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    $10.36 $6.00 list($12.95)
    1. Into the Wild
    $16.50 $14.90 list($25.00)
    2. The Devil's Teeth : A True Story
    $10.17 $9.19 list($14.95)
    3. The Long Walk: The True Story
    $12.21 $11.60 list($17.95)
    4. The Inca Trail, Cusco & Machu
    $26.37 $25.87 list($39.95)
    5. Classic Hikes of the World: 23
    $17.13 $4.95 list($25.95)
    6. Into Thin Air : A Personal Account
    $30.95 $29.71
    7. Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian
    $29.71 $23.39 list($34.95)
    8. Backcountry Adventures: Arizona
    $17.00 list($25.00)
    9. Trawler
    $16.15 $12.01 list($17.95)
    10. Live Your Road Trip Dream: Travel
    $10.17 $8.95 list($14.95)
    11. Walking the Bible: A Journey by
    $14.95 $14.69 list($21.99)
    12. Lonely Planet Ecuador & the
    $18.45 $8.99 list($27.95)
    13. Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's
    $13.56 $11.20 list($15.95)
    14. Maui Trailblazer: Where to Hike,
    $16.95 $11.35
    15. Sedona Hikes: 130 Day Hikes and
    $15.61 $12.18 list($22.95)
    16. Robert Young Pelton's The World's
    $10.36 $4.76 list($12.95)
    17. Touching the Void: The True Story
    $12.71 $10.19 list($14.95)
    18. Snorkel Kauai : Guide to the Underwater
    $29.71 $23.41 list($34.95)
    19. Backcountry Adventures Southern
    $10.47 $9.77 list($14.95)
    20. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who

    1. Into the Wild
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $10.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385486804
    Catlog: Book (1997-01-20)
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 1144
    Average Customer Review: 4.03 out of 5 stars
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    "God, he was a smart kid..." So why did Christopher McCandless trade a brightfuture--a college education, material comfort, uncommon ability and charm--for death by starvation in anabandoned bus in the woods of Alaska? This is the question that Jon Krakauer's book tries to answer. While itdoesn't—cannot—answer the question with certainty, Into the Wild does shed considerable lightalong the way. Not only about McCandless's "Alaskan odyssey," but also the forces that drivepeople to drop out of society and test themselves in other ways. Krakauer quotes Wallace Stegner's writing on a youngman who similarly disappeared in the Utah desert in the 1930s: "At 18, in a dream, he saw himself ...wandering through the romantic waste places of the world. No man with any of the juices of boyhood inhim has forgotten those dreams." Into the Wild shows that McCandless, while extreme, washardly unique; the author makes the hermit into one of us, something McCandless himself could never pulloff. By book's end, McCandless isn't merely a newspaper clipping, but a sympathetic, oddly magneticpersonality. Whether he was "a courageous idealist, or a reckless idiot," you won't soon forgetChristopher McCandless. ... Read more

    Reviews (745)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Krakauer's story of Chris McCandless
    Why would a talented and gifted young man walk away from his life of promise and lead the life of a penniless wanderer? Jon Krakauer, the nature/travel journalist, takes on this question in the story of Chris McCandless, who after two years of coast-to-coast travel, was found dead in the Alaskan wildreness.

    Krakauer retraces McCandless's steps from his childhood to his days at Emory and uncovers a smart, compassionate young man who revelled in the works of Tolstoy, Jack London, and other figures who advocated a simple self-sufficient existence, turning away from money, government, etc. He interviews several people that Chris, "Alex Supertramp" as he calls himself, met in his hitch hiking travels and discusses his journal writings. I came upon this book after reading Krakauer's newest book, Under the Banner of Heaven. I appreciated Krakauer's style of being in the story as an author/journalist, but keeping the story in its purest form.
    Krakauer first encountered this story after McCandless's death in 1992. He wrote a feature story in Outside magazine, but was very interested in McCandless, so he decided to research the events more. This book is the further research. He provides some insight and answers some of the questions with his own experiences as a mountaineer and outdoor-lover.

    5-0 out of 5 stars FINDING CHRIS MCCANDLESS
    As the mother of sons and a writer for whom reading is the greatest pleasure, I found "Into the Wild" to be one of the finest and most unexpectedly beautiful books I have read in a very long time.

    It is the harrowing story of the death and short life of Chris McCandless, a bright, charming, adventurous young man whose mysterious travels and untimely death left a legacy of heartbreak and confusion to those who loved him.

    In returning to the scene of his own admittedly incomplete reportage of the story for :"Outside" magazine, Jon Krakauer reveals his own honesty and decency as a writer and a man.

    The book is as beautifully written as it is fascinating. Krakauer and his readers come to know Chris McCandless as our own youthful hopes made flesh. We also come to know this boy -- and love him -- as everyone's son, perhaps even our own.

    Late in his troubled adolescence, Chris set out into the American "wilderness" on a journey to adulthood. He did not return.

    He didn't return, that is, until Krakauer, who recognized in this story aspects of his own difficult youth, embarked on an odyssey of his own in McCandless' footsteps. .

    With almost unbearable detail he pieces together the last year of this young man's life and derives from it a compelling pilgrim's tale of anger, fear and courage. Through those who knew him during his "lost" days, we move from dissatisfaction and yearning to spiritual rebirth that arrives gratefully, but late and despite terrible twists of fate

    .Chris McCandless tunneled through Peer Gynt's mountain, punted across the Slough of Despond and into the dark and icy forest. He received boons and encountered spirit guides; listened and learned from scouts and story-tellers All of them later helped the auther piece together the real story, heretofore untold, of a boy who found himself and death in the same process and in the same place. Free at last, he quietly, and even joyously, welcomed the arrival of both with valor and uncommon grace.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting
    How does a young man leave a comfortable life with an education and well to do parents and just wander into the wild? This is one of the questions that Jon Krakauer tries to answer. At first the reader is given the idea that Chris McCandless read one too many books like "On the Road" or "White Fang", but as the story develops, he becomes more complex a character. This young man was looking for adventure and decided to leave "normal" life behind. Unfortanuatly for him. it cost him his life.

    Krakauer does an amazing job of bringing McCandless back to life by trying to show what he was thinking. Krakauer used personal notes, interviews with family and friends and historical experiences to flesh out this person. When the personal notes run out and speculation starts, Krakauer gives a personal tale to explain why McCandless was not an idiot and just had some bad luck. This book is a very good read and is time well spent.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The dark side of idealism
    Last Christmas I gave this book to my father. I thought he might enjoy the adventures of Alex (though you know from the start his life will end badly), and thought if things went well I might use this to try to explain to him why it is that I spend all my extra money on travel and why I do illogical things in pursuit of my dreams. His reaction, though, was nothing but frustration with Alex's "idiocy."

    The difference between my response to the book - that Chris/Alex lived an extreme form of the longing I and many others feel - and my father's response is the same gulf that this story seeks to bridge. Jon Krakauer, who has also sacrificed a great deal and risked his life in pursuit of his dreams, clearly feels some sympathy for Alex's wild decisions. But the result of Alex's tramping is his own death and the heartbreak that ensues, which seems to outweigh any selfish satisfaction Alex may have received from his experiences.

    When people create great art or invent something remarkable, society celebrates their achievements in spite of any collateral damage. But Alex is an example of someone whose idealism was far greater than his accomplishments. The art he left behind in his notebooks is unremarkable, and the few friends he made in his travels have not been catalysts for improvement in the world. His one success (or failure) was that he was able to unbind himself from his expected, normal life and give himself wholly to his ideals. So many of us secretly wish that we had the courage to do something similar, and this book forces us to confront that desire. Is the pursuit of a dream a worthwhile end, in and of itself?

    There are no clear answers, in this book or in life, but the question is worth asking, no matter whether you see Alex as someone to be admired or throttled.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lonesome pines in snow
    This is an excellent read! But more than that, it is one of most moving and human stories you will ever have the pleasure of encountering by an author such as Krakauer, a splendid naturalist with a true ear for epiphany. Krakauer has a style unlike any writer this side of the twentieth century, and makes his way honestly and earnestly into the psyche of the reader, unexpectedly portraying a very real and true, almost unspeakable understanding of the young adventurer, Chris McCandless. If you are American, you absolutely must read this book! It should be cannonized. ... Read more

    2. The Devil's Teeth : A True Story of Survival and Obsession Among America's Great White Sharks
    by Susan Casey
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 080507581X
    Catlog: Book (2005-06-07)
    Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
    Sales Rank: 570
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A journalist's obsession brings her to a remote island off the California coast, home to the world's most mysterious and fearsome predators-and the strange band of surfer-scientists who follow them

    Susan Casey was in her living room when she first saw the great white sharks of the Farallon Islands, their dark fins swirling around a small motorboat in a documentary. These sharks were the alphas among alphas, some longer than twenty feet, and there were too many to count; even more incredible, this congregation was taking place just twenty-seven miles off the coast of San Francisco.

    In a matter of months, Casey was being hoisted out of the early-winter swells on a crane, up a cliff face to the barren surface of Southeast Farallon Island-dubbed by sailors in the 1850s the "devil's teeth." There she joined Scot Anderson and Peter Pyle, the two biologists who bunk down during shark season each fall in the island's one habitable building, a haunted, 135-year-old house spackled with lichen and gull guano. Two days later, she got her first glimpse of the famous, terrifying jaws up close and she was instantly hooked; her fascination soon yielded to obsession-and an invitation to return for a full season. But as Casey readied herself for the eight-week stint, she had no way of preparing for what she would find among the dangerous, forgotten islands that have banished every campaign for civilization in the past two hundred years.

    The Devil's Teeth is a vivid dispatch from an otherworldly outpost, a story of crossing the boundary between society and an untamed place where humans are neither wanted nor needed.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good story, perhaps, but author is not the best narrator
    I suspect that reading this book would be better than the audio version.The author reads her own work and, while I have certainly heard worse narrators, I have also heard much better.The author uses some inflection but her voice is general dull and heavy.Still, for listeners with an interest in sharks, it may be worth the time, even though nothing really spectacular happens nor does the author give a lot of details about the sharks.It is mainly about what happens to her when she visits shark researchers on a remote island.A much better book about sharks and the sea would be Peter Benchley's "Shark Trouble".

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Book About A Fascinating Subject
    I read an excerpt from this book in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, and knew I'd have to read the entire thing. Ms. Casey writes beautifully, and has you hooked (no pun intended) from page one! You feel a little sorry for the seals who end up as entrees for the sharks who inhabit the Farallon Islands a few months a year, but that's nature. The strong survive and this is a book about the ultimate survivors and their peculiar pilgrimage to this unusual playground.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An incredibly absorbing read !
    Have just finished reading an advance reader's copy of Susan Casey's "The Devil's Teeth".I can tell you with much assuredness, you're in for a treat if firsthand accounts of nature in it's rawest form touches you as it does me.

