Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster


Author: Jon Krakauer

Title: Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of theMount Everest Disaster

Genre: Nonfiction, Adventure

Publication Date: 1997

Number of Pages: 293

Geographical Setting: Nepal; Mount Everest

Time Period: 1996 Everest climbing season

Series (If applicable): None

Plot Summary: 

After being asked to investigate commercial expeditions of Mount Everest for an article for Outside magazine, Jon Krakauer, himself an avid climber, joined Rob Hall’s Adventure Consultants Everest expedition in 1996—a year that turned out to be one of the most deadly ever on the mountain.  As Krakauer himself grows more and more determined to reach the top of the mountain, he chronicles the experiences of the other members of his expedition and that of the competing expedition run by Scott Fisher. A gripping account of death, near death, survival, heroism, and guilt, this heart-pounding read is made even more harrowing because it is nonfiction.

Subject Headings: Mount Everest—commercial expeditions, mountaineering, Adventure Consultants, Mountain Madness, survival stories

 Appeal: heart-pounding, first-person point-of-view, fast-paced, exotic setting, sense of place, exciting, accessible language, controversial, sense of danger, graphic, descriptive

 3 appeal terms that best describe this book: heart-pounding, strong sense of place, exciting

 3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest’s Most Controversial Season by Nick Heil

This chronicle of the 2006 climbing season, the deadliest since 1996, describes the conditions that allowed climbers to leave still-living colleagues for dead.  Like Into Thin Air, this book tackles the controversy surrounding commercial climbing expeditions and the personalities associated with them.

Surviving the Extremes: a Doctor’s Journey to the Limits of Human Endurance by Kenneth Kamler

Written by the doctor who treated survivors during the 1996 Everest climbing season chronicled in Into Thin Air, this book explores survival in all kinds of extreme environments along with case studies of patients who survived in the most difficult of situations.

Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 by Willie Drye

The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 devastated the Florida Keys and caused massive loss of life, not the least of which was the result of a series of errors by government officials and the placement of large numbers of homeless veterans into work camps on Key Largo. This riveting, fast-paced tale chronicles the lead-up to the storm and shares the stories of those who survived.

 3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Peak by Roland Smith

While this book is a young-adult novel, it’s premise is fascinating and nuanced.  Fourteen-year-old Peak, a boy raised by a father who runs a mountaineering expedition company, is trying to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest.  But climbing Everest is dangerous, unsettling, and even Peak’s father’s motives may not be what they seem.

The Ascent: a Novel of Survival by Ronald Damien Malfi

Tim Overleigh’s wife has died, and the only way he feels alive himself is when he is participating in extreme sports. So when an old friend asks him to join a mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas, he agrees—only to find that the elements may not be all he must contend with in order to survive.

Rapids by Tim Parks

When a fifteen-member kayaking club takes on the rapids of the Italian Alps, personal conflicts, obsessions, and the dangerous forces of nature make this adventure take a dark and disturbing turn.

Name: Shelley


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