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am 30. August 2011
Jon Krakauers Schilderung seiner Besteigung des Mount Everest ist spannend und ergreifend. Als Hörbuch ist das Buch allerdings nicht uneingeschränkt zu empfehlen; Krakauers Text ist ein autobiographisches Sachbuch, und daher gibt es hier keinen Aufbau von Charakteren, Fokussierung auf nur einige wichtige Protagonisten etc - das heißt, dass man stattdessen mit Aufzählungen von Namen von Teilnehmern der einzelnen Expeditionen konfrontiert wird, und nur sehr wenige dieser Namen erwachen im Laufe der CDs zum Leben. Als allerdings der katastrophale Auf- und Abstieg stattfindet, begegnet man fast allen Expeditionsteilnehmern, und ich war schlicht überfordert, aus manchen der Namen wieder Sinn zu machen. Naturgemäß kann man beim Hörbuch nicht vor- und zurückblättern und zwischendurch mal eine Karte der Everest-Gegend angucken, und das ist ein eindeutiger Makel des Hörbuchs. Ich fand es schade, dass der Hörgenuss hier hinter dem Lesegenuss zurückbleibt, auch wenn Krakauer selbst vorliest, daher nur 3 Sterne.
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am 23. Dezember 1999
This is a winner.
Krakaur's account of the hellish Mt. Everest expedition that cost the lives of several experienced mountaineers and their paying customers is a dramatic story told very well.
I don't know much about mountaineering, or the sub-culture of adventurers who pursue personal highs through scaling the peaks of the world. The book makes a fine introduction of both topics as background for the actual Everest expedition.
Its strenght lies, of course, in the telling of the fateful trek up ths world's highest mountain. The description of the deprivation, physical pain and mental strain that greets almost all high altitude mountaineers does make for an enthralling tale (It also made me wonder who in his right mind would want to undertake such a venture).
This book is more about tradgedy than triumph. Although some of the participants have heroic moments, the fact that supreme ego as well as commercial pressure drove many to undertake unwise risks that resulted in death left this reader wondering "why" by the end of this fascinating book.
A very fine read you won't want to put down.
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am 22. Dezember 1997
Jon Krakauer, author of the equally enthralling "Into the Wild", writes a riveting account of his part in the disasterous Mt. Everest climb that claimed the life of many fellow climbers, including premier guide Rob Hall. Reading this book is a chilling experience, as Krakauer makes the reader feel the physical depletion, mental exhaustion and eventual anguish he felt as he realized the extent of the disaster.
Krakauer makes no excuses for his own part in the tragedy, and leaves the reader questioning if he, or anyone else, could have done more. The larger question of the wisdom of these types of excursions, expensive adventures with under-experienced participants, also comes under scrutiny.
This is a armchair traveler's view of a most harrowing experience, and leaves the reader amazed, fascinated, and enlightened. Highly recommended.
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am 7. Dezember 1999
In "Into Thin Air", Krakauer examines the small insanity of mountain climbing itself, the large insanity of attempting to reach "the roof of the world" (as Everest is so often called), and the myriad insanities that lie somewhere in between: greed, heroism, selfishness and blind ambition to name just a few.
Written with the emotional immediacy of someone still attempting to make sense of senseless tragedy experienced firsthand, "Into Thin Air" is not a climbers book, but rather a book for anyone that has ever wondered how far a fellow human will go in pursuit of a dream no sane person would dare to attempt
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am 28. Mai 2000
This book was not bad, but it was not what I would call a classic either. The story was interesting, but everything was glossed over so quickly that by the end of the book where the author is talking about characters doing this and that, I did not know who most of them were or were they came from. The writing level of the book is amateurish at best. For those who like simple reading and a quick story this may be a good book for you. For me it was a bit of a let down and I thought the author of the book was a big part of the problem on Everest and ends up profiting from it.
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am 30. Mai 2013
Nachdem ich bereits mehrere Dokumentationen über den "Tourismus" am Everest im Fernsehen gesehen habe, hat mich dieses Buch mehr als mitgenommen. Von der Vorgeschichte der Expedition und der Teilnehmer bis hin zu den journalistischen "Nachwehen" ist das ganze Drama eindrücklich und aus der persönlichen Sicht des Autors beschrieben. Der Leser fühlt sich in die Ereignisse hineinversetzt und erlebt alles hautnah mit. Von der ersten bis zur letzten Zeile ein dramatisches und spannendes Leseerlebnis ! Keine Sekunde langweilig und unbedingt empfehlenswert.