    Having lived in the hills of Marin in the shadow of Mt. Tamalpais above Bolinas for the last 25 years, I've been aware of the research done by Peter and Scot on great whites but never had such an in depth look into their activites as that which Ms. Casey puts to words so well. A true spellbinding page turner !!

    "In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."

    ... Read more

    3. The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
    by Slavomir Rawicz
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1558216847
    Catlog: Book (1997-12-01)
    Publisher: The Lyons Press
    Sales Rank: 1843
    Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The harrowing true tale of escaped Soviet prisoners¿ desperate march out of Siberia, through China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (209)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Facts, Facts, Facts
    I read this book eagerly, given the fact that the book jacket described Rawicz's journey as "Homeric." Though he may have travelled as far as Odysseus, he certainly doesn't possess the literary skills of a Homer, even with the help of a ghost writer. The Long Walk was a plainly told tale of extraordinary endurance. In fact, I agree with one reviewer who found the tale so extraordinary as to be unbelievable. I might be willing to accept the truth of Rawicz's story had there been some introduction or some verifiable historical facts within the tale itself. Unfortunately, my edition had none of this and the result was fairly implausible. I could easily catalogue the story's absurdities: the fact that the Polish officers all died along the way, leaving only Rawicz and a few untraceable companions at the end; the claims that the party walked for days with no food or no water (read _In the Heart of the Sea_ or _Endurance_ for a more plausible survival tales, and you'll realize how difficult this is); the idea that the party traversed some of the most daunting territory on the earth in handmade fur garments (?!). Even if his story is true, Rawicz never bothers to analyze his experience, or mull over what it might mean. He and his companions managed to reach the relatively hospitable Mongolia and encountered dozens of boats heading for China, yet still chose to walk not only through the Gobi desert but over the Himalayas, with tragic consequences. Without some thoughts about the meaning of the experience and about his post-war life, Rawicz's tale is hardly more interesting than the map that marks his party's estimated route through the wilds of Asia.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Story You'll Never Forget.
    Although The Long Walk is well written, that has nothing to do with why it's a good book. People should read this book because it chronicles perhaps the most extraordinary true story of human endurance in recorded history.

    Slavomir Rawicz is unjustly imprisoned by the Communist Russians early in World War II. He is confined to a cell so small that he literally cannot sit, but must sleep by collapsing with his knees against the wall and his feet steeped in his own waste. He is later transported to Siberia by train, and then marched through the cold countryside to a Soviet Gulag, witnessing the death by exposure and exhaustion of other unfortunate captives along the way. In the prison camp he is set in forced labor, kept in horrendous conditions, over-worked, and underfed.

    Near the end of his rope, Rawicz and a handful of companions orchestrate a daring and desperate escape, and then proceed to run for their lives, on foot, toward freedom in India--4,000 miles away. Then the fun begins. They must conquer the frozen Siberian tundra, the Gobi desert, the Himalayan Mountains, starvation, the Soviets, and their own inner demons.

    Slavomir's ordeal overshadows every other survival tale I've every read, including Admiral Scott's Polar expedition and Krakauer's Everest disaster. This is up there with the Donner Expedition in terms of grim conditions and the indomitable human spirit. Trust me. If you've got a teenager who's complaining because they think they have it rough, let 'em read this one. --Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake Up Dead.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A great examination of the surviving spirit
    There have have been questions about the truth od this book. What rings true is the deep emotional turmoil of the author as he hangs on to his hatred for his tormentors, and there's no doubt thess dark passions helped spur him on during his long and often seeminly endless trek. It's a sad book. An amazing journey of the mind and the soul can be found in IN THE GHOST COUNTRY by Peter Hillary, a mind-bending account of his haunted journey to the South Pole. Deep stuff.

    2-0 out of 5 stars not believable
    This book purports to describe the travels of a polish
    officer in 1942 escaping from Siberia across China and
    into freedom in India. As a travel book, it doesn't
    hold up. As anyone who has travelled to these areas can
    tell you, no small unsupported group of people is going
    to just walk across those deserts without water or cross through
    Tibet north to south during the coldest months of the year.
    There are no landmarks to speak of presented in the book that
    in any way line up to the geography of where he claims to have
    gone. Beyond that, his story of escape from the russian camp is pure unbelievable melodrama. And for good measure, it contains
    a bigfoot (or snowman) sighting near the end.

    I suppose a few people will believe that some of the worst
    deserts in the world are just there to walk across or that
    you can just kind of find your way over the Himalayas during
    the coldest part of the year to India.

    I also couldn't help but wonder where his companions ended up
    after. Did they all just fall off the face of the earth
    after arriving in India? And on a journey like this, why would
    you only know one of your companions as "Mr. Smith". Most people
    would learn the entire life stories of the others on a trip like
    this supposedly was. Or at the very least learn the names of
    those your moving with.

    If you want to read real survival stories, try something
    about Shakelton or the book Great Heart.

    5-0 out of 5 stars When freedom calls
    This book is the story about a young Polish officer who is imprisoned and tortured by the Soviets. In a mockery of a trial he is sentanced to twenty-five years in a Soviet prison camp. It is here the real story begins.

    In the middle of Siberia, this Polish officer plans the unthinkable: escape! He selects six other companions to attept this act of deparation with him. In planning his escape, another reviewer indicates that he receives help from an unexpected source. You will not believe who assists him in his quest for freedom!

    The balance of the work deals in the trek across Siberia, Mogolia, the Gobi desert, and finally the Himalayas.

    In the annuals of human history you would be hard pressed to indentify a person whose sigle mindedness approaches Slavomir Rawicz.

    This is a terrific book! ... Read more

    4. The Inca Trail, Cusco & Machu Picchu, 2nd: Includes The Vilcabamba Trail and Lima City Guide
    by Richard Danbury
    list price: $17.95
    our price: $12.21
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 187375664X
    Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
    Publisher: Trailblazer Publications
    Sales Rank: 13897
    Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Inca Trail from Cuzco to Machu Picchu is South America's most popular hike. This practical guide includes 27 detailed trail maps, plans of eight Inca sites, plus guides to Lima, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu. Fully updated new edition includes detailed new guide to the Vilcabamba Trail.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Preparation for the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu
    This book gives wonderful advice and preparation if you are going to hike on the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu. There is great advice for safety, route descriptions, and is best for preparation. Info is given on the history of the land, its people and culture, food, places to stay, as well as safety tips for health in the region.
    However, as another reviewer said below, a professional tour guide would serve you well.
    Overall a great guide for preparing to walk solo on an ancient and breathtaking trail.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Nothing can beat a tour guide
    This book was good as a general introduction to the trail and to get an idea of what to expect. However, while actually in Machu Picchu, nothing can beat a tour guide. More than half the book is dedicated to the trail and preparing for the hike, so if you have done this already or you are going with a group, this entire section will not be very helpful. The remainder of the book gives an average description of the site while leaving some serious gaps. Tour guides are great in this respect. The maps of the trail itself were a bit confusing and lacked detail. I would have preferred to buy another book on the subject. However, after looking at the books both in the states and while I was in Peru, I discovered that this is the best book out there - unfortunately. So if you want advance information on the trail and the ruins before you get there (and can get yourself a tour guide), buy this book. Just don't expect much.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Invaluable companion on the Inca Trail and Cuzco/Lima
    I got this book as a gift just as I was to embark on a most magical 10 day trip to Lima/Cuzco and to hike the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu from Km-82. It is a treasure. I carried it along everywhere that I went. The Lima section needs some updates (Archaeological Museum is CLOSED on Mondays!) and I wish there were more spanish to english phrases but these are nits, the history and the trail description are fantastic and that is the main intent of the book. You do not need any other book! Good show.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Beware for the updates section
    I bought this book because of the maps and the information it gave as to how to be a good independent backpacker. If it were not for the hidden pages at the end of the book, I would give this book 10 stars. Hidden at the back of the book, you have an update section. This section mentions that independent backpacking is no longer allowed. The only thing usefull about the book now is its sections about lima and cuzco but if I wanted a normal guide book, I woul buy the Lonely Planet, not this one

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Detailed Description of Machu Picchu!
    Richard Danbury's book gives a detailed description not only of Machu Picchu and Cusco, but a host of other ruins in the area. The maps provided are detailed and allow a self-tour of each site. Reccomendations for side tours are terrific, plus he provides alternate trails to Machu Picchu for "the road less traveled". There is a brief chapter on Lima, as well as shopping and travel tips for the region.

    Great book! ... Read more

    5. Classic Hikes of the World: 23 Breathtaking Treks
    by Peter Potterfield
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $26.37
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393057968
    Catlog: Book (2005-02-07)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 11726
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Inspiration and information to help you plan (and dream about) your next big trek.

    This book will help you realize your dreams of hiking among the world's highest peaks and most scenic canyons, discovering wilderness far from the clamor of civilization, encountering rare birds and animals, glorying in sunsets over glacier-clad ranges, and feeling the joy and achievement of hiking some of the world's most spectacular trails.

    Peter Potterfield has selected the great hikes of the world from personal experience, having hiked and photographed hundreds of trails to arrive at this selection. The adventures described range from weekend overnights to four-day hut trips to epic journeys that take a few weeks out and back. None requires technical mountaineering skill. Features include details on trail conditions, levels of difficulty, best seasons, approach strategies, hazards, and maps. Hikes include: John Muir Trail, California; Wonder Lake to McGonagall Pass, Alaska; Tour de la Vanoise, French Alps; Kungsleden, Swedish Lapland; K2 Base Camp; Grand Canyon rim to rim; Mount Kilimanjaro; Cerro Fitz Roy, Argentina; and Shackleton's Crossing, South Georgia. 115 illustrations. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book !
    I will skip the debate about which hikes are the world's greatest, and greatly admire this book as a current, concise and nicely illustrated presentation.Potterfield lays it out as clearly as a trail guide and attractively as a travel agent.But most of all, these are all hikes he has made. Very professional and personal.

    This book has made me change my choices of which hikes to ad to my life list (Buckskin Gulch, Utah) and which to just read about in amazement (Kalalau Trail, Hawaii).

    I was thrilled to see that I had been in the areas close to some trails that he describes: Grand Canyon, Mt Rainier, White Mountains of New Hampshire, Vancouver Island, and the North Cascades.The book inspires me to revisit these places with better plan and preparation.

    And he re-hikes one of the great survival hikes in history: the Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island.Nice to read of Potterfield's crossing of the same route - even well equipped he labels it a moderate physical challenge, but a much greater psychological challenge - even for a modern trek, weather there is the biggest factor

    I found some hikes that I should re-considered now - The John Muir Trail seems not to be the over-crowded trail I had thought it to be, and is back on the list.

