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Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air

高处不胜寒 - 1996远征珠穆朗玛大悲剧

作    者
Krakauer, Jon;  
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所属分类
Biography & Autobiography > General
Biography & Autobiography > Sports
Biography & Autobiography > Sports > General
Sports & Recreation > Mountaineering
出版社
Random House Inc
ISBN-13
9780385494786
ISBN-10
0385494785
出版日期
1999-10
页数
416
单位
尺寸
25.4 * 1.27 * 17.78
装帧
Paperback
版本

Product Description

National Bestseller 

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 Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster.

By writing Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons and lay to rest some of the painful questions that still surround the event. He takes great pains to provide a balanced picture of the people and events he witnessed and gives due credit to the tireless and dedicated Sherpas. He also avoids blasting easy targets such as Sandy Pittman, the wealthy socialite who brought an espresso maker along on the expedition. Krakauer's highly personal inquiry into the catastrophe provides a great deal of insight into what went wrong. But for Krakauer himself, further interviews and investigations only lead him to the conclusion that his perceived failures were directly responsible for a fellow climber's death. Clearly, Krakauer remains haunted by the disaster, and although he relates a number of incidents in which he acted selflessly and even heroically, he seems unable to view those instances objectively. In the end, despite his evenhanded and even generous assessment of others' actions, he reserves a full measure of vitriol for himself.

This updated trade paperback edition of Into Thin Air includes an extensive new postscript that sheds fascinating light on the acrimonious debate that flared between Krakauer and Everest guide Anatoli Boukreev in the wake of the tragedy.  "I have no doubt that Boukreev's intentions were good on summit day," writes Krakauer in the postscript, dated August 1999. "What disturbs me, though, was Boukreev's refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor decision. Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn't the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his clients." As usual, Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility. But rather than continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air's denouncement of guide Boukreev, Krakauer's tone is conciliatory; he points most of his criticism at G. Weston De Walt, who coauthored The Climb, Boukreev's version of events. And in a touching conclusion, Krakauer recounts his last conversation with the late Boukreev, in which the two weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points. Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev, but the Russian later died in an avalanche on another Himalayan peak, Annapurna I.

In 1999, Krakauer received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters--a prestigious prize intended "to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment."  According to the Academy's citation, "Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer.  His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind."

About the Author

Jon Krakauer is a part-time mountaineer and a full-time writer. He is a contributing editor at Outside magazine and writes for many national magazines and newspapers. He lives in Seattle, Washington.


From the Paperback edition.

Amazon.com Review

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 Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster. With more than 250 black-and-white photographs taken by various expedition members and an enlightening new postscript by the author, the Illustrated Edition shows readers what this tragic climb looked like and potentially provides closure for Krakauer and his detractors.

"I have no doubt that Boukreev's intentions were good on summit day," writes Krakauer in a postscript dated August 1998. "What disturbs me, though, was Boukreev's refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor decision. Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn't the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his clients." As usual, Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility. But rather than continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air's denouncement of guide Boukreev, Krakauer's tone is conciliatory; he points most of his criticism at G. Weston De Walt, who coauthored The Climb, Boukreev's version of events. And in a touching conclusion, Krakauer recounts his last conversation with the late Boukreev, in which the two weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points. Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev, but the Russian later died in a avalanche on another Himalayan peak, Annapurna I. Krakauer further buries the ice axe by donating his share of royalties from sales of The Illustrated Edition to the Everest '96 Memorial Fund, which aids various environmental and humanitarian charities. --Rob McDonald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"... he has produced a narrative that is both meticulously researched and deftly constructed. Unlike the expedition, his story rushes irresistibly forward. But perhaps Mr. Krakauer's greatest achievement is his evocation of the deadly storm, his ability to re-create its effects with a lucid and terrifying intimacy." —Alastair Scott, The New York Times Book Review

"This is a great book, among the best ever on mountaineering.  Gracefully and efficiently written, carefully researched, and actually lived by its narrator, it shares a similar theme with another sort of book, a novel called "The Great Gatsby." —The Washington Post                        

"Into Thin Air ranks among the great adventure books of all time." —The Wall Street Journal        
                                                                        
"Krakauer is an extremely gifted storyteller as well as a relentlessly honest and even-handed journalist, the story is riveting and wonderfully complex in its own right, and Krakauer makes one excellent decision after another about how to tell it.... To call the book an adventure saga seems not to recognize that it is also a deeply thoughtful and finely wrought philosophical examination of the self." —Elle                

