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Item #: BK1650-1352
IN THE SHADOW OF DENALI Jonathan Waterman 1994 Paperback Fine 2 Copies Available [Not Signed]
By Waterman, Jonathan
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New York, 1994. 268 pp, 8 pp b/w photos. Paperback.Fine.

Accounts about life and death on Alaska's Mount Mckinley, told by one of mountaineering's better climber/writers, Jon Waterman: the risks, losses, triumphs, tears & loves. This wonderful collection of essays explores the territory right at the perimeter of death's door. Whether by freezing, free fall, animal mauling, or altitude sickness, Waterman's heroes are faced with the terror of death's domain in circumstances too extreme to admit to external melioration. These individuals are on their own as they project themselves directly into harm's way and we bear witness through the evocative writing to Waterman's total preoccupation with life lived at the edge of annihilation.

The narrative as story telling is mostly compelling but the point of the book is not to convey an action line but rather to ponder the limits at which the human organism functions in uninhabitable conditions.

At first, when Watermen is very young and sassy, he gets away with flaunting the possibility of death as he undertakes feats that beg for physical retribution . But when he matures and sets his sights on Alaska's rugged mountain terrain, he allows the forces of nature to rub reality into his every pore until he realizes he has tempted fate beyond his own capacity to process the consequences.

Waterman is a phenomenolgist of death. He is also a keen observer and a talented reporter with the integrity, passion and grit to inform those interested in that domain with great cogency and wit. I found myself grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in this world of extreme psychological states and to share via Waterman's writing in the elation, or more accurately perhaps, the ecstasy of survival in the very heart of the abyss.


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