In the Shadow of Denali: Life and Death on Alaska's Mt. McKinley

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A classic in the genre of mountain literature—with a new preface by the author Rising more than 20,000 feet into the Alaskan sky is Denali, the tallest mountain in North America. In this collection of exhilarating and stunning narratives, Jonathan Waterman paints a startlingly intimate portrait of the white leviathan and brings to vivid life men and women whose fates have entwined on its sheer icy peak.

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In the Shadow of Denali: Life And Death On Alaska's Mt. Mckinley

