Into Thin Air

by Jon Krakauer

Quick take

Attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act '“ a triumph of desire over sensibility.

Why I love it

At the peak of Mt. Everest, 29,029 feet above sea level, the air is so thin that the brain is literally dying. And yet, nearly one thousand people attempt the summit each year, and an entire cottage industry of guides and expedition companies has sprung up to profit on the desire.

There is perhaps no greater account of what it’s really like to climb Everest than Into Thin Air. In May 1996, famed...


When Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn't slept in fifty-seven hours and was reeling from the brain-altering effects of oxygen depletion. As he turned to begin his long, dangerous descent from 29,028 feet, twenty other climbers were still pushing doggedly toward the top. No one had noticed that the sky had begun to fill with clouds. Six...

Member thoughts

68% Love
23% Like
5% Dislike
  • Karin N.

    Chicago, IL

    "This gave me a lot of insight as to what it would be like to climb a mountain like this....horrifying!"

  • AnnaM S.

    Nova, OH

    "Every page held my interest; I am not a novel reader so it is difficult each month to find a book to choose"

  • Karissa L.

    South Easton, MA

    "While reading it, I almost felt like I was on the mountain too. Really interesting."

  • Kathryn H.

    Georgetown, MA

    "Great must-read. Epitome of Man vs Nature saga... I felt cold just reading it!"

  • Kelsey M.

    Mesa, AZ

    "This book was so easy to read, and really brought you to Everest in the midst of that infamous disaster."

  • Angela C.

    Midvale, UT

    "These people are crazy. But it's a riveting story. You might have dreams about all the ways you can die on Everest afterward, though."

  • Rosemary G.

    Downingtown, PA

    "Feels like you are there. Great material on the culture of climbing, the dangers and history of Everest. Thoughtful look back at how things went so wrong."

  • Rachel G.

    Brooklyn, NY

    "I love books about mountaineering and this is one of the best. Plus this edition is beautiful! "

  • Lenise C.

    Pasadena, MD

    "Harrowing story, especially knowing the "end" going into it. It stayed with me."

  • Isabelle A.

    Queens, NY

    "I couldn't put this down & it started me on a Mt Everest rabbit hole. Amazing writing and incredible story."

  • Lindsay D.

    Dallas, TX

    "It would be an amazing story, even if it was fiction. Being a true story made it even more incredible. "