    I wasn't looking for a technical manual, nor a travel brochure, this hits just right - human impressions of some great hikes, clear suggestions for what I may find there, and discussions of logistics, strategy, hazards and seasons.

    I got two copies of this excellent book, deciding that it would make a great gift for a well-traveled relative who is now an armchair trekker.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Okay, but could be better.
    I saw this book on Amazon and purchased it right away.The title itself is deceptive.Classic hikes of the world would lead one to believe that the hikes would come from all continents.However, almost half (11 out of 23) are from North America.Furthermore, the selection looks as if it was written for and culled from the brochures of an adventure travel company.Of course, like many adventure travel brochures, the pictures are really nice.

    If you are looking for a book on the world's best treks then I suggest that you look for Classic Treks : The 30 Most Spectacular Hikes in the World by Burkett and McGrady, Top Treks of the World by Razetti, or Trekking Great Walks of the World by Cleare.In my opinion, any of these would be a better choice than Potterfield's book. ... Read more

    6. Into Thin Air : A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679457526
    Catlog: Book (1997-04-22)
    Publisher: Villard
    Sales Rank: 21951
    Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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    Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions. ... Read more

    Reviews (1256)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Book for the Adventurous Reader
    Adventure has always intrigued me. Books, movies, and sports all have that critical element of action and suspense that makes for interesting media. Into Thin Air met, and at sometimes exceeded my expectations. Jon Krakauer does an excellent job of portreying the raw emotion of losing his comrades and friends. I really felt as though I was there on the summit, among Scott Fischer, Rob Hall, and Niel Beidleman. The sheer realism of the situations presented to me was expertly crafted. I felt triumph at reaching the summit, sadness at the loss of Doug Hansen, and I felt the true burden of leadership that was quickly and brutally placed on the shoulders of Stuart Hutchinson and Neal Beidleman. I also enjoyed the book becasue it gave some of the history of Everest. I especially enjoyed hearing of Reinhold Messner, an alpine legend. The only problem with devling into history is that Krakauer got a little too engrossed in it and strayed from the story. Learning about where Everest got its name may be interesting to some, but I prefer to stick to the climb itself. Another plus in the book that I enjoyed was Krakauer's interaction with the other climbers and how he showed the way they felt and what was going on. These extra "characters" add lots of depth to the plot and make for a more interesting read. I also was a little frustrated with the way the timeline skips around. This is very apparent in the later chapters of the book, where keeping track of time becomes increasingly difficult. Into Thin Air is a well done book, and nearly got five stars, if only Jon Krakauer stuck to the basics and stayed organized.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Criticism on Into Thin Air
    Criticism: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

    The book that I have read I called Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer. The main character in the story that sets the plot in motion is Jon Krakauer, or Rob Hall, his leader. He writes, in depth, his accounts of his mountain climbing. Next, the villain, who is against Krakauer, could either be the mountains, or Sandy Pittman. One Antagonist is the mountain. They try to challenge Jon to the best of his ability, and make it so that he doesn't succeed. Or, it could be Sandy, because she kind of makes a mockery of climbing, such as bringing an espresso along on her adventures. Some other important characters are the Sherpas, who are very dedicated, Hall, who completed expeditions in harsh conditions, too. Also Rob, who was in his group, Scott Fischer, Andy Harris, Lene Gammelgaard, Tim Madsen, Charlotte Fox, and Nel Beidleman. Scott Fischer was the leader of the Mountain Madness expedition, Andy Harris was a guide on Rob Hall's team, and Doug Hansen, who was a postal worker, and his dream was to climb. There were also some important places, which were Mt. Everest, Dhera Dun, Pakding, Lobuje, and many others One symbol is I think Mt. Everest. It symbolizes the problems we have today. At first, it hits you head on. While you are trying to overcome it, you have more problems, and hardships, that make it difficult for you to succeed. Then, when you reach the top, you are overjoyed and relieved. This is just like any problem that you will encounter in real life. Each character has a conflict with him vs. nature. They climbs, but the mountains do anything they can to stop them. As they get higher, there is less oxygen. Being very fatigued, it is hard to go on, so it takes even longer. It is very cold, too, which makes your body weaker. The weather is very icy and stormy. On top of all this, they have to climb a mass of land that is vertical. There was also a self vs. society, because sometimes on group leader had to make a decision, which would put the other group members life's' on the line. This book is ad, because thirteen people died in one season, just because they wanted to try to climb a steep mountain. When they are climbing, they are low on oxygen, and some get very ill. But, the different groups are kind of like families, since they are putting their life into someone else' hands, and trusting them with it. The reader also becomes part of their family, feeling bad for the different things that happen to the characters. It is tragic, yet adventurous at the same time. Into Thin Air is adventurous, because first he talks about how steep the mountain is, and how hard it is to climb. Next, when they are climbing it, it talks about all the hardships, such as weather, oxygen, and oxygen depletion. This is the climax of the book, since you are very intense to see what happens to the characters. Lastly, the outcome, or denouement, occurs and some are happy, since the character made it, and some are tragic. The book leaves you like there should be more. When he's talking about how he hasn't slept in a long time, under nourished, and very sick. I know I wouldn't have the energy to climb if I hadn't slept in 57 hours, only eaten soup and candy, and separated ribs with a bad cold. However, I also liked that the book left you hanging, because then you could imagine what happened, good or bad. I liked this book a lot, since it had to sides. It was very visual; you could picture the climbers climbing up the mountain. This book makes you want to look into climbing, but then when you read how hard it is, and how easily you can die, you rethink it. I recommend this book to readers of tragedies, and adventure novels.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't stop reading it...
    This tale is Jon Krakauer's personal account of his attempt to summit Mt. Everest. Rob Hall is the leader, a guide with impeccable credentials who is also a man of caution...yet a daring individual, as anyone would have to be to climb Everest (especially time and time again). Rob leads the team up the mountain, and everything is going fairly well until that fateful day where everything seemingly went wrong. It's almost hard to read this book knowing there's a tragedy coming, but I couldn't put it down to find some heroism also involved in this story...the will to survive is amazing, and it is demonstrated clearly in this book. I highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting!!
    I loved this book! I read it a few years ago and have recommended it, and given it as a gift, to many people. I also heard Beck Weathers speak at a sales meeting a few years ago, and he recounted his story, much as it is in the book. If you like real life adventure stories, this book is definitely for you.

    4-0 out of 5 stars fascinating
    An incredible account of the Everest Disaster. Krakauer is an expert at including as many details as possible without being too wordy. This book reads like a novel, and in fact the story is so incredible that at times you have to remind yourself that it is non-fiction. I appreciated the vivid pictures he painted of the important people in this book, a talent for which he is as skilled as the best contemporary fiction writers. Reading the book, you can grow so fond of some of the more likeable characters that you feel a deep sense of sadness when you read about their passing. In a sense, Krakauer has accomplished the difficult task of explaining in laymen's terms the technical aspects of high-altitude mountaineering (which is necessary in a book like this), and somehow also gave the reader a sense of the profound grief of the situation. This is something that is lost among the litany of newspaper articles, less-talented writers, and the controversy of conflicting accounts fails to do.

    Oh yes, the controversy. I suppose that it is inevitable that when you're dealing with this magnitude a disaster, with equally-high magnitude of some mountaineers' egos, you're going to get arguments. Unfortunately, Krakauer has been sucked into this and actually has devoted a portion of the book to responding to someone's complaint about his account. Frankly, it reads like an internet message board flamewar, and it detracts from an amazing book. Hopefully, a year from now when I think back about this book, I'll remember not the controversy but rather people like Rob Hall, one of the people who died on the mountain. ... Read more

    7. Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies: The Opinionated Hiking Guide
    by Kathy Copeland, Craig Copeland
    list price: $30.95
    our price: $30.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0968941974
    Catlog: Book (2004-07)
    Publisher: Hikingcamping.Com
    Sales Rank: 134277
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    Book Description

    This all-new, fifth edition describes 138 dayhikes and backpack trips in Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, and Waterton national parks, as well as Mt. Robson and Assiniboine provincial parks. Here’s the discerning advice you need to create rewarding adventures. This guide rates and reviews trips as Premier, Outstanding, Worthwhile, or Don’t Do. 260 colour photos reveal this stunning wilderness. Trail maps for each trip enhance the comprehensive route descriptions ... Read more

    8. Backcountry Adventures: Arizona
    by Peter Massey, Jeanne Wilson
    list price: $34.95
    our price: $29.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0966567501
    Catlog: Book (2001-03)
    Publisher: Swagman Publishing
    Sales Rank: 155547
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Covering more than 2,671 miles throughout the state of Arizona, Backcountry Adventures: Arizona provides all the information needed for anyone with a sport utility vehicle to explore the backcountry with their whole family. It features photographs and step-by-step directions for one hundred fifty seven scenic trails, from easy to challenging. Every trail includes maps, ratings for degree of difficulty and scenic beauty, driving times, distances, and GPS coordinates. Write-ups include histories of each ghost town and mining camp plus photos to identify animals and wildflowers. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely The Best!
    I was at the Outdoor Expo and was looking at a much smaller book, for half as much money...It was the only one I saw (and they were very numerous) on the many trails Arizona has to offer.
    Well I passed it by, and told myself on the way out I would probably buy it, well I am glad I waited, I stopped by the booth and noticed one large book at the end of the was the last one, and was 3 times as much. After about 4 pages, I shelled out the cash with a smile on my face! This book has it all. Very, very well detailed, with maps, directions, history, flora , fauna, wildlife, stories on ghost towns and past characters of local legend. What I really liked though was all the COLOR me an idea of what I WILL find when I travel these trails. This book also has much information on what kind (s) of 4WD you will need for what trails, levels of difficulty...things to watch for, what depth of water at the crossings to expect....and well organized to boot. The cover is heavy duty , so it will last bouncing around in the back. This book is great and I love it! If you have a 4WD and are looking for a little adventure and fun from easy to difficult and you are doing it in need this book. See you on the trail!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Most Comprehensive AZ Offroad Book
    I've taken about a dozen of the trails in this book and not one has been disappointing. The author's credentials speak for themselves. He's logged thousands of miles in Arizona. All the GPS coordinates are accurate and the directions are second to none. I would recommend this book to anyone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Arizona four wheel drive adventure review
    I really like the fact that this book differs from so many others in that the directions are easy to follow. It is designed for the average person interested in driving back county trails, not only for the "hard-core" four-wheeler. The book is user-friendly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tremendous book for Arizona explorers
    I purchased this book becasue I wanted to use the new Jeep Wrangler I bought to explore areas of Arizona that most other people don't see. This book is tremendous in that it provides great detail in terms of level of difficuly, scenic beauty, history, and wildlife for a wide variety of locations throughout the state.

