Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster
By Jon Krakauer
Anchor, 1997. 337 pgs. Nonfiction
On May 10, 1996, only Martin Adams, an experienced airplane pilot, recognized the crowns of thunderheads in the cumulonimbus clouds rolling up the summit of Everest. Writer-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, like the others, saw only harmless skies during his brief stay on top of the world. Eight climbers would die that day and several others would narrowly escape with their lives. Up until 2014, the disaster was the deadliest in Everest’s history.
After seeing the recent movie about this disaster called Everest, I became fascinated by the tragedy and wanted to know more. There isn't a better-written first-hand account than Krakauer’s, who is a journalist and one of only two climbers on his team who reached the top and survived the descent. He gives just enough backstory on the critical players to engage the reader but not enough to slow the story down. Gripping, haunting, and well-researched, this is nonfiction at its best.