84 pages 2 hours read

Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1997

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Into Thin Air

  • Genre: Nonfiction; journalistic adventure narrative
  • Originally Published: 1997
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1320L; grades 9-12; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: 16 chapters plus Epilogue; approx. 368 pages; approx. 9 hours on audio
  • Central Concern: On assignment for Outside magazine in 1996, journalist Jon Krakauer joins one of several commercial expeditions to ascend Mt. Everest. He tells the gripping story of the climb, which was fatal for several people, and explores the monetization of the mountain in recent decades.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Extreme risk and death

Jon Krakauer, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1954 in Massachusetts and grew up in Oregon; began mountaineering with his father at age 8 and summited Mt. Rainier at age 10; earned a degree in environmental studies at Hampshire College; worked as a fisherman and a carpenter before turning to writing full-time; has written for Outside, National Geographic Magazine, and Rolling Stone
  • Other Works: Into the Wild (1996); Under the Banner of Heaven (2003); Where Men Win Glory (2009); Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (2015)
  • Awards: Time Magazine’s Best Nonfiction Book of the Year (1997); Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction (finalist; 1998); Academy Award in Literature (1999)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Human Ambition
  • The Commercialization of Everest
  • The Immense Power of Nature and the Frailty of Man