"Hypnotic, rattling.... Time collapses as, minute by minute, Krakauer rivetingly and movingly chronicles what ensued, much of which is near agony to read.... A brilliantly told story that won't go begging when the year's literary honors are doled out." —Kirkus Reviews
                
"Though it comes from the genre named for what it isn't (nonfiction), this has the feel of literature: Krakauer is Ishmael, the narrator who lives to tell the story but is forever trapped within it.... Krakauer's reporting is steady but ferocious.  The clink of ice in a glass, a poem of winter snow, will never sound the same." —Mirabella                        

"Into Thin Air is a remarkable work of reportage and self-examination.... And no book on the 1996 disaster is likely to consider so honestly the mistakes that killed his colleagues." —Newsday                                        

"A harrowing tale of the perils of high-altitude climbing, a story of bad luck and worse judgment and of heartbreaking heroism." —People

"In this movingly written book, Krakauer describes an experience of such bone-chilling horror as to persuade even the most fanatical alpinists to seek sanctuary at sea level." —Sports Illustrated

From the Inside Flap

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 Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster.

By writing Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons and lay to rest some of the painful questions that still surround the event. He takes great pains to provide a balanced picture of the people and events he witnessed and gives due credit to the tireless and dedicated Sherpas. He also avoids blasting easy targets such as Sandy Pittman, the wealthy socialite who brought an espresso maker along on the expedition. Krakauer's highly personal inquiry into the catastrophe provides a great deal of insight into what went wrong. But for Krakauer himself, further interviews and investigations only lead him to the conclusion that his perceived failures were directly responsible for a fellow climber's death. Clearly, Krakauer remains haunted by the disaster, and although he relates a number of incidents in which he acted selflessly and even heroically, he seems unable to view those instances objectively. In the end, despite his evenhanded and even generous assessment of others' actions, he reserves a full measure of vitriol for himself.

This updated trade paperback edition of Into Thin Air includes an extensive new postscript that sheds fascinating light on the acrimonious debate that flared between Krakauer and Everest guide Anatoli Boukreev in the wake of the tragedy.  "I have no doubt that Boukreev's intentions were good on summit day," writes Krakauer in the postscript, dated August 1999. "What disturbs me, though, was Boukreev's refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor decision. Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn't the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his clients." As usual, Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility. But rather than continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air's denouncement of guide Boukreev, Krakauer's tone is conciliatory; he points most of his criticism at G. Weston De Walt, who coauthored The Climb, Boukreev's version of events. And in a touching conclusion, Krakauer recounts his last conversation with the late Boukreev, in which the two weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points. Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev, but the Russian later died in an avalanche on another Himalayan peak, Annapurna I.

In 1999, Krakauer received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters--a prestigious prize intended "to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment."  According to the Academy's citation, "Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer.  His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind."

From School Library Journal

Heroism and sacrifice triumph over foolishness, fatal error, and human frailty in this bone-chilling narrative in which the author recounts his experiences on last year's ill-fated, deadly climb. Thrilling armchair reading.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

"... he has produced a narrative that is both meticulously researched and deftly constructed. Unlike the expedition, his story rushes irresistibly forward. But perhaps Mr. Krakauer's greatest achievement is his evocation of the deadly storm, his ability to re-create its effects with a lucid and terrifying intimacy. --Alastair Scott, The New York Times Book Review

"This is a great book, among the best ever on mountaineering. Gracefully and efficiently written, carefully researched, and actually lived by its narrator, it shares a similar theme with another sort of book, a novel called "The Great Gatsby." --The Washington Post                        

"Into Thin Air ranks among the great adventure books of all time." --The Wall Street Journal        
                                                                        
"Krakauer is an extremely gifted storyteller as well as a relentlessly honest and even-handed journalist, the story is riveting and wonderfully complex in its own right, and Krakauer makes one excellent decision after another about how to tell it.... To call the book an adventure saga seems not to recognize that it is also a deeply thoughtful and finely wrought philosophical examination of the self." --Elle                

"Hypnotic, rattling. . . . Time collapses as, minute by minute, Krakauer rivetingly and movingly chronicles what ensued, much of which is near agony to read. . . . A brilliantly told story that won't go begging when the year's literary honors are doled out." --Kirkus Reviews
                