    This past weekend, we explored the Parker Canyon Lake and Coronado National Monument areas and the book was invaluable. These locations were just incredible and I suspect that this book will provide a number of other interesting destinations for years to come for me and my family.

    Thanks for the work done by all the contibutors to this book. Very well done. Look forward to additions to this tome in the future.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enhanced with histories of ghost towns and old mining camps
    Backcountry Adventures: Arizona is a completely user friendly, 573-page compendium of detailed, illustrated information for traveling 157 Arizona backcountry roads. Ideal for sport utility vehicle adventuring along a broad range of trails, Backcountry Adventures: Arizona provides comprehensive maps for planning and navigating road trips; step-by-step route directions; degree of difficulty and scenic beauty ratings for each trail; driving times and distances for each trail; GPS coordinates for each trail; and tips on four-wheel driving techniques. Backcountry Adventures: Arizona is enhanced with histories of ghost towns and old mining camps, profiles of colorful characters from Arizona history; as well as information and photographs for easy identification of animals and wildflowers. ... Read more

    9. Trawler
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $17.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400042755
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-04)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 140212
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    10. Live Your Road Trip Dream: Travel for a Year for the Cost of Staying Home
    by Phil White, Carol White
    list price: $17.95
    our price: $16.15
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0975292803
    Catlog: Book (2004-07)
    Publisher: RLI Press
    Sales Rank: 17737
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    Book Description

    Where would your dream take you if you had a whole year to just travel? But perhaps you’re thinking, "if I only knew how to start planning my adventure!"

    This detailed "how-to" guide will get you moving from the dreaming to the doing in no time at all.

    Included is step-by-step, real-life information on planning the trip you’ve always wanted to take -- along with generous doses of humor and advice on topics such as:

    *How to pay for a year away from home
    *How to unravel all your current commitments – to family, work, and organizations
    *How to plan on the fly and enjoy every day
    *How to pack in 3 small drawers and 24" of closet space – for two!
    *How to handle the emergencies that crop up along the way
    *And the most asked question: How to enjoy your traveling companion on a 24/7 basis!

    Once you’ve decided to "leave it all behind", Live Your Road Trip Dream takes you along on an action-packed, whirlwind tour of the authors’ trip – just to help you visualize what months on the road might really be like, and to offer a glimpse into how decisions and discoveries are made along the way. ... Read more

    11. Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses
    by Bruce S. Feiler, Bruce Feiler
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0380807319
    Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 3768
    Average Customer Review: 3.98 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Both a heart-racing adventure and an uplifting quest, Walking the Bible describes one man's epic odyssey -- by foot, jeep, rowboat, and camel -- through the greatest stories ever told. From crossing the Red Sea to climbing Mt. Sinai to touching the burning bush, Bruce Feiler's inspiring journey will forever change your view to some of history's most storied events.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (57)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing New Pilgrimage Through the Bible's Stories
    Walking the Bible is an absorbing & informative travel memoir of Feiler's journeys through the first five books of the Old Testament. Feiler presents a refreshingly different perpective on this subject because he admittedly comes to the project as a young, semi-inactive-in-the-faith Jewish man. What he learns through the trip by reading, interacting, and observing doesn't seem to give him concrete "proof" of the historical veracity of the events, but nonetheless leads him down a path to understanding faith and to realization of the enormous meaning found within the Holy Land. His appreciation for that land and the conflict and beauty found within it are apparent throughout the book, and I found that appreciation to be contagious.

    The best thing about this book is that it enlightens and entertains on spiritual, historical, and travel adventure levels. Scholarly views on the interpretation of Biblical events as well as the geography and culture of the Holy Land are researched and well-presented. Avner Goren was a fantastic guide/mentor who has a greater knowledge of pre-historic and Biblical archaeology than most anyone else around -- his input is priceless. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a thirst for more knowledge about Old Testament times in the Holy Land, and particularly to those in their 20s or 30s who may come to the book with backgrounds similar to that of Feiler. I learned quite a bit, particularly in regards to the motivations of Israeli immigrants and Judaistic views on God's interaction with his people during Exodus. And yet that book does not proselytize in any way -- it simply presents the experiences on the journey.

    As to those reviewers who critize Feiler's undertaking of the Biblical journey as unoriginal: "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." - C.S. Lewis, MERE CHRISTIANITY

    I believe that most people will walk away from reading this book glad that they read it, laden with new information and, perhaps, new questions.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Part travelogue, part history book, part pilgrimage
    This book really should have been called "Walking the Torah," since it covers the Five Books of Moses and is written from a primarily Jewish perspective. I suppose the marketing people felt that "Bible" would have a wider sales appeal or something. Be that as it may, the most interesting thing about this book was the profound change in attitude that the journey brought to the writer himself. No, he didn't "get religion" and run off become an Orthodox Jew. However, he did gain a new appreciation for the Bible stories themselves, as well as the various people and places that the Bible describes.

    By his own admission, Bruce Feiler was a secular/Reform Jew who started out simply wanting to connect to the physical places mentioned in the Torah, i.e., to literally walk where his ancestors had walked. At first, Feiler thought of the Bible as a sort of Baedekers travel guide. He spent most of his preparation time reading history, geography, and archaeology. Once he got on the road, however, he soon discovered that the Bible is also "in the people" (his words). Whether they are true believers of many faiths or secularists who see the Bible as literature, the people who actually live in these biblical locations have a deep, almost mystical connection to the land itself -- a bond which goes beyond merely occupying a particular piece of real estate. Feiler grew to have this inner experience, too. As he himself explains, somewhere along the line he stopped thinking of The Book as a travel guide, and started seeing it as The Bible.

    Feiler's prose style is both creative and highly readable. While some have criticized his incessant junk food metaphors (chocolate mountains, cinnamon hills -- he was getting hungry maybe?), I found them rather amusing. On the one hand, here he is, talking about places mentioned in a Holy Book that is sacred to millions of people. On the other hand, he doesn't pontificate, nor does he idealize. He duly notes the the rampant commercialism at holy sites and, with a wry sense of humor, he comments on many strange justapositions of traditional and modern life. (The fire extinguisher kept near the "true burning bush" in St. Catherine's monastery on Mt. Sinai had me laughing out loud. Was the burning bush was expected to catch on fire?)

    As with most personal travelogues, there are things in this one that Feiler doesn't get right, even with his famous tour guide, Israeli archaeologist Avner Goren. (Who, by the way, was paid by Feiler to do this project, but so what? Hiring a guide is a time-honored travel practice, and more than one scholar has financed his research with moonlighting.) What I got out of the book was a deeper understanding of how the lay of the land in the Middle East influenced the Bible. This, in turn, opened up many Torah passages in new ways for me.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Walking the Bible
    Bruce Feiler, a nominal Jew, describes his journey to the Holy Land... His stories are fascinating as he and his guide retrace their steps while they explore the world of Old Testament characters and Biblical stories. It tells of Bruce's personal pilgrimage and spiritual awakening.

    5-0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!!
    I just finished reading this book. INCREDIBLE! The author takes two years to walk through the Pentateuch (literally), meets all kind of people in the Middle East, does tremendous research into everything from geography to Bible history to Middle Eastern hospitality traditions, and serves the whole thing up as a delightful story and journey. His guide is a man named Avner who seems to know everyone who has any passion or interest in the Middle East. As he encounters God in the desert you encounter God with him.This was an intellectual and a faith building feast. I can't express how thankful I am for this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Thoughtful Journey to the Holy Land and Beyond
    Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler is an account of the author's journey to many of the famous places of the Bible, from Jerusalem, the Red Sea, Mt. Sinai ,Turkey and beyond. The concept of the book is certainly not original and anyone looking for a true history of the area won't find it here. What the reader will find is thoughtful, insightful , well-written look at a ancient region of undeniable importance to a large portion of the global population. Feiler did not intend his journey to be purely spiritual in nature but it's quite interesting to observe his spiritual renewal and growth during the course of this book. Feiler's observations and commentaries are well-balanced, accurate and fair. Whether you are a Jew, Christian or Muslim or member of another faith, this book has much to offer. ... Read more

    12. Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands (Lonely Planet Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands)
    by Rob Rachowiecki, Danny Palmerlee
    list price: $21.99
    our price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1740594649
    Catlog: Book (2003-08-01)
    Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
    Sales Rank: 9530
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    From rugged Andean mountains and lush Amazonian jungle, to serene Pacific beaches and the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands, Ecuador offers a unique landscape for every traveler's taste.Our essential guide offers everything you'll need to play the wayfaring hero at latitude zero.

    • GO WILD - insider tips on the best trekking, diving, and wildlife-watching
    • BE RESPONSIBLE - detailed coverage of parks and reserves, conservation issues and ecotourism opportunities
    • TRAVEL HAPPY - find the best options for accommodations, places to eat and transportation for every budget
    • SPEAK UP - using our practical Spanish-language guide
    • FIND YOUR WAY - with 57 detailed maps ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pick of the litter
    This book was recommended by a friend who had been to Ecuador, and for good reason. The descriptions are give just enough information without missing the key points. I tried some of the more obscure places that were recommended by the Guide and found all of them to be worth the trip. The comments were pretty good and accurate, so if the authors tell you not to miss something, don't miss it and vice versa.

    The historical notes are accurate. Combine the book with a trip to the US State Department websites to get a good, rounded background.

    I also visited the Galapagos, and the book was too skimpy and rudimentary. The animal pictures are fine but quite incomplete. Don't rely on this guide if you are going to the Islands.

    Overall, a handy book. I read or skimmed a few other books in preparation for my trip and this one was equaly to or better than the rest.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good Choice
    A good choice for a practical guide. Information is current and accurate. Maps are great. Never got lost!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Indispensable
    A true guidebook from our favorite travel publisher, we ended up using this book more for its information about Ecuador and its capital city, Quito, than we did for the information on the islands. While I doubt that anyone actually reads a travel guidebook from front to back, what we do like to do with the Lonely Planet guides is to concentrate on the two text sections called "Facts about the Country" and "Facts for the Visitor." These sections help travelers gain some insight into the place they are about to visit, including cultural clues (for example, it is generally not acceptable to wear shorts in Latin American cities, even if you are on vacation) and suggestions for places to go and things to see.

    Make sure you get the most recent edition of the guidebook if you plan to use the restaurant recommendations.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Helped plan travel at El Cafecito in Quito
    While I was living in Ecuador, I helped plan other people's travel experiences in Ecuador. For maps and information, this is the best book out of all that I have seen with people. The ones with the whole continent do NOT do Ecuador justice. Ecuador can take up to 1 MONTH for the BEST traveling. If you have 4 months...spend 1 in Ecuador and use this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great All Around Source Book for Travel in Ecuador
    If you have used some of the more popular travel guides like Frommers or Fodors, you will be pleasantly surprised by the depth and coverage of Lonely Planet. Lonely Planet guides are marketed for backpackers, but my wife and I spent two weeks traveling throughout Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, and this book served us well. We stayed in Quito in both a hotel and hostel, ate in some of the classiest restaurants and some of the best value restaurants, and traveled to several towns and cities. We had a fantastic time, due in large part to the planning we were able to conduct from this book.