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am 25. November 1997
Not a great book, but "6" is "above average" so I'll start with the positive points.
Krakauer does a good job of describing the brutal conditions, the technique of the climb, the history of Everest and its would-be conquerors, and the little-known deleterious effects of high-altitude exposure. I'll admit that at times, I could swear my fingers started to feel numb as I read on. I certainly learned a lot from Krakauer's book too, and I applaud anyone's physical ability and mental tenacity to even come close to the summit (granted, the expediture of over $65,000 for a hike may add extra incentive to summit the mount).
But so much of the book read like a dossier of who Krakauer felt acted nobly and who he felt acted shamefully in these extremes. OK, so Ian Woodall was an arrogant bastard: are you finished grinding your axe? OK, you've deemed Sandy Pittman's celebrity-seeking motives and panicky behavior less than honorable and made her out to be an amateurish, whimpering socialite. Yes, you feel horrific guilt at the loss of Hall, Harris, and the others.
Near the end of the book I was asking myself "Why is he so defensive? Why is he harping on isolated details of "who-saw-who-at-what-time" during the final descent? Why did I keep reading between the lines: "THIS WAS NOT MY FAULT!"
In the final chapter I got my answer: Krakauer lists several of the nasty-grams he got in response to his first article for "Outside" magazine, in which relatives of the deceased and even total strangers lambasted him for abandoning suffering colleagues and having the arrogance for passing judgement on the other climbers. (Some of those angry sentiments are mimicked in posted reviews here.) I realized then that I hadn't been reading an accounting of man's survival in a barbaric environment, or man's need to conquer the elements -- just one man's need to soothe his conscience and "set the record straight".
I don't want to play psychologist to a man who has experienced something I never could understand. I am only speaking as a dissapointed reader, especially hearing almost nothing but praise for "Into Thin Air." I wish nothing but the best for Mr. Krakauer and his family. But to blindly trust one writer's opinion as to who the "good guys" and "bad guys" were (I'm referring to another reviewer's over-simplified description of the climbers) is unfair to the others who suffered. And I don't want to read a dozen other personal accounts just to counter-balance the views of the first one to make it to print.
Early on, Krakauer mentions the advice of friends, pleading with him to wait a while before writing this book, so that the raw emotions could subside and this would be less of a catharsis for him. Perhaps he should have heeded that advice.
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am 28. Oktober 1998
I've just finished the book, and I have to admit I'm rather surprised by the amount of polarization it's created. To be fair, I noticed some cultural bias in Krakauer's assesments of other people on the mountain, but I have to wonder if that's grounds for all the accusations leveled at him. I wasn't there to challenge his words, but I know for a fact that Jon Krakuaer wasn't responsible for the safety of Rob Hall's, or anybody else's team on Everest. So who was responsible? Why, that would be the leaders of the various teams, of course. You might recall that they wanted to call all the shots on the mountain. So what really did happen? Based on what I read, which may be incomplete information, I'm left with only a sketchy picture, which is the main beef I have with the book. I can imagine that it was a combination of several bad judgement calls, including not keeping up with the weather reports (they had sat phones, why not sat weather reports?) and not defining clear safety boundaries for the clients. Perhaps the guides were too ambitious to get their clients to the summit, and ignored some danger signs early on. That's my take, anyways. If an objective, disciplined, and rigorous exploratory group, with the knowledge and skill of NASA were to climb the mountain, I suspect they would approach the challenge with a much safer mentality. But such as it is, I read about a group of climbers who seem a little too self-assured, haven't developed full safeguards for themselves and their clients, and I'm not surprised that disaster struck under those extreme circumstances. It became a war zone up there, where everyone was fighting for their own life. And Jon Krakauer was merely one of many hoping to see their homes and families again.
