Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Basis of the Motion Picture 127 Hours
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Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Basis of the Motion Picture 127 Hours

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  11,282 ratings  ·  1,409 reviews
One of the most extraordinary survival stories ever told -- Aron Ralston's searing account of his six days trapped in one of the most remote spots in America, and how one inspired act of bravery brought him home.
It started out as a simple hike in the Utah canyonlands on a warm Saturday afternoon. For Aron Ralston, a twenty-seven-year-old mountaineer and outdoorsman, a wa...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published September 15th 2004 by Atria Books (first published August 31st 2004)
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There is only one character in this book, and that character is, you guessed it, Aron Ralston. Between a Rock and a Hard Place is Ralston's account of his ordeal pinned to a canyon wall by a half-ton chockstone in Blue John Canyon. He alternates between chapters telling of the delirium of those five days and the choices he must make, and a sort of "how I came to be the way I am" recounting of his life story. The irony of the book reveals itself to the reading pretty early on. A seemingly random...more
I have read a few Mountaineering books, and as a climber/surfer/diver/backpacker/paddler/all around wilderness junkie, I was quite unsettled by this book. In the book, Aron Ralston is plagued by one-upmanship syndrome. The book should be a guide to avoiding wedging your arm between stones in desolate wilderness. Rather it is a distasteful brag-fest of Ralston's overzealous adventure practices. Events such as these lead to the closure of recreation areas every year in suit-happy America. I would...more
I do not think Aron Ralston is a hero of any sort.
Yes, he amputated his arm because he had the wherewithal and the survival skills to remain calm in this massively dire situation.
However, this book is full of his tales of stupid, arrogant mistakes where he consistently fails to consider the forces (and consequences) of his actions.
He should have been killed numerous times. He is responsible, at least on one occasion, for almost killing two of his best friends.
The entire time I was readin...more
WARNING: This is a SUPER long review; it's kind of a very long account of what my thoughts were during the entire book.
"We are not grand because we are at the top of the food chain or because we can alter our environment - the environment will outlast us with its unfathomable forces and unyielding powers. But rather than be bound and defeated by our insignificance, we are bold because we exercise our will anyway, despite the ephemeral and delicate presence we have in this desert, on this planet,...more
Jun 12, 2011 Linds rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of survival stories
First of all, God what a story.

If you have not seen the movie, Aron is best known as "that guy that had to cut off his own arm." While hiking in a canyon a rock smashes his arm and he is stuck almost a week with very low food and water until he amputates his own arm in order to survive.

Now this is an odd reading experience. It is one of the few times where the movie is much better then the book, and the oddness compounds when Aron Ralston is writing a true account of his own experiences. How cou...more
Ben Wand
I admire Aron's strength, persistence, and drive. Yet within about 40 pages of this book his bravado and obsession with near-death experiences became annoying and tedious. One of the most memorable parts of the book comes when he reveals that two of his friends, both experienced climbers, stopped talking to him after his reckless behavior contributed to the near death of all three of them. Yet, still Aron did not learn from that painful event. He still continues to put himself into danger time a...more
Jason Kurtz
Ralston became a media sensation due to his dramatic accident, and his dynamic charisma. Ralston had an interesting perspective on the world before he was forced to sever his arm to save his life. Trapped in a slot canyon in a Utah desert for five nights and six days gives him a sense of clairity that he compares to a second adolescence. His life after the accident became somewhat of a circus, and this story is not only about the accident, but his thougths on why it occurred, and how his life ha...more
Jun 10, 2008 Elaine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is interested in survival stories.
Recommended to Elaine by: Some friends lent it to my mom and my mom lent it to me.
In Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Aron Ralston tells his true and amazing survival story. Hiking in Blue John Canyon one Saturday afternoon (April 26, 2003 to be exact), Aron, an experienced mountaineer, got trapped when a 800lb boulder came loose and pined his right hand to the canyon wall. Aron usually left a detailed map of where he was going with someone so that, if the need came, they would be able to find him quickly. On this trip, however, he did not, as it was suppose to be a simple h...more
(4.0) Well-written account of a trying experience

I don't see any acknowledgment of assistance in writing this book, and since he graduated summa from Carnegie Mellon, he's probably a bright guy, so I think he may have actually written this himself. He also gets pretty jargony (and specific!) about several of his more harrowing maneuvers out on mountaintops. I wouldn't expect a ghost writer to allow that to happen. If he did indeed write this himself, it makes the read that much better, cause it...more
Aron Ralston is probably the stupidest outdoorsman I've ever heard of.

