The gripping articles in Classic Krakauer, originally published in periodicals such as The New Yorker, Outside, and Smithsonian, display the singular investigative reporting that made Jon Krakauer famous—and show why he is considered a standard-bearer of modern journalism. Spanning an extraordinary range of subjects and locations, these articles take us from a horrifying avalanche on Mt. Everest to a volcano poised to obliterate a big chunk of greater Seattle at any moment; from a wilderness teen-therapy program run by apparent sadists to an otherwordly cave in New Mexico, studied by NASA to better understand Mars; from the notebook of one Fred Beckey, who catalogued the greatest unclimbed mountaineering routes on the planet, to the last days of legendary surfer Mark Foo. Rigorously researched and vividly written, marked by an unerring instinct for storytelling and scoop, the pieces in Classic Krakauer are unified by the author’s ambivalent love affair with unruly landscapes and his relentless search for truth.
Krakauer (Missoula), whose writing has often depicted intrepid endeavors, revisits his early journalistic career and initial forays into his chosen subject with this outstanding collection. Depicting adventures of climbing, surfing, and caving, the essays address why some people are drawn to pursue dangerous feats and to push themselves until something inevitably goes wrong. Krakauer takes the reader along on journeys that are alternately thrilling and terrifying, via direct yet illustrative prose, as when he describes how a daring surfer "carves a tight, elegant arc as the wave curls over and tries to swallow him a roaring, spinning tornado, spewing foam, bearing down fast on the blind side." The most moving pieces are an admiring profile of eccentric American alpinist Fred Beckey, "the original climbing bum" known for bold first ascents, an obsessive need to climb, and a "quirky, enduring magnificence" and a sorrowful, anger-inducing account of how teenager Aaron Bacon perished in a degrading, boot camp style rehab in the Utah wilderness. All of these fascinating stories of bravery, brashness, and hubris succeed in illuminating those who, no matter the consequence, go head-on into the risks of the wild.
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Too bad John doesn’t write anymore.
I guess recycled articles is the best we can expect from this incredible author. I morn the loss of Krakauer’s original writing.
I’ll settle for this and hope for more someday.
Not a book
This is a collection of magazine articles, which in and of itself doesn’t negate it...it’s just that there aren’t enough of the, to qualify as a book. Whisked through this in a couple of nights and was astounded that they considered this enough to sell as a book. Don’t get wrong, JK is an an amazing writer.
I love how this man writes
I bought the book “Into Thin Air,” and was so enthralled with it that I’ve read all his books since then. Never disappointed. This book is excellent, too, and I usually pass on collections of essays.