Into Thin Air
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I first read Krakauer's book as soon as it came out, as I was fascinated by the disastrous events of the 1996 Everest season. One of the fascinating aspects of the story is that it's told here by one of the participants, and author Krakauer admits that he suffered many of the same memory lapses and general confusion that affected everyone else after all that time in the "death zone". I think Krakauer did a good job of describing the situation and of including his own biases. In fact, his mere presence, as a known journalist, may have influenced some of the decisions made by others, and he admits as much (not that I think this was his fault, just the way things were). He tried to convey the difficulty of mere existence at high altitudes, describing how everyone would have to pause for 3, 4, half a dozen breaths in between every step, but even with these reminders it's hard for a reader, safe and warm at home, to imagine how anyone could huddle in a tent knowing that others are at risk a few hours' [or sometimes a few minutes'] climb away and not be able to do anything for them. His guilt and sorrow are in the book along with some amount of questioning, and the occasional hint of blame, but for the most part he just recounts what he saw and what he later learned, and it's a remarkable tale. Recommended.
[There's a 1997 film adaptation based on these events.]
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