Front Range Book Club November/December Reading

Book Club leader Jim Moss writes in:

November’s book:  The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible by John
Geiger

One of the issues that keeps popping up in a lot of the books we read is the

third man. So in November, let’s look into it!

From Amazon: “A scientific mystery or divine intervention is how Geiger, the editorial

board editor at the Globe and Mail and author of Frozen in Time, describes

The Third Man Factor, the human knack of facing deprivation and possible

death with an unseen presence pointing the path to survival. He researched

these visitations for six years, chronicling their history in harrowing

life-and-death events with mountaineers, sailors, divers, aviators and polar

explorers. It is to Geiger’s credit that he stresses the very human need to

endure and survive through critical times in the included anecdotes over the

sometimes convoluted scientific jargon, especially the gripping tales of the

last 9/11 survivor Ron DiFrancesco, NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger aboard the

Mir space station and merchant seaman Kenneth Cooke, who paddled in

shark-infested waters. Whether this guardian angel factor is neurological or

divine, Geiger’s fresh, insightful book will tell readers things that are

not easily explainable, but no less real for that.”

December’s book: No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 by Graham Bowley

From Amazon: “In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, journalist Graham Bowley

re-creates one of the most dramatic tales of death and survival in

mountaineering history, vividly taking readers through the tragic 2008 K2

ascent that claimed the lives of eleven climbers, severely injured two

others, and made headlines around the world.

With its near-perfect pyramid shape, the 28,251-foot K2-the world’s

second-highest mountain, some 800 feet shorter than the legendary Everest

hundreds of miles to the south-has lured serious climbers for decades. In

2008, near the end of a brief climbing season cut even shorter by bad

weather, no fewer than ten international teams-some experienced, others less

prepared-crowded the mountain’s dangerous slopes with their Sherpas and

porters, waiting to ascend.

Finally, on August 1, they were able to set off. But hindered by poor

judgment, lack of equipment, and overcrowded conditions, the last group did

not summit until nearly 8 p.m., hours later than planned. Then disaster

struck when a huge ice chunk from above the Bottleneck, a deadly 300-foot

avalanche-prone gulley just below the summit, came loose and destroyed the

fixed guide ropes. More than a dozen climbers and porters still above the

Bottleneck-many without oxygen and some with no headlamps-faced the near

impossibility of descending in the blackness with no guideline and no

protection. Over the course of the chaotic night, some would miraculously

make it back. Others would not.

Based on in-depth interviews with surviving climbers and many Sherpas,

porters, and family and friends of the deceased, No Way Down reveals for the

first time the full dimensions of this harrowing drama.”

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