    For example, while on a four-day cruise of the Galapagos, we were able to use the book's Galapagos wildlife section to identify many of the birds and other animals we spotted. With full color photos and short descriptions of each species, we could catalog all of our sightings on the handy checklist provided. Given that my wife is an avid bird watcher, the book did not have the same level of detail as a standard birding guide. However, considering that this is a travel guide, we were glad that we didn't need to carry several books to identify animals, as well as find our way around some of the more obscure places in Ecuador.

    Because of the tips included in the book, we enjoyed many of the nuances of the country. For instance, the author recommended that it was cheaper to rent a taxi for a day to travel to surrounding markets, then to rent a car and drive. Driving risks accidents, getting lost, and incurring costs for fuel and insurance. As a result of the author's suggestion, we split the taxi fee for the day with a couple from Venezuela and traveled to the market in Otavalo, San Antonio de Ibarra (famous for wood carvings), and another small village that sold leather. My wife and I were able to get great quality leather jackets, a woodcarving, and some tapestries as part of a wonderful day of touring the country north of Quito. We would not have had as good of an understanding for what to do and see without this book.

    If traveling to Ecuador or the famous Galapagos Islands, I highly recommend Lonely Planet. The book is specifically geared toward hikers and mountain climbers, but we found it extremely useful due to its depth and richness of ideas. Well worth the money. ... Read more

    13. Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe
    by Laurence Bergreen
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $18.45
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0066211735
    Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
    Publisher: William Morrow & Company
    Sales Rank: 1927
    Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Ferdinand Magellan's daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in Over the Edge of the World, acclaimed author Laurence Bergreen, interweaving a variety of candid, first-person accounts, some previously unavailable in English, brings to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed many long-held views about the world and the way explorers would henceforth navigate its oceans.

    In 1519 Magellan and his fleet set sail from Seville, Spain, to find a water route to the Spice Islands in Indonesia, where the most sought-after commodities -- cloves, pepper, and nutmeg -- flourished. Most important, they were looking for a passageway, a strait, through the great landmass of the Americas that would lead them to these fabled islands. Laurence Bergreen takes readers on board with Magellan and his crew as they explore, navigate, mutiny, suffer, and die across the seas. He also recounts the many unusual sexual practices the crew experienced, from orgies in Brazil to bizarre customs in the South Pacific. With a fleet of five ships and more than two hundred men, they had set out in search of the Spice Islands. Three years later they returned with an abundance of spices from their intended destination, but with just one ship carrying eighteen emaciated men. They suffered starvation, disease, and torture, and many died, including Magellan, who was violently killed in a fierce battle.

    A man of great tenacity, cunning, and courage, Magellan was full of contradictions. He was both heroic and foolish, insightful yet blind, a visionary whose instincts outran his ideals. Ambitious to a fault and not above using torture and murder to maintain control of his ships and sailors, he survived innumerable natural hazards in addition to several violent mutinies aboard his own fleet -- and it took no less than the massed forces of fifteen hundred men to kill him.

    This is the first time in nearly half a century that anyone has attempted to narrate the complete story of Magellan's unprecedented circumnavigation of the globe -- to tell this truly gripping and profoundly important story of heroism, discovery, and disaster. A voyage into history, a tour of the world emerging from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance, an anthropological account of tribes, languages, and customs unknown to Europeans, and a chronicle of a desperate grab for commercial and political power, Over the Edge of the World is a captivating tale that rivals the most exciting thriller fiction.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (31)

    4-0 out of 5 stars detailed, vivid, interestingly digressive
    Mention Magellan and most will tell you he's that guy that sailed around the world. There their knowledge ends, or such as it is, since as Bergreen reminds us in wonderful detail, it was some of Magellan's crew that actually sailed around the world while the majority of it, along with Magellan himself, actually only survived part of the trip.
    Packed with historical detail supplemented by first person accounts and side stories that some will find of equal or surpassing interest and others might find too digressive, Bergreen gives us a satisfyingly full look at the man and the journey.
    The focus for the first three-quarters of the book is of course on Magellan. His early life history is quickly covered, enough to inform us of his abilities and motivations without bogging the reader down in unnecessary detail or too much psychohistory ("rejected by his father at age six, young Magellan turned to the sea to prove . . . "). The details start to come in Magellan's early attempts to convince his native Portugal to sponsor a journey to the Spice Islands and accumulate even more fully once he takes his leave for Spain and the planning for the trip begins in earnest.
    The trip itself is covered in sharp and vivid detail--the political in-fighting, the mutual antagonisms of class and country aboard ship, multiple mutiny attempts, successful and not-so-succesful contacts with natives, and of course the nautical travails themselves--deathly storms,a myriad of navigational obstacles and pursuing Portugese. Not to mention the fact that the entire trip was based on an idea that the world was much, much smaller than it in fact turned out to be.
    Most of the trip is seen through the lens of Magellan, and while a clear fan of Magellan, Bergreen is also unafraid to criticize his many errors with regard to ship policy, to politics, to contact with the natives. Magellan comes across as a complex all-too human figure rather than an icon or simple villain. Brilliant at times and amazingly stupid at others, he never fails to hold our attention. Other important figures in the crew are offered similar respect with regard to the fullness of their portrayals.
    Beside the journey's details, the reader is treated to digressions into royal relationships, international maneuvering, the importance of spices to sixteenth century economies, the running battle for economic and nautical supremacy between Spain and Portugal, and maybe most fascinating of all, a brief history of the Chinese Treasure Fleet. While some might think Bergreen goes into too much detail here, other might wish for more. I personally fell somewhere in between, able to live with less on the royal personages and wanting more on the spice trade itself (those who feel the same way could do worse than turn to Nathaniel's Nutmeg for more on the topic)as well as on the Treasure Fleet.
    I thought at times Bergreen could have left the "European" perspective a bit more, giving us a more full glimpse at the journey from the other end of the spectrum. I also could have done with more frequent use of maps throughout the book to have a more immediate and visual sense of Magellan's progress (or lack thereof). While I felt the lack of both several times, these flaws were relatively minor and only detracted somewhat from the work as a whole. Money, lust, greed, politics, mutiny, pride, betrayal, tragic accidents, man versus nature, battles, shipwrecks, castaways, man versus man, heroism and cowardice, man versus himself. The book has it all, with the added luxury of being true. Well-recommended history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great account of one of the legendary journeys
    Laurence Bergreen provides a deep look at Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan's sixteenth century quest that led to the first known navigation of the world. This journey is a pivotal point in how Europeans viewed the world as people realized that not only will one not fall off the globe, but that Europe is not the epicenter of the orb. Mr. Bergreen followed the ill-fated journey through what is now the Straits of Magellan at the tip of South America and uses satellite images to further enhance the trek. Of interest to historical buffs is the daily journal that encompasses known research from around the globe. This includes sailor Albo's log and the comments of scholar sailor Pigafetta. The author debunks several modern day myths such as Magellan's mission was not go around the world, but to find a water route to the Spice Islands; and that the voyage was not glorious but brutal and filled with tragedy and misfortunes including the Captain having died in the Philippines. Magellan never made it. The trek took three years with only one ship with eighteen survivors making it back to Spain.

    This is a great account of one of the legendary journeys of history. Supplemented by maps, inserts, and first hand accounts, readers join on the harrowing trek that proved once and for all that the world is round. No one will feel over the edge with this great look at the "Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe" by Magellan and his crew.

    Harriet Klausner

    5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
    Extraordinary! A great read. It has found a special place in my 'special' books place on the bookshelf!

    4-0 out of 5 stars very entertaining
    At one point in Laurence Bergreen's narrative he points out that the maps Magellan's armada relied on had long since become useless. This pretty much sums up the courage, adventure, and excitement encountered in this beautifully written book. Magellan pitched his idea to seek a water route to the spice islands by sailing west until he reached the east to two kings. After his own sovereign, the king of Portugal, refused him, Magellan boldy defected and secured the support of the king of Spain. Bergreen does a great job of putting the voyage into historical context, without overindulging in tangential details. This is the rare history book which educates and entertains.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Journey and an Excellent Book!
    I rarely give books a 5 star rating, but this one certainly deserves it. The book gives full account of Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe, in all its horrifying and glorious details. While it is clear that the writer is a staunch Magellan admirer, he does not hesitate to criticize Magellan's style of leadership, the Captain's over-inflated ego or the needless risks he took (one of which ultimately resulted in his death).

    Reading this book, I found myself transported into 16th century Europe, an era full of intrigue, magic and of casual disregard for human life. The book was absolutely captivating and I was not able to put it down. From my perspective, the most interesting thing about the story is that while today Magellan is recognized as a hero and as one of the most important explorers of all time, in his day Magellan received no recognition and was the target of suspicion and hatred.

    For the most part, Bergreen's writing style is fluid and easy to read, however at times it is a bit too flowery for my taste. The book also suffers from a shortage of illustrations and maps which could have been instructive. For example, an illustration of Magellan's ships, the weapons and armor of the era and current pictures of some of the main locations involved, would all have been nice. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book for any fan of popular history books. ... Read more

    14. Maui Trailblazer: Where to Hike, Snorkel, Paddle, Surf, Drive
    by Jerry Sprout, Janine Sprout
    list price: $15.95
    our price: $13.56
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0967007240
    Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
    Publisher: Diamond Valley Company
    Sales Rank: 15300
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    With outdoor activities for everyone at every level, Maui Trailblazer is all you need to explore the best of the island. Discover the best spots for hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, and biking, plus tranquil places for birdwatching, relaxing, and swimming. You'll find activities for families, day excursions to Lanai, Molokai, and Molokini islands, historical legends and archaeological sites. Handpicked accommodations, campgrounds, and restaurants for all budgets keep you comfortable and well-fed. A "Best Of" section, recreational outfitters, and practical transportation and safety tips allow you to pull off a flawless trip.

    137 hikes and strolls: tropical rain forests and remote valleys, coastal bluffs and lava tubes, Haleakala crater and the Hana Highway, cascading waterfalls, pools, beaches.

    44 snorkeling beaches and reefs, including hike-to-coves and the secret places tour boats go.

    16 spots to kayak or canoe the coast

    38 beaches for surfers, including board, body and boogie, plus the windsurfing and kite-boarding hot spots

    10 maps and more than 200 photographs

    9 driving tours with directions to cultural sites

    A Resource Links section covering a travelers every need with addresses, weblinks and phone numbers for outfitters, rental and tour companies, visitor info offices, public agencies, ferries, stables, galleries, shops and museums.

