After the Wind

<a href=”” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img border=”0″ alt=”After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy—One Survivor’s Story” src=”” /></a><a href=””>After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy—One Survivor’s Story</a> by <a href=””>Lou Kasischke</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
I read Jon Krakauer’s <a href=”” title=”Into Thin Air A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer”>Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster</a> with great avidity when it came out in 1998. In an interview, he described how he’d always found some joy and pleasure even in the hardest climbs—the view, the sense of accomplishment, the companionship—but that the Everest climb was only suffering.<br><br>Kasischke’s book is another take on the climb. He was part of Rob Hall’s group, in which Krakauer had been imbedded in order to write an article for <em>Outside</em> magazine. Kasischke doesn’t blame Krakauer for what happened to Hall and his team. He does speculate how having a journalist along could have influenced Hall and his competitor/friend Fischer, who was leading another group at the same time, to make rash decisions for the sake of publicity. It was so important that the two teams reach the summit for the sake of the publicity they’d get that they forgot the highest priority: the safety of the team.<br><br>It’s not revealing any spoilers to say Kasischke made it back—obviously, he wrote the book. I can say that when he writes of the moment of silence “after the wind,” when he hears the “still, small voice” within (a reference to the biblical Elijah in the wilderness) and decides to turn back, a decision that saved his life, it moved me to tears. <br><br>Kasischke has written a great, harrowing, adventure story. On top of that, the physical book is beautiful. E-books will never replace the feeling of the book in my hand and this paperback has a great cover, haunting illustrations and roughly deckled pages. A pleasure to hold.<br><br>I swallowed it in one gulp, and I’d reread it. Inspiring and gripping.
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