Into Thin Air Book Review

Into Thin Air Book Review

By Kismat Herr

“Human beings simply aren’t meant to function at the cruising altitude of a 747.”

-Everest (2015)

The first line of the book will give you an adrenaline rush tucked away in your cozy blanket. In the very first page, the author gives you just the shadow of the glimpse of the actual incident that unfolds in the chapters that follow. Jon Krakauer masterfully gives the brief knowledge one needs to know before he takes your breath away.

The writer starts from the very beginning, right from where Everest was first discovered to the numerous attempts that were made. He very intelligently lays down the history of the mountain and legends (climbers related to it). He talks of mountain climbing, his own experiences and the extracts from numerous other (mountain climber) writers who talk about the mountain with such passion, as if almost talking about a lover.

He accounts for all the failures, the little mistakes that started as a small ball of snow which later turned into an avalanche of errors that could have been corrected but was it misjudgment that could have been easily avoided or clear ignorance and underestimation of the grave danger closely lingering?

No one would have been able to predict that by the end of the day, after reaching the peak every second would count, 10th May 1996 would not only have an everlasting effect on each climber present that day but would also go down in history as the ‘Everest Disaster’.

Two world-class climbing leaders, six guides and two highly trained Sherpa guides, yet the tragedy happened. The things described by the author that happened on that fateful day will give you goosebumps. How you understand every character’s persona and learn about their lives and behavior in every chapter that proceeds the main chapter, makes you feel close to them but the way the human psyche changes, a decision that should seem normal to any person (or reader) suddenly is not the step that the characters take, what you expect from every person does not happen, in certain cases just the opposite happens and the fact that ‘Survival’ overrides and over looks everything. The way looming danger makes them what some people might even call ‘selfish’ is just mere ‘Death Zone’ effect i.e. above 26,247 feet.

This story will capture every part of your brain, it will make you think and question so many things. What would you do had you been in their situation? Would you be able to sleep, live with your actions? Another masterpiece that Jon Krakauer gives us about his personal experience on Everest.

Warning- It’s the kind of book that every person who only reads romantic things or people who do not even prefer reading will find themselves engrossed till the very end of the book. It’s not for the weak hearted and its meant for the adventurer buried deep inside your heart. Just in case you fall in love with the book, do see the movie too, ‘Everest’ (2015).