    Appendices include free hula shows, luaus, farmer's markets, what to pack, climate, history and fauna, budget friendly B&B's, rustic cabins, mid-priced condos to luxury hotels. ... Read more

    Reviews (22)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Maui's Best
    Our short Hawaiian vacation consisted of 3 days of business meetings on Oahu and three playing on Maui. The two islands contrasted greatly. Thankfully, this book offered us an entire new perspective of island life and guided us to some wild stretches of beach that were definitely off the beaten path. Loaded with photos so we knew what to expect and great maps that quickly got us to snorkeling areas where the water was clean and clear. We recommend this book, it deserves five stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars strongly recommend
    Expertly organized, expertly written with enough detail to keep you going for months. I like every book in the series. The one for Maui is particularly good as it explores many of the little known areas not listed in any of the standard guidebooks. It made touring around alot of fun and the practical advice it offered like knowing the rules of the road and getting to Hana in one piece made all the difference. Read it on the plane and you'll get off knowing exactly where to head. Here's a hint: Big Beach. You'll be in the swing like a local. Paradise found!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hanging out and recharging on Maui's beaches
    I just returned from a solo trip to Maui. I used Maui Trailblazer guide exclusively to plan my agenda prior to my arrival. My friends had told me this was the sunny island where the best beaches were and I started on my quest the afternoon I arrived - my condo host supplied the boogieboard. First day, all day spent on Baldwin Beach transitioning to a slower pace.<br /> <br /> Expect to find good freebie tips and directions to beautiful snorkel coves and island dayhike hops. It has a nice mix of opinion, humor, and solid to-do, to-see ideas. Hemingway would have loved this place.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Our Island
    I'm in the tourism service industry and have lived on Maui most of my life. When visitors ask me which book I'd choose to tour the island, I tell them this one. It's unbiased, activity heavy and contains safety advice that keeps people out of trouble.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Do It Yourself Guide
    With all the diverse interests of our family, Maui Trailblazer suited us well. The trail instructions were easy to follow and gave us plenty of options. It introduced us to Molokai where we stayed for two nights. The beaches were surprisingly empty there. I recommend it to anyone who likes to day hike. ... Read more

    15. Sedona Hikes: 130 Day Hikes and 5 Vortex Sites around Sedona, Arizona, Revised Eighth Edition
    by Richard K. Mangum, Sherry G. Mangum, Richard K Mangum, Sherry G Mangum
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $16.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1891517074
    Catlog: Book (2004-04)
    Publisher: Hexagon Pr
    Sales Rank: 56170
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    The best Sedona hiking guide! The 130 hikes in this edition have been totally revamped and now include a beautiful photograph for each hike. First released in 1992, the authors have worked constantly to keep this guide updated and current through this latest edition.

    The very use-friendly format features each hike shown on facing pages with complete directions to the trailhead, description of the hike, photograph and map. Also included is an elevation change graph, season-to-hike chart, difficulty and mileage graph and a how-crowded icon. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sedona Hikes is the VERY BEST!
    If you can buy only one book about Sedona area hikes, buy this one. Don't give it a second thought. Yes, there are other books but this one is the very best, bar none. That's all that matters. Get your money's worth. Think about this, the authors published their first books in 1992 after researching the hikes for SEVEN YEARS! Then they proceed to put out five MORE revised editions since then. That means they have published six editions in 9 years!! All of that updated knowledge is contained in the 6th edition. Having this book is like having your own personal hiking guide. You get over 250 pages for a mere [amt]!. Their descriptions are the most up-to-date and the best researched. The writing and photography come from a genuine lifelong love for the place, not a desire to make money from a hiking book. We bought their first edition in 1992 and carry it right alongside our 6th edition. We wouldn't leave home for a hike in that area without the 6th edition. It's the Bible, as far as we are concerned. Good luck and happy hiking!

    5-0 out of 5 stars What More Could One Ask For?
    Accurate, informative, easy to use, clear, concise and loaded with hikes -- what else could a person ask for from a hiking guidebook? My wife an I bought this book from for a short stay we had in Sedona this spring. Not only did this book help us maximize our time there by making recommendations and providing explicit maps and distances for every hike, but it gave us a lot of useful information about the history and geology of the area. Even though we only had the chance to make a handful of hikes, we feel we got the most out of them, and a lot of that had to do with this book. We look forward to going back to Sedona and taking the book with us and recommend it for anyone else who plans to visit, too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sedona's best trail guide book!
    "Sedona Hikes" is an excellent guide for the stunning red rock country. Everything about this book is quality. Boasting 135 hikes this is money well spent. Now in it's fifth edition the book has really come together. As an avid hiker I can say this book hits on several areas in gleaming fashion. Directions to the trailheads are precise and easy to follow. The size of the book is appropriate to carry in a water backpack. Trails covering the entire area are included. At first I thought the vague trail maps could be better. After further consideration I realized the trail descriptions are so good you really don't need a map. Important trail information is included such as distance, effort and features. Time needed to hike the trail helps plan your day. I would categorize the authors as light day hikers. Most just visiting the area would fall into this category so the book is a real hit. If you plan on a longer hike, on some of the trails, you will need to go elsewhere for the information. I've used and carried this book on countless hikes. Since the last printing the Red Rock fee has come into effect on several trails. I'm sure this will be included in the sixth edition. - joe bartels Webmaster of HikeArizona.COM & TrailDEX

    5-0 out of 5 stars new history
    richard and sherry please email me at i think you will be happy that you did. i'm a lost lost friend (remember me as rudy chavez justice court) i have tried to find both of you for awhile,. history is what you will receive with no record of it! i tried to give the books to everyone thru my attorney but whopps! no one would take it. this is just what might help start a new historical quest for knowledge.. please contact me. thanks

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great description of day hikes in the Sedona Area
    This is a wonderful book describing many day hikes in the Sedona AZ area. A number of people in the area said this was the best book for hiking. We really enjoyed the hiking and this book helped us find the best places to go (and what to expect when we got there.) ... Read more

    16. Robert Young Pelton's The World's Most Dangerous Places : 5th Edition (Robert YoungPelton the World's Most Dangerous Places)
    by Robert Young Pelton
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $15.61
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060011602
    Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
    Publisher: HarperResource
    Sales Rank: 16099
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    The long-awaited fifth edition of Robert Young Pelton's The World's Most Dangerous Places comes fresh from the danger zones. An underground classic among the CIA, mujahadeen, special forces, NGOs, and savvy adventurers, DP has now become the de facto standard in understanding the groups, the players, the places, and tensions that fuel conflicts around the world. Pelton and his contributors tell it like it is in a brutally honest and personal style that delivers crisp, insightful, and useful information. DP5 gives the scoop when the media and guidebooks -- and even governments -- won't dare. The ground truth and hard-won experience inside DP5 will open your eyes and may save your life.

    In addition to the exclusive first-person reports, DP5 also includes thousands of hard-to-find contacts, Web sites, e-mails, survival tips, travel ideas, adventures, and even safety schools for war journalists. No walls, no barriers, no bull. The most dangerous countries from five stars (Hell on Earth) to one star (dangerous rep).

    ... Read more

    Reviews (89)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Real World In Your Face--What CIA & Media Don't Report

    I've heard Robert Young Pelton speak, and he is, if anything, even more thoughtful and provocative in person. He has written an extraordinary book that ordinary people will take to be a sensationalist travel guide, while real experts scrutinize every page for the hard truths about the real world that neither the CIA nor the media report.

    Unlike clandestine case officers and normal foreign service officers, all of them confined to capital cities and/or relying on third party reporting, Robert Young Pelton actually goes to the scene of the fighting, the scene of the butchery, the scene of the grand thefts, and unlike all these so-called authoritative sources, he actually has had eyeballs on the targets and boots in the mud.

    I have learned two important lessons from this book, and from its author Robert Young Pelton:

    First, trust no source that has not actually been there. He is not the first to point out that most journalists are "hotel warriors", but his veracity, courage, and insights provide compelling evidence of what journalism could be if it were done properly. Government sources are even worse--it was not until I heard him speak candidly about certain situations that I realized that most of our Embassy reporting--both secret and open--is largely worthless because it is third hand, not direct.

    Second, I have learned from this book and the author that sometimes the most important reason for visiting a war zone is to learn about what is NOT happening. His accounts of Chechnya, and his personal first-hand testimony that the Russians were terrorizing their Muslims in the *absence* of any uprising or provocation, are very disturbing. His books offers other accounts of internal terrorism that are being officially ignored by the U.S. Government, and I am most impressed by the value of his work as an alternative source of "national intelligence" and "ground truth".

    There are a number of very important works now available to the public on the major threats to any country's national security, and most of them are as unconventional as this one--Laurie Garrett on public health, Marq de Villiers on Water, Joe Thorton on chlorine-based industry and the environment--and some, like Robert D. Kaplan's books on his personal travels, are moving and inspiring reflections on reality as few in the Western world could understand it--but Robert Young Pelton is in my own mind the most structured, the most competent, the most truthful, and hence the most valuable reporter of fact on the world's most dangerous places.

    What most readers may not realize until they read this book is that one does not have to travel to these places to be threatened by them--what is happening there today, and what the U.S. government does or does not do about developments in these places, today, will haunt this generation and many generations to follow. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who cares to contemplate the real world right now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 5th Edition Even Better--Valuable to Business and Government

    I've heard Robert Young Pelton speak, and he is, if anything, even more thoughtful and provocative in person. He has written an extraordinary book that ordinary people will take to be a sensationalist travel guide, while real experts scrutinize every page for the hard truths about the real world that neither the CIA nor the media report. The 5th Edition is even better than the earlier version that I distributed to all the professional intelligence officers attending the annual Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) conference, so I am going to distribute the new improved version.

    Unlike clandestine case officers and normal foreign service officers, all of them confined to capital cities and/or relying on third party reporting, Robert Young Pelton actually goes to the scene of the fighting, the scene of the butchery, the scene of the grand thefts, and unlike all these so-called authoritative sources, he actually has had eyeballs on the targets and boots in the mud.

    I have learned two important lessons from this book, and from its author Robert Young Pelton:

    First, trust no source that has not actually been there. He is not the first to point out that most journalists are "hotel warriors", but his veracity, courage, and insights provide compelling evidence of what journalism could be if it were done properly. Government sources are even worse--it was not until I heard him speak candidly about certain situations that I realized that most of our Embassy reporting--both secret and open--is largely worthless because it is third hand, not direct.

    Second, I have learned from this book and the author that sometimes the most important reason for visiting a war zone is to learn about what is NOT happening. His accounts of Chechnya, and his personal first-hand testimony that the Russians were terrorizing their Muslims in the *absence* of any uprising or provocation, are very disturbing. His books offers other accounts of internal terrorism that are being officially ignored by the U.S. Government, and I am most impressed by the value of his work as an alternative source of "national intelligence" and "ground truth".