"Though it comes from the genre named for what it isn't (nonfiction), this has the feel of literature: Krakauer is Ishmael, the narrator who lives to tell the story but is forever trapped within it.... Krakauer's reporting is steady but ferocious. The clink of ice in a glass, a poem of winter snow, will never sound the same."        --Mirabella                        

"Into Thin Air is a remarkable work of reportage and self-examination. . . . And no book on the 1996 disaster is likely to consider so honestly the mistakes that killed his colleagues." --Newsday                                        

"A harrowing tale of the perils of high-altitude climbing, a story of bad luck and worse judgment and of heartbreaking heroism." --People

"In this movingly written book, Krakauer describes an experience of such bone-chilling horror as to persuade even the most fanatical alpinists to seek sanctuary at sea level." --Sports Illustrated

From AudioFile

The tragic events on Mt. Everest in May of 1996 have been in the media in numerous forms for more than a year. With Krakauer's firsthand account of the ill-fated expeditions solidly on the bestseller lists, the audiobook version has particular appeal. Hearing the author recount the daily events in journal-like entries allows listeners a unique connection to the unfolding catastrophe. However, the author's flat rendition does little to enhance the riveting events. His animation with comments and snatches of conversation is the only break in the sense of inevitability projected in his tone. Nevertheless, the audiobook is unstoppable listening simply because of the drama of the events, and turning off the tape is somehow akin to leaving your companions on the frigid slopes, as some members of these expeditions actually did. Hearing Krakauer discuss the decisions and dynamics of the expeditions gives listeners an unusual connection to the disturbing questions he asks. R.F.W. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

A handful of people have stood atop Everest, and Krakauer is one of them. Sent to Nepal in May_ 1996 after his success with Into the Wild (1995), he was to report on the commercialization of ascents of the mountain but was instead compelled to tell an icy story of survival and death. As an inquiry into the outer limits of human strength and into the inner turmoil of survivor's guilt, Krakauer's narrative leaves a reader virtually breathless, sweating as he sweats, gasping as he gasps, crying as he cries over dying friends. The disaster made worldwide headlines last year, and its immediate cause was natural--a freak blizzard caught dozens of people near the summit. But the enabling condition was the mere presence at Everest of amateurs, some with minimal mountaineering skill. Guides, Sherpas, and $65,000 was all one needed to make the attempt. At the summit, the pressures of the guide-client relationship were immense, even overwhelming the imperative to flee the storm that overwhelmed the victims. Krakauer's eyewitness to the unfolding tragedy makes a transfixing drama of hubris, responsibility, and sacrificial heroism, which will mark the memory of all who read it. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

And onto thin ice--Krakauer's (Into the Wild, 1995) hypnotic, rattling, firsthand account of a commercial expedition up Mt. Everest that went way wrong. In the spring of 1996, Krakauer took an assignment from Outside magazine to report on the burgeoning industry of commercially guided, high-altitude climbing. Many experienced alpinists were dismayed that the fabled 8,000-meter summits were simply ``being sold to rich parvenues'' with neither climbing grace nor talent, but possessed of colossal egos. From childhood, Krakauer had wanted to climb Everest; he was an expert on rock and ice, although he had never sojourned at Himalayan altitudes. While it has become popular to consider climbing Everest a lark and the South Col approach little more than a yak route, Krakauer found the altitude a malicious force that turned his blood to sludge and his extremities to wood, that ate his brain cells. Much of the time he lived in a hypoxic stupor, despite the standard acclimatization he underwent. As he tells of his own struggles, he plaits his tale with stories of his climbing comrades, describes the often outrageous characters on other expeditions, and details the history of Everest exploration. The writing builds eerily, portentously to the summit day, fingering little glitches that were piling up, ``a slow accrual, compounding imperceptibly, steadily toward critical mass,'' when a rogue storm overtook the climbers; typical by Everest standards, it was ferocious in the extreme. Time collapses as, minute-by-minute, Krakauer rivetingly and movingly chronicles what ensued, much of which is near agony to read. Unjustly, Krakauer holds himself culpable for aspects of the disaster, but this book will serve an important purpose if it gives even one person pause before tackling Everest. A brilliantly told story, and one that won't go begging when the year's literary honors are doled out. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

"A hypnotic, rattling, firsthand account ... A brilliantly told story, and one that won't go begging when the year's literary honors are doled out."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"A fascinating and troubling account of the climb ... by a thoughtful man and a fine writer."
-- Time

"Remarkable."
-- Newsweek

"A gripping real-life horror story."
-- Vanity Fair

"The intensity of the tragedy is haunting, and Krakauer's graphic writing drives it home ... A superb adventure tale."
-- Publishers Weekly

"A compelling and harrowing account ... A raw, emotionally intense book."
-- Library Journal --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

In March 1996, Outside Magazine sent me to Nepal to participate in, and write about, a guided ascent of Mount Everest. I went as one of eight clients on an expedition led by a well-known guide from New Zealand named Rob Hall. On May 10 I arrived on top of the mountain, but the summit came at a terrible cost.

