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Nonfiction

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...

Synopsis

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...

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