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am 2. Juni 2000
Having never understood why people climb mountains, and after seeing Beck Weathers on television last year, I read Into Thin Air in order to gain more perceptiveness. And Krakauer delivered. Have some time on your hands, because once you begin reading Jon's story portraying the turn of events throughout his journey on Everest in the Spring of '96, you won't be able to stop reading until you've read the last word in his book. This account of ascending Everest is a page-turner even though the outcome is old news. It will leave you wanting to know more about other attempts made on Everest. For those who don't understand why on earth anyone would want to do something as dangerous as climbing Into Thin Air on rock and ice, this book answers that curiosity. Jon introduces his readers to the backgrounds and personalities of the main characters in his book. We can better comprehend the different reasons people spend thousand of dollars and two or more months of their lives in "hell" on a mountain, freezing and injured "just to get to the top." We learn through Krakauer why they continue their rise even though the conditions are pure torture and more life threatening with each step. Why they don't give it up once they've lost feeling in their extremities, separated their ribs, lost their vision, can no longer breathe due to oxygen depleted air. Why they don't turn back even when they see the dead who've attempted to reach the summit on former expeditions. You'll understand because of Krakauer's talent as a writer, his ability to replay his emotions, his thoughts, his experiences, and his opinions through writing. You'll feel the frigid wind, the snow, the ice, the pain, the desperation, the sorrow, and the regrets. The "if only's" will torture your soul just as they have and continue to torture Jon's. He writes in such a way you will have no choice other than to join him on that mountain. You'll meet and get to know the members and guides of Rob Hall's team as well as Scott Fischer, his guides, and some of his team members. Unfortunately, not everyone on the mountain was a "good guy," you'll be living thanks to the dangers the teams encounter due to the inexperience, egos, arrogance, and vengefulness of the few "bad apples." For the survivors, Jon's book is a road in which fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and other loved ones are portrayed as the heroes they were. Although some of the deceased's relatives were upset with Krakauer, it will seem unjust because of the respectful way in which he portrays his fellow mountaineers and the Sherpas. This was one of the best books I have ever read and I recommend it to anyone interested in Mount Everest, Climbing, or just reading a great book. This story is a symbol of strength, determination, and the will to achieve your goals that almost everyone can relate to. If you have nothing to do and want to get intrigued then read Into Thin Air. I promise this will be a thing you never forget.
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am 30. Mai 2000
A few years ago, one of alpining's greatest tragedies occurred when a dozen climbers died attempting to ascend Mt. Everest, with eight of them dying during one day -- May 10, 1996.
Jon Krakauer, a contributing writer for Outside magazine, was on the mountain when those people died. And it seems he still hasn't recovered from the incident. "I wish I'd never heard of Everest," he told interviewers from ABC's television show "Turning Point" the next year. "I wish I hadn't gone. It was a huge mistake," he said. "It will affect me the rest of my life."
Into Thin Air is Krakauer's riveting account of his own painstaking ascent of Everest and the deadly events that unfolded on "the roof of the world" in 1996. His brilliant description of this territory alternately awes and chills the reader: "The ink-black wedge of the summit pyramid stood out in stark relief, towering over the surrounding ridges. Thrust high into the jet-stream, the mountain ripped a visible gash in the 120-knot hurricane, sending forth a plume of ice crystals that trailed to the east like a long silk scarf."
If the cynic in you suspects Krakauer may be capitalizing on the tragedy, he responded to such criticism in the May 1997 issue of Outside: "I'm a writer -- it's what I do to pay the bills." And he stressed that he has given "a fair bit" of money he has made to charities like the American Himalayan Foundation.
And Krakauer does a pretty comprehensive job of castigating himself over the Everest incident anyway. Much of Into Thin Air amounts to a confessional mode through which he scrutinizes and mulls over every facet of that expedition, attempting to pinpoint his particular role in its deadly failure. "The plain truth," he writes, "is that I knew better but went to Everest anyway. And in doing so I was party to death of good people, which is something that is apt to remain on my conscience for a very long time."
Sadly, his cautionary tome hasn't slowed those who hope to make the Everest ascent. The following year, in 1997, more than 300 climbers doled out the $65,000 required to climb Everest; there were more expeditions headed to Everest than ever before. By the time the short margin (the middle of May is optimal) within which climbers can approach Everest's peak came round again in mid-1997, several more climbers had died attempting to make the summit this year, bringing the total number of lives Everest had claimed to more than 150. Probably, the survivors of those expeditions made their way home, shaking their heads, asking themselves the same questions, feeling the same guilt Krakauer apparently still feels.
Take Krakauer's advice: stay home and read the book. His crisp journalistic writing and unflinchingly honesty make Into Thin Air an instant alpining classic and certainly one of the most gripping non-fiction books on the market in 1997.
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