    There are a number of very important works now available to the public on the major threats to any country's national security, and most of them are as unconventional as this one--Laurie Garrett on public health, Marq de Villiers on Water, Joe Thorton on chlorine-based industry and the environment--and some, like Robert D. Kaplan's books on his personal travels, are moving and inspiring reflections on reality as few in the Western world could understand it--but Robert Young Pelton is in my own mind the most structured, the most competent, the most truthful, and hence the most valuable reporter of fact on the world's most dangerous places.

    What most readers may not realize until they read this book is that one does not have to travel to these places to be threatened by them--what is happening there today, and what the U.S. government does or does not do about developments in these places, today, will haunt this generation and many generations to follow. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who cares to contemplate the real world right now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
    Just about the only book I know of that tells you what is REALLY going on. My favs were the U.S. presidential election and all of israel. "So blowing up buses with a suicide vest is terrorism, but shooting civilians with helicopters is not... get the picture?" I loved it. And as to the small print guy. GET A LIFE. You honestly can't find something better to do than to diss books because of the size of their print?

    1-0 out of 5 stars The font is too small...
    I like his books, and his forums. But the font size is too small. Not everyone can read such small print. I think everyone should agree with me on that one.
    I'm hoping everyone will join my action group F.L.U.F.F.E.R.
    (For Larger User Friendly Fonts Everyone Reads)
    And Mr. Pelton is not Indiana Jones, as I've had to tell my son, but a foul-mouthed, ill-tempered, crotchety, Canadian curmudgeon.
    I would recommend anything with his name on it to be used only for people in the R-17 range.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Some interesting details, too much ranting
    RYP, who admittedly is an interesting traveler/journalist, unfortunately mistakes his stamp-laden passport as sufficient qualification to fill 1000+ pages with rants. The first 200 or so pages have brief, interesting chapters on topics like dangerous jobs, diseases, bribes, kidnapping, and other hazards faced by people eager to enter rough locales. The remainder of the book is made up of 15-40 page summaries of about 30 countries, including recent history, political climate, demographics, local dangers, and sources of health care. There are useful tidbits here, but you have to grit your teeth through the long, sarcastic tirades about every political figure and government mentioned. Most if not all of them deserve a hefty amount of criticism (after all, they comprise the leadership of the most dangerous places), but very quickly his writing goes from witty to annoying. Buy an inexpensive used copy, flip through it, then give it to a friend. ... Read more

    17. Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival
    by Joe Simpson
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $10.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060730552
    Catlog: Book (2004-01)
    Publisher: Perennial Currents
    Sales Rank: 441
    Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death.

    The next three days were an impossibly grueling ordeal for both men. Yates, certain that Simpson was dead, returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him. Miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall, but crippled, starving, and severely frostbitten was trapped in a deep crevasse. Summoning vast reserves of physical and spiritual strength, Simpson crawled over the cliffs and canyons of the Andes, reaching base camp hours before Yates had planned to leave.

    How both men overcame the torments of those harrowing days is an epic tale of fear, suffering, and survival, and a poignant testament to unshakable courage and friendship.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (109)

    An amazing tale of courage, fortitude, and a desire to live, despite dire circumstances. The author, Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, ascend a perilous section of the Peruvian Andes. Near the summit, tragedy strikes when Joe, up over 19,000 feet, falls and hits a slope at the base of a cliff, breaking his right leg, rupturing his right knee, and shattering his right heel. Beneath him is a seemingly endless fall to the bottom. Simon reaches him but knows that the chances for Joe to get off the mountain are virtually non-existent. Yet, they fashion a daring plan to to do just that.

    For the next few hours, through a snow storm, they work in tandem, and manage a risky, yet effective way of trying to lower Joe down the mountain. About three thousand feet down, Joe who is still roped to Simon, drops off an edge, and finds himself now free hanging in space six feet away from an ice wall, unable to reach it with his axe. The edge is over hung about fifteen feet above him. The dark outline of a crevasse lies about a hundred feet directly below him.

    Joe couln't get up, and Simon couldn't get down. In fact, Joe's weight began to pull Simon off the mountain. So, Simon was finally forced to do the only thing he could do under the circumstances. He cut the rope, believing that he was consigning his friend to certain death. Therein lies the tale.

    What happens next is sure to make one believe in miracles.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Riveting
    Joe Simpson's narrative of his infamous climb in the Peruvian Andes is a fantastic story. If you've read other accounts of harrowing climbs you understand people that climb the great peaks of the world have a different psyche than the rest of us. Simpson is no exception, and it is that very drive that takes him to the top that enables him to survive the unthinkable. But this book is more than just a climb up, a crawl down, whew he's going to live to see another day. It explores some deeper parts of the human experience such as friendship, devotion, suffering, inner strength, and fear. His description of the terrain and the climb make you wonder why on earth anybody would do what he's doing. You almost suffer the cold, wind, and frostbite and you can feel the ice slipping beneath your feet. Knowing disaster looms makes you cringe while reading. Although you know he will survive, that takes nothing away from the experience the second half of the book provides. He pulls you in and you crawl down that icy mountain alongside him, feeling the cold, pain, and sadness along the way. Included are passages written by Simon Yates, his climbing partner. Allowing us to experience his point of view adds depth to the story.
    Simpson wrote this book to exonerate Yates, who was ostracized in the British climbing community for his actions during the climb. Simpson vehemently disagreed with anyone who believed Yates did anything short of saving his life. His initial goal was to record the truth, but he discovered he has a gift for writing, and for this we can be grateful. A compelling story, highly recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Bit Hard To Read, But Fascinating Nonetheless
    It's hard to believe that Touching The Void is a true story. The level of physical exertion that is depicted in the book seems beyond anything a human could produce. But, the searing emotions that accompany that exertion are described so movingly that a reader has no choice but to accept that this story is painfully true.

    The only drawback to this fascinating tale is the mountaineering minutia littering the text. I realize that this information was presented to provide some context to the difficulty of the climb and the descent. However, instead of informing me, this information actually bored me with its technicality. It also added a clumsy quality to the writing that ended up disrupting the flow of the story.

    Like The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev, Simpson makes up for his sometimes clumsy writing style by dramatically portraying the emotions he felt during this ordeal. As a result, Simpson's story is a testament to the power of ingenuity and faith. After reading Touching The Void, it will be impossible not to have a greater appreciation for the inherent strength of the human character.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wow. Incredible
    This is a book that gets you thinking. 1. Would I even try climbing an expert level mountain? 2. Would I cut a lifeline sending my partner to certain death if I knew not cutting would kill us both? 3. Would I have the will to endure crushing pain and desperation when it all could be ended easily by just giving up?

    I think the third question was easiest for me. The will to live is just too great in most of us to give up. However, as we read of Joe Simpson's incredible climb out of an icy hell -- on a severely broken leg, each step one of excruciating pain, we can understand when he asks himself the same question.

    On the first, no. I get all the tough mountain climbing thrills I need vicariously through Jon Krakauer's books or one's like this. I understand that some are driven to assault the globe's most difficult peaks, but I just don't see the point. Almost all of the wonderful mountaineering books of the last decade involve death and mayhem among people who knowingly chose to place themselves in positions where those outcomes were a high probability.

    The second question is the most difficult and the one the reader will ask himself over and over during this very well written book.

    Joe Simpson and Simon Yates climbed a forbidding peak in South America alone, with their only support a neophyte camped a few miles from the starting point in a camp itself a day's mule ride away from civilization. The climb up went well enough, but on the way down the snow encrusted and storm tossed mount, Simpson broke his leg horribly in a fall. Improvising a plan for Yates to lower Simpson down a crevice riddled glacier one painful rope length at a time, the pair started their self-rescue at night. The first few hours went painfully slow, then Simpson reeled over a cliff into nothingness. Unable to see what had befallen Simpson, Yates hung on above -- the rope slowly but surely pulling Yates himself toward the abyss. Knowing (in both their minds at that time according to the book) that to hold on would kill them both, Yates made the supremely difficult decision to cut the rope -- condemning Simpson to a long fall and probable death -- to save himself.

    The next morning after climbing down, Yates could only see a snow covered crevice which he assumed his friend had plummeted into from high above. Unknown to Yates, Simpson had miraculously landed on a snow ledge below the lip of the crevice -- mangled leg and all. The weak ice roof of the crevice had slowed his fall enough to permit survival. Yates went off to camp heavy with the knowledge he had killed his friend and sure the world would neither understand nor forgive.

    Simpson, meanwhile, endured a 48 hour plus ordeal to drag his wrecked body 50 or so feet out of the crevice and then over miles over rough ground to camp. As you might imagine, the reuniting of Simpson and Yates was quite a scene.

    This book is taught and well written. Although Simpson's book, Yates is given space to describe in his own words the story from his perspective from the point he thought his fateful decision had separated their paths.

    This is a great survival story and leaves the reader asking: "Would I, could I, have cut the rope?"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable!
    Once I started this book I could not put it down. The story is fascinating, and the writing is very intelligent and intense. The details of the climb and descent are gripping. After what he went through, it's amazing he still chooses to go climbing. Highly recommended! ... Read more

    18. Snorkel Kauai : Guide to the Underwater World of Hawaii
    by Judy Malinowski, Mel Malinowski
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $12.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0964668041
    Catlog: Book (2001-02-08)
    Publisher: Indigo Publications
    Sales Rank: 29656
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Snorkel Kauai is the one and only guidebook exclusively devoted to snorkeling on Kauai. No other guide comes close to the level of snorkeling detail provided here. Take "Snorkel Kauai", along with a good general guidebook of your choice, and you'll have all the details you need for a great vacation!

    From a colorful cover to 41 accurate maps and details on 69 snorkeling sites, SK draws you into the fascinating underwater world that shouldn't be missed by anyone touring Kauai.

    As Dave Barry says: "When you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you've been missing the whole point of the ocean--it's like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent."

    An award-winning book designer contributed a sophisticated, yet readable style to the cover and interior. The colorful cover features a beautiful watercolor rendition of the saddleback butterflyfish, painted especially for us by a talented Hawai'ian artist, Camille Young. Dave Barry provides funny and insightful commentary.