Being married to a climber, I have some insight on how to treat the rock. You don't just leap onto it and hope you make it to the top of the route. You prepare. You double-check your gear. You scope out the climb. YOU TELL PEOPLE WHERE YOU ARE GOING.

I'm the same age Ralston was when he got stuck in the slot canyon, and I can't imagine being so reckless. His entire book recounts how egotistical and selfish he is. I've known gu...more
Stephan van der Linde
This is the vehement story of mountaineer Aron Ralston who always, for he starts an expedition, tells his friends and family where he's going to climb.

Just not this time, may 2003, in Utah's Bluejohn Canyon, he falls into a cave and by the most uncredible bad luck his hand gets stuck between a big massive rock.

This book describes Ralston's struggle against thirst, hunger, desperation, pain, stress and anxiety, because nobody knows where he is.

His situation keeps getting worse and worse. Running...more
I am going to go easy on my review here, because the man did have to cut off his own hand, but I really didn't like this book and mostly because I didn't like the author.

He (my guess is, unwittingly) does not give a flattering portrayal of himself. The autobiographical background chapters of the book are not enjoyable to read and basically paint him as an immature hot-dogger, who consistently takes unecessary risks endangering his life and the lives of others.

He definitely has fortitude and the...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I saw the film and was inspired to read the book because I wanted to really FEEL what was going through Aron Ralston's head through his ordeal.
His book doesn't just focus on the 127 hours he spent trapped under the rock, he dissects his whole life up to that point, recalling memories and events as well as people who have crossed his path. The worst part in the book is, predictably, when he finally decides to amputate his own arm- as graphic as it seemed on film, reading about it made me feel exc...more
I wanted to reveal to myself who I was: the kind of person who died, or the kind of person who overcame circumstances to help himself and others.

This is a story that, by all accounts, should not have been told in the first-person. How Aron Ralston managed to survive six days trapped beneath that boulder, with his health, sanity and spirit in tact is beyond me. He's definitely strong, determined and more than a little lucky, but I couldn't stop one thought from forming in the back of my mind as I...more
Dear Aron Ralston,

What an amazing story. I find it a little ironic that I picked it up and read and finished it at the same month/time the accident occurred. I was amazed at your experiences and stamina and wanted to go camping after reading it. I'm not for winter camping, but I love being in the mountains. After reading about risk after risk you would take, I started to get a little disgusted that you kept putting your life into threatening situations. I came to the same conclusion that you did...more
Brie Rainney
Aron Ralston used Between a Rock and a Hard Place as a record of his memoirs being trapped in a narrow canyon, where a rock was pinning his hand to the canyon wall. At least that’s what the story should have been about. Instead Aron used this book to brag about his recklessness and willingness to endanger himself and others. Overall I would say this book was poorly executed.
Aron Ralston is very obviously not a writer. He was just one of those people that was put in a horrendous situation, and w...more
I understand why people love or hate this book. I know some people can't get over the perceived selfishness of a lifestyle in which cheating death is just that, and I get where they're coming from; I just disagree. I also get that people think there's too much ego in this book, and no great lesson is learned by the author. The ego doesn't bother me, and I would argue that we're all smack dab in the middle of learning life's lessons, and none of us can be sure of what exactly we're learning. I th...more
Eric Paulsen
Many of you have seen 127 Hours, a 2010 film that took the adventure docudrama world by storm. James Franco magnificently portrays Aron Ralston, a man trapped in the vast desert of Moab for 127 hours in the most dire of circumstances- virtually no water, no food, no sleep, and the small inconvenience of having his hand stuck in between a slot canyon he was traversing, and a half-ton boulder. As all of you know, and hopefully will not be shocked at this spoiler alert, he amputates his own hand in...more
Note on my review below: I found out yesterday that Aron Ralston did marry and have a son, but that he has since been divorced, acquired a girlfriend, had another child, and been arrested for domestic abuse. Evidently, he still hasn't made much progress in his relationships. Here is the review I wrote a couple of weeks ago:

