrative are present. The most apparent are man vs. himself
...more
Teresa Lukey
ADDITION TO REVIEW: SEE LINK AT BOTTOM REGARDING OVERCROWDING AT EVEREST CLIMBS

Basically, this is a true account of completely crazy people going to the top of Mt. Everest. I am afraid of heights, so I don't get the desire these people have, but this is an excellent account of a group that heads to the top and suffers losses.

I sobbed a few times and think most people will have the same reaction, no matter how stupid or selfish you believe these people to be. I did not know that Krakauer himself
...more
Matt
Fascinating book. Krakauer has a style of prose that captivates and brings the story and the people very much to life. He's an exceptional journalist, and documents every moment from multiple perspectives and with an exactness of time.

This story is tragic and horrible. Strangely, it makes Mt. Everest more appealing to me, but in terms of staggering danger that comes with it. It really speaks to humanity, to morality, the pursuit of dreams and danger and adventure. There are heroes and not-so-her
...more
Chrissie
I am just one of many readers. When I give this book two stars it most accurately answers the question how did I react to the book. This is how I rate all my books. This book was OK! That is what 2 stars is said to mean on GR! That does not mean it was bad. I will explain why I have reacted as I did so hopefully you can more easily determine how you may react to the book. Why all this explanation? Because I am thinking that if I only give this book two stars that will give an unfavorable impress ...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
In 1996, Jon Krakauer attempted to climb Mt. Everest as part of a guided group for a writing assignment for Outside magazine. An experienced climber in the hands of a reputable group of guides, he didn't really foresee any problems. Go, climb the mountain, hope conditions allowed them to reach the summit, go home, write the article. But things are rarely that easy. A storm blows up, reminding everyone that nature laughs at our best-laid plans; some questionable decisions are made; and suddenly t ...more
K
I need to collect my thoughts. This was a dizzying read.

I recently took a course in writing narrative non-fiction where the professor opined that memoirs suffer when the writer is too close to the experience. I thought it was an interesting point, and at least one memoir I had read came to mind where the characters were almost cartoonish and it was clear that the memoirist had not gained enough distance from her experience to write about them fairly or three-dimensionally. Into Thin Air: A Perso
...more
Greg
This is a riveting first-hand portrayal of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster where eight people died in a single day. The fact that the story is a real-life account makes it all the more compelling. After reading this book, I became enthralled in learning more about high-altitude mountaineering and even attended several lectures by prominent climbers.

The story is compelling in spite of - not because of - the author. I am personally repelled by Jon Krakauer. Krakauer injects an ample dose of self-b
...more
Trevor
I've never physically experienced climbing Everest, but I feel like I have. Krakauer's ability to describe the events in simple (sometimes brutally simple) language made my lungs hurt sometimes. But that is only part of the reason this book was amazing.
The first part of the book is a fascinating history of mountaineering and Everest. Krakauer's talents as a journalist pay off as he is able to describe this history in such a compelling way.
But the book runs deeper. Krakauer has also written a so
...more
Steve
Note to self: take climbing Everest off bucket list.
Nadine
This book took me to the peak of Everest and back, not just in setting but also emotionally. Written by one of the climbers to the peak on the fatal day of the tragedy in 1996 it is a close witness account of the events.
The first half was a bit slow to be honest with history of expeditions, early records, tragedies and the early events on the climb to the top of the author and his group. He started the book with the scene at the top and the upcoming clouds at the horizon, which for me took a lot
...more
Georg
Compelling, a lot of suspense, well written and very hard not to read on one day. However, I could not decide about my own emotions: Respect and admiration for the climbers' determination and discipline or plain pity for their childish and selfish behaviour putting themselves (and others) in danger pointlessly (or is it a valid point just to stand on "the roof of the world"?)

But the (new) postscript costs him at least one star. This is boring, cheap and self-opiniated attorneys' pleading about t
...more
Shaun
So it's 1996 and you've missed out on the Titanic but have a killer death wish and 65,000 dollars just burning a hole in your back pocket? No problem. There's always Everest.

Okay, so he was really a journalist and serious mountaineer who got an all-expense-paid chance to climb Everest. But still, I don't get it. I obviously don't get it, and it was satisfying to see that after his horrific and tragic experience climbing Mt. Everest that, I think, Jon Krakauer wishes he hadn't gotten it either...
...more
Lennongirl
I said during a status update that this was the scariest book I read in ages and I can't think of a more appropriate sentence to start here. See, the events in the book are beyond tragic - it's true horror in its "finest" form. What makes this book so special is that it's much more than a tragic event retold - it's told/written by a man who was there all the way, who was part of the group and witnessed the drama first hand, and who happens to be a really, really good writer. Storytelling-wise, t ...more
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Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, well-known for outdoor and mountain-climbing writing.

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“There is a dark side to religious devotion that is too often ignored or denied. As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane, there may be no more potent force than religion. When the subject of religiously inspired bloodshed comes up, many Americans immediately think of Islamic fundamentalism, which is to be expected in the wake of 911. But men have been committing heinous acts in the name of God ever since mankind began believing in deities, and extremists exist within all religions. Muhammad is not the only prophet whose words have been used to sanction barbarism; history has not lacked for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists who have been motivated by scripture to butcher innocents. Plenty of these religious extremist have been homegrown, corn-fed Americans.” 34 likes
“Getting to the top of any given mountain was considered much less important than how one got there: prestige was earned by tackling the most unforgiving routes with minimal equipment, in the boldest style imaginable.” 30 likes
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