    Snorkel Kauai is the third in a series of guidebooks that provide more detailed snorkeling information than ever before available for each of the Hawaiian islands in an attractive, easy to carry package. "Snorkel Hawaii: The Big Island", also available from, provides the same detailed coverage of Hawaii's biggest island. "Snorkel Maui and Lanai" is the second edition of this popular guide, revised and enlarged this year. Our website,, provides detailed updates and more. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The definitive snorkel guide for Kaua'i
    Boy, I wish I had had this guide at the beginning of our recent trip to Kaua'i. It's terrific! We've snorkeled in many of the places described - Ke'e, Tunnels, 'Anini, Po'ipu, Pu'u Poa, Hideaways - and the information jives with what we experienced. However, with this guide in hand we'd have known not just which places to go (other guidebooks steered us there), but more detailed information about the reef formation, currents, and safety aspects of each spot. For instance, I spent most of my time at Ke'e fighting the current on the left side of the bay, when all along the best conditions are to the right.

    In addition to on-the-nose snorkel information, the authors do a very good job of advising novice snorkelers on equipment, techniques, and safety concerns. There are helpful sections on general fish types (not an exhaustive guide, but enough to help a beginner distinguish a wrasse from a parrotfish), plus plenty of pertinent information on the island, its weather, and interesting excursions out of the water. Although we've been to the island twice now, I learned some useful things for our next (anxiously awaited) trip.

    This is the book I'd recommend first to anyone interested in snorkeling on Kaua'i. There are other fine general guidebooks out there, don't get me wrong, but this is exactly what it says it is: SNORKEL Kaua'i.

    Mahalo, Judy and Mel!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Choice
    Of all the Kauai guidebooks we've read, this has the best snorkeling details by far. We went to Hoai Bay in Poipu, and it didn't look that promising. But when we swam out to just where the book says, there were more turtles than we'd ever seen before in one spot.

    All the beach info is helpful, too, and the maps are easy to follow. Well worth taking along. ... Read more

    19. Backcountry Adventures Southern California: The Ultimate Guide to the Backcountry for Anyone With a Sport Utility Vehicle (Backcountry Adventures)
    by Peter Massey, Jeanne Wilson
    list price: $34.95
    our price: $29.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1930193041
    Catlog: Book (2002-06)
    Publisher: Swagman Publishing
    Sales Rank: 49665
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Backcountry Adventures: Southern California provides 2,970 miles of routes that travel through the beautiful mountain regions of Big Sur, across the arid Mojave Desert, and straight into the heart of the aptly named Death Valley. In addition to the enormously detailed trail information, there are hundreds of photos of frontier towns, historic mining camps, old railroad routes, wildflowers, and native animals. Trail history comes alive through the accounts of Spanish missionaries who first settled the coastal regions; eager prospectors looking to cash in during California's gold rush; and legends of lost mines still hidden in the state's expansive backcountry.

    The book appeals to virtually everyone who loves the outdoors: campers, anglers, hikers, mountain bikers, snowmobilers, amateur prospectors, sightseers, GPS owners, wildlife seekers, and more!

    CONTAINS 153 TRAILS, 640 PAGES, 645 PHOTOS (85 historic black & white and 560 color), AND 159 FULL-COLOR MAPS!
    SIZE: 8 1/2" x 10 7/8" ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
    The best book for beginners. Gives ratings and some pictures for all the trails, so you know what to expect. Probably not a whole lot for more advanced off-roaders, but then they probably won't be reading this book anyway. I recommend this book for anybody with an SUV who wants to use it off-highway. The only downside of this book is the detail maps of the trails. For some reason, they couldn't agree on which way to point North(usually north is up in all other maps) so sometimes you have to turn the book sideways to the right or left to get your bearings. Also, not much detail on the maps themselves, so sometimes you really dont' know where you are in relation to the surrounding area. But they give plenty of detail in the driving directions, so you almost don't need the map. Best book I've ever bought, anyone who likes to adventure outdoors should buy this. You don't even need an SUV on the easier trails.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The quintessential So Cal book for dirt road exploring.
    First thing that hits you is the heft of this book. It is large and heavy, but that just tantalizes you of what lies beyond the cover. It is full of so much information about southern California's backcountry you could spend hours and hours reading. But this book is to be used as a guide for exploring. And guide you it does. The maps, descriptions and details are excellent for each trail. The history section is great and my family and I even used this book to identify plants from its full color photos on our last outing. For anyone wanting to explore dirt trails in So Cal, from mild ones not really needing 4 wheel drive to more difficult ones, this book is for you. Rock crawlers need not apply, but for the other 99% of us with 4x SUV's this book is perfect!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate guide to the backcountry
    The latest volume in Swagman Publishing's impressive "Backcountry Adventures" series, Peter Massey and Jeanne Wilson's Southern California truly lives up to its subtitle description as being the ultimate guide to the backcountry for anyone with a sport utility vehicle. Detailed information and directions are provided for over 2,970 miles of SUV trails throughout southern California's backcountry, along with relevant instruction on how to enjoy off road experiences with minimal environmental impact travel. Step-by-step route directions for 153 scenic drives (rated from easy to challenging), range from the mountain regions of Big Sur through the Mojave Desert, and Death Valley. Profusely illustrated with hundreds of photos of frontier towns, historic mining operations, old railroad routes, windflowers, and native animals, Southern California also offers engaging accounts of Spanish missionaries, eager prospectors, and more. An ideal trip planning resource, Southern California is also highly recommended for campers, anglers, hikers, mountain bikers, snowmobilers, wildlife enthusiasts, amateur prospectors, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. ... Read more

    20. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
    by Laurence Gonzales
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393326152
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-30)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 4998
    Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    "Unique among survival books...stunning...enthralling. Deep Survival makes compelling, and chilling, reading."—Penelope Purdy, Denver Post

    After her plane crashes, a seventeen-year-old girl spends eleven days walking through the Peruvian jungle. Against all odds, with no food, shelter, or equipment, she gets out. A better-equipped group of adult survivors of the same crash sits down and dies. What makes the difference?

    Examining such stories of miraculous endurance and tragic death—how people get into trouble and how they get out again (or not)—Deep Survival takes us from the tops of snowy mountains and the depths of oceans to the workings of the brain that control our behavior. Through close analysis of case studies, Laurence Gonzales describes the "stages of survival" and reveals the essence of a survivor—truths that apply not only to surviving in the wild but also to surviving life-threatening illness, relationships, the death of a loved one, running a business during uncertain times, even war.

    Fascinating for any reader, and absolutely essential for anyone who takes a hike in the woods, this book will change the way we understand ourselves and the great outdoors. ... Read more

    Reviews (23)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Restates The Obvious..
    After reading many glowing reviews of this book by self-proclaimed survival experts and others, I was looking forward to my copy. Unfortunately, I don't think this book brings anything new or astounding to the survival literature genre.

    Many critics have painstakingly noted that Deep Survival does not deal with the mechanics of 'how to' survive, but rather the psychological mindset of how successful survivors dealt with their situation - it's almost as if they believe this element hasn't been dealt with by others (nonsense, of course). Indeed, many people celebrating this book seem to ridicule the idea of actually acquiring survival skills or planning for unforseen situations, as Deep Survival doesn't focus on this aspect. Despite this, some of the book's own survival stories, such as Steve Callahan's lifeboat ordeal, pay testament to the importance of someone who not possessed the correct mental attitude, but ALSO pre-acquired survival knowledge such as knowledge of edible fish and improvised sea navigation AND carried emergency equipment (three solar stills) that proved to be instrumental in his survival.

    In a nutshell, the book takes 300 pages to deliver what should be three very self-evident messages: Don't bite off more than you can chew, know when it's time to quit, and don't be afraid to call for help when you're in trouble. I think most mature people can understand and practice that advice. But if you're the type of person that needs repeated examples of survival stories for this to sink in, then you need this book. Otherwise, forget it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful
    Those who are focusing on whether or not Gonzales is actually instructing you on how to survive in the wild are completely missing the point of Deep Survival. As a totally urban chick who'd rather die than hike, I bought the book not because I wanted to learn about mountaineering, but to investigate why I've survived a blood disorder that has killed others. And thanks to this book, I've gotten my answer. Gonzales beautifully explains and explores the paradox that must be absorbed completely if one is to live through a catastrophe--which is that to survive something, you must surrender to it, basically fall into it, accepting all the pain and suffering, if you're ever going to get out of it. When you're able to quickly adapt to a new reality and make this new place--however frightening--your new home, you've a much better chance of surviving than the person who's in denial. For one thing, your sense of spirituality and wonder deepens, and this is a tremendous life force in and of itself. It helps you enjoy where you ARE, instead of frantically trying to get to where you think you should be. This is simply a great life lesson, whether you're lost in the woods, or just trying to live a happier existence.

    He explains the paradox so well--that in order to survive, one must surrender, yet at the same time not give in. There must be a sheer raw determination to win the game, yet an acceptance of possibly losing it as well, which paradoxically, gives you an edge. And if you can muster a playful spirit on top of it all, well--then you're just golden. A *great* read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Book You Will Ever Read
    As a person who spent 23 years in the military and many days in dangerous environments, I have to say, you must read this book slowly and memorize the lessons. Whether you are a city person or a country person, this book contains information you may need in an instant. This book explains many of the lessons I learned thought the great college of hard knocks. Had I read this book I would have been so much better prepared to face the many of the challenges I have survived. I made many decisions that lead to my survival. This book would have made that easier. Many times I was in for more danger than I understood. This book would have made my life safer. It will make your life safer. The first chapters are difficult. The end is exciting. The whole book is essential both to your knowledge and your library. Buy it here now.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
    I was very excited when I first started reading this book because the concept is so promising. I was expecting story after story of outdoor adventures gone bad along with an analysis of why the people did (or didn't) survive. Whatever this book is, it definitely isn't that.

    I gave up on this book after four chapters, so maybe it gets better later on, but the parts I read were very haphazardly put together. Accounts from real life survival stories are intermixed with the author's philosophy on survival physiology. In addition, the author often makes back references to small facts from earlier scenarios, which is very disrupting to the rhythm of the story.

    I would recommend reading the annual "Accidents in North American Mountaineering" series instead.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Survival skills for the wilderness and life.
    Deep Survival Review

    Last year my family visited the west (Sedona, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Lake Powel). Upon arrival at Bryce I walked from the lodge to the canyon. Despite warning signs and the fact that I had all the information I needed right before my eyes if it had not been for a lady sitting on a bench at the edge of the canyon I warning me I would have walked right off the edge of the canyon and fallen surely to my death. I was about thee inches from the edge when she spoke to me and I 'perceived' that I was about three inches from the edge and the next step would be my last.

    I thought a lot about that experience as I read Deep Survival. The author's discussions about perception of danger and the lack of it leading to deep trouble in the wilderness, on you home street or in business was invaluable. This is a wonderful thought provoking book. It caused me to think back over several trips into the wilderness I have taken and I now view them quite differently. It will also affect future explorations. This book kind of reminds me to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    My recommendation: Get this book. I originally read a library copy but I have ordered my own copy so I can mark it up and highlight important passages. If you love the adventure of life get this book so adventure does not turn into tragedy. ... Read more

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