I can’t remember the last time a book mesmerized me so completely. I skimmed it the first time, just to see what happened, although I’d heard the story already. Then I starte...more
Tom Mulpagano
I wanted to really like this story, or maybe I should say Aron Ralston, due to the nature of his epic battle of mind and body versus nature. A very compelling story, well told, and very read-able as well. So why the 2 stars? Well, the longer the story went, the more I got the feeling that it was the story of a reckless individual who repeatedly, and needlessly got himself and unfortunately sometimes others, into life-threatening and in one case life -ending, situations. Reading this book is a bi...more
Chad Sayban
Aron Ralston took great joy in pushing his limits in the vast untamed reaches of the natural world. Whether surfing, mountain biking or any other athletic pursuit, Aron was always most at home challenging himself physically. But on April 26, 2003, he nearly met his end in Blue John Canyon, Utah while rock climbing all alone when a boulder dislodged and crushed his right hand pinning him to the canyon wall. Miles from his truck with nobody aware of his location and no ability to contact help, Aro...more
Ok I had just written this long, good review about it and my computer crapped out.

I'll simply say this: if you're into overly detailed, selfish accounts of a person who cares only about himself up until he makes a stupid mistake and his life changes, then read this.

If you like mountaineering or adventure books, you may like this a lot more than I did. If you're simply curious, you can either watched the excellent film based on this story "127 Hours" which I thought was much more to the point of...more
Jun 26, 2011 Danielle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like survival stories, adventurers, mountaineers
Now, I will stop off by saying I saw the movie 127 Hours first. Of course, I had to read the book. Usually the book is much better, but the movie is one of my favourites and really resignated with me whereas the book although had mostly ups, had some downs. Like many other reviewers said, much of this book seemed to be a filler with Aron's boastful stories of adventures and near-death experiences. At first they were really interesting, but I soon grew tired of them and would often put the book d...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Davee Jones
I saw the movie 127 Hours before I read this book. After the movie, and the amazing job James Franco did portraying such a harrowing situation, I absolutely HAD to read more about the actual Aaron Ralston.

WOW is all I can say.

When I began reading the book, I didn't care for Aaron that much. At first, I regarded him as a self-centered- rather egotistical- human being. However, his metamorphosis into a humble, deeply caring person inspired me. Rather than take his miraculous escape from sure deat...more
Minh Minimum
Right off the bat, I want to say that I wish no harm to anyone, but this kid was headed for disaster and didn't seem to mind if he took others with him. This book is page after page of his blatant disregard for himself, others and nature. Beside his poor choice in music, he seems to thrive on just plain poor choices. I'm happy that he had the wear with all and physical strength to survive what would of been a horrible situation for anyone, but did he learn anything from it? Loosing his arm is ju...more
A book like this is bound to get negative reviews from people who feel "he was reckless" or "he got what he was looking for." But I don't read a biography on Adolph Hitler and rate it one star because "he was a bad man." It's a good book. The story is sound, well written, places you in the moment, and gets you excited when his adrenaline is pumping and down when he's down. Read this book, if for nothing else, for his explanations on the process of his extraction from the canyon. It is an absolut...more
The book "127 hours" is a really adventurous story, that is based on a true story, about a man named Aron Ralston, who loves to climb, hike and backpack summits, mountains, and canyons. One day while hiking the "Blue Canyon Slots" in southern Utah in April of 2003, an 800 pound boulder landed and entrapped his right arm, with nobody there with him, he was there for five days and seven hours, (or 127 hours) but how did he get out?

I decided to read this book when I saw the movie "127 hours", I...more
Dave Lambing
Aron Ralston broke every commandment of hiking. Went alone, didn't let anyone know where he was going or when he should return, took chances, and he paid the price. And this wasn't the first time he had done it. After reading this book, I felt absolutely no sympathy for him.
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Aron Ralston grew up in the Midwest before moving to Colorado when he was twelve, a place where he became an avid outdoorsman. In 2002, he gave up a career as a mechanical engineer in New Mexico and moved to Aspen, Colorado, where among other things he continued his attempt to climb the fifty-nine Colorado peaks of more than 14,000 feet solo in winter (he's more than three-quarters through). Since...more
More about Aron Ralston...
Between a Rock and a Hard Place Publisher: Atria Books; 1st (first) edition Text Only BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

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“It's me. I chose this. I chose all of this — this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. I’ve been moving towards it my whole life.” 90 likes
“Everything happens for a reason, and part of that beauty of life is that we're not allowed to know those reasons for certain.” 37 likes
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