A journey to the most extreme points on Earth and deep inside the human spirit
Before Georgetown physics professor Francis Slakey decided to climb the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean, he had shut himself off from other people. His lectures were mechanical; his relationships were little more than ways to fill the evenings. But as his journey veered dangerously off course, everything about him began to change.
A gripping adventure of the body and mind, To the Last Breath depicts the quest that leads Slakey around the globe, almost takes his life, challenges his fiercely held beliefs, and opens his heart. The scientist in Slakey explores the history of Robert Falcon Scott’s doomed Antarctica expedition, the technology of climbing, and the geophysics of waves. But it is the challenges he endures and the people he encounters—a Lama who gives him a mysterious amulet, a life-or-death choice atop Everest, an ambush at gunpoint in Indonesia, a head-on collision in the high desert—that culminate in a moving lesson about what it means to be human.read more
I absolutely loved this book, from the first page to the last page it was hard to put down. If I had the chance I would have read it through in one day. It was exciting but mostly it was insightful, to watch him on his journey how he transformed from the disconnected person he was to one with such passion. I would recommend this book to everyone, however if you want to read a book about mountain climbing and surfing this may not be the one for you. This is more about his journey and less about his adventures.I won this book from Goodreads.read more
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At age 37, physicist Slakey decided to climb the highest mountain on every continent and to surf every ocean. Cold and calculating, he imagines that he can work through his list of mountains and oceans in a perfectly efficient manner, assessing and evaluating the risks and completing each challenge. Over the next 10 years, hell-bent on accomplishing his goals, Slakey braves and survives subzero cold in Antarctica, a blizzard on Mt. Everest, and a near-deadly confrontation with a paramilitary group in Indonesia, among other adventures. In this rambling and disjointed memoir of his attempt to conquer mountains and waves, Slakey haltingly attempts to reveal the ways that small events changed him from a detached and insensitive individual into a caring person who recognizes the interconnectedness of all humanity. On his Everest climb, he witnesses a fellow climber giving up his oxygen to a climber in trouble-something he would never have thought of doing in his single-minded quest to achieve his goal. Once he leaves Indonesia, he learns that a group of Americans has been ambushed and killed by a group of soldiers; when he meets one of the survivors of that ambush, his hard-heartedness begins to melt even further. Yet by the time Slakey reports his change of heart about the world and others, it's too late, for his arrogant and condescending nature has permeated the memoir, presenting a far more pervasive attitude toward life than the one he says he has embraced. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.