Tammy King Carlton's Reviews > Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
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Sep 02, 10

Read in August, 2010

I know that Krakauer states many times that this book was not a catharsis, and it is plain that he attempts to remain as objective as possible in presenting the collection of human errors, mistakes, and unfortunate decisions that collided with unnpredictable weather and led to this tragedy on Everest during the 1996 climbing season. But still, having written this novel within six months of these very sad events, he cannot keep his raw emotions and feelings of loss, guilt, and haunting regret from being right out on the sleeve of every page, as he tries to reconcile the "every-man-for-himself" triage of personal survival with the "no-man-left-behind" ethics of the human soul. He is a very talented writer. And this book is just as much a study of human behavior as it is a testimony of what occurred from his perspective. I found myself holding my breath in some places, appalled and disturbed in others, and then skipping over some paragraphs that completely bored me. I do not think that he particularly villified anyone involved - - (except perhaps Woodall, the Lead Guide from the South African Team who made me want to rip my hair out when he wouldn't share his radio in the middle of the storm with 19 people trapped at the summit) And only wish that more of those involved had been willing to share their stories so that a more complete picture could have been woven together. (He writes that some members of his team and other teams present were willing to be quoted on the record, and others preferred not to have their stories shared in his account. He honored their wishes.)
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