Book Review: Into Thin Air

Mountaineer recalls Everest tragedy


Kyle Gehman

This book is available on Amazon for $9.49. It is a personal account of climbing Everest during the 1996 tragedy.

by Kyle Gehman, Assistant Editor

In the #1 National Bestseller, author and mountaineer Jon Krakauer, narrates a personal account of the tragedy on Everest in 1996 with the book Into Thin Air. This informational, emotional and gripping book receives 4 out of 5 stars.

During this nonfiction book Jon Krakauer describes his experience of summiting Everest during the 1996 tragedy, the season with the most deaths ever recorded. Besides giving his account to the events that happened during the climb, Krakauer gives plenty of historical and relevant information about Everest and the people and events that led up to the year he arrived at the mountain.

Nobody suspected that by the end of that long day, every minute would matter.

— Jon Krakauer

The book starts out with a tease of information that implies there will be tragedy and then transitions to giving historical information of the mountain. This helps the reader stay engaged because they are looking forward to what happens during the rest of the book. Krakauer gives a thorough history from the first attempts to climb the 29,029 foot monster to the people who live in the area and their beliefs about Everest. As the book goes on, Jon describes his lead up to climbing the mountain and the people involved. He then goes on to give readers his story about climbing Everest on that famous year.

During the book, people get to understand many unique and interesting things. Readers learn about the long history of the mountain that has the height equivalent to 12,671 McDonald’s Big Macs. Krakauer also repeatedly explores the subject of the logic and lifestyle of mountaineers and the culture that they have. It also informs just how tough climbing the mountain really is, about 240 people have died and the height of the peak is close to the cruising altitude of most planes. Finally people learn about the events that happened on the mountain that year from someone who experienced it and lived to tell it.

This book does an amazing job of giving the facts of the climb that year, providing history and using a great writing technique to keep the reader engaged. The reason it doesn’t receive full rating is because it might not be as interesting for people who dislike outdoors and climbing, but for most, this book is definitely worth reading.