Among my five teammates who reached the top, four, including Hall, perished in a rogue storm that blew in without warning while we were still high on the peak. By the time I'd descended to Base Camp nine climbers from four expeditions were dead, and three more lives would be lost before the month was out.

The expedition left me badly shaken, and the article was difficult to write. Nevertheless, five weeks after I returned from Nepal I delivered a manuscript to Outside, and it was published in the September issue of the magazine. Upon its completion I attempted to put Everest out of my mind and get on with my life, but that turned out to be impossible. Through a fog of messy emotions, I continued trying to make sense of what had happened up there, and I obsessively mulled the circumstances of my companions' deaths.

The Outside piece was as accurate as I could make it under the circumstances, but my deadline had been unforgiving, the sequence of events had been frustratingly complex, and the memories of the survivors had been badly distorted by exhaustion, oxygen depletion, and shock. At one point during my research I asked three other people to recount an incident all four of us had witnessed high on the mountain, and one of us could agree on such crucial facts as the time, what had been said, or even who had been present. Within days after the Outside article went to press, I discovered that a few of the details I'd reported were in error. Most were minor inaccuracies of the sort that inevitably creep into works of deadline journalism, but one of my blunders was in no sense minor, and it had a devastating impact on the friends and family of one of the victims.

Only slightly less disconcerting than the article's factual errors was the material that necessarily had to be omitted for lack of space. Mark Bryant, the editor of Outside, and Larry Burke, the publisher, had given me an extraordinary amount of room to tell the story: they ran the piece at 17,000 words -- four or five times as long as a typical magazine feature. Even so, I felt that it was much too abbreviated to do justice to the tragedy. The Everest climb had rocked my life to its core, and it became desperately important for me to record the events in complete detail, unconstrained by a limited number of column inches. This book is the fruit of that compulsion.

The staggering unreliability of the human mind at high altitude made the research problematic. To avoid relying excessively on my own perceptions, I interviewed most of the protagonists at great length and on multiple occasions. When possible I also corroborated details with radio logs maintained by people at Base Camp, where clear thought wasn't in such short supply. Readers familiar with the Outside article may notice discrepancies between certain details (primarily matters of time) reported in the magazine and those reported in the book; the revisions reflect new information that has come to light since publication of the magazine piece.

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. Moreover, I agree that readers are often poorly served when an author writes as an act of catharsis, as I have done here. But I hoped something would be gained by spilling my soul in the calamity's immediate aftermath, in the roil and torment of the moment. I wanted my account to have a raw, ruthless sort of honesty that seemed in danger of leaching away with the passage of time and the dissipation of anguish.

Some of the same people who warned me against writing hastily had also cautioned me against going to Everest in the first place. There were many, many fine reasons not to go, but attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act -- a triumph of desire over sensibility. Any person who would seriously consider it is almost by definition beyond the sway of reasoned argument.

The plain truth is that I knew better but went to Everest anyway. And in doing so I was a party to the death of good people, which is something that is apt to remain on my conscience for a very long time.

From Library Journal

This unabridged recording, read by the author, is a "must have." Other reviewers have raved about the unbelievable but true account of Krakauer and his journey to the summit of the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest (e.g., Audio Reviews, LJ 9/15/97 and LJ 12/97). Krakauer, an experienced climber, was expected to chronicle the thrill of a lifetimeAparticipation in a guided expedition (underwritten by Outside magazine) to an astounding 29,028' above sea-level. He shares the history, the personalities, the emotion, and the grueling physical acclimatization of the most deadly season ever (May 1996) to reveal the horror that ensues after a blizzard strikes the precipice, ultimately killing nine people from four different expeditions (all climbing to the top on the same day). If your library has not purchased either of the other recordings, this rendition will appeal to the sports enthusiast as well as the dedicated audiophile.AKristin M. Jacobi, Eastern Connecticut State Univ., Willimantic
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.