Sunday, April 1, 2018

Classic Krakauer: Mark Foo's Last Ride, After the Fall, and Other Essays from the Vault -- Jon Krakauer --------------------- 4 Stars

So, Classic Krakauer is actually a newly released book though it is a collection of essays he's done over the past 20 years. Nearly all are focused on nature, or some connection to nature, but his classic straightforward and pure writing style is a commonality of each essay.

I must profess that I am a big fan of Jon Karkauer's writing. He has written some great non-fiction books. Among my favorites are: Under the Banner of Heaven, Missoula, Where Men Win Glory, and probably his best, Into Thin Air. It's odd, because I often don't realize how much I like his writing until I finish one of his books and realize just how engaging and well he tells stories; it was no different  with this one.

Classic Krakauer is a collection of about a dozen essays he wrote in various publications over the last few decades (Smithsonian magazine, Outside magazine, etc.). Only about 150 pages, the varying subject matter and classic succinct language, makes this an easy but thoroughly enjoyable read. Many of the essays cover climbing; be it going downwards, into deep New Mexican caves, or more often, going high up, either at Everest, the Cascades and everywhere in between. My favorite two essays included a fascinating exploration of Mark Foo's (a famous surfer from Hawaii) final wave and a look at the terrifying wilderness programs that teens are sent to and, far too often, die while part of the programs.

Clearly, if you don't like a good adventure story, hate nature or find  Earth an uninteresting place, these will not be for you. If, however, you are in awe of our beautiful world and the amazing places on it and man's continued push of himself to conquer this planet, than this book is for you!

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