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Summer Reading 2017: Touching the Void

Find the book you want to read this summer!

Why Jonathan recommends this book...

If you cut the rope your friend may die. If you don't cut the rope, you will die.

About the book

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival
by Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death.

The next three days were an impossibly grueling ordeal for both men. Yates, certain that Simpson was dead, returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him. Miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall, but crippled, starving, and severely frostbitten was trapped in a deep crevasse. Summoning vast reserves of physical and spiritual strength, Simpson crawled over the cliffs and canyons of the Andes, reaching base camp hours before Yates had planned to leave.

How both men overcame the torments of those harrowing days is an epic tale of fear, suffering, and survival, and a poignant testament to unshakable courage and friendship.



Applicable categories for the Urban Read Harder Challenge:

True Stories Well Told

For fans of

  • Adventure stories
  • Non-fiction
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

About the reader

Jonathan Howland, Dean of faculty

In the past, Jonathan has recommended the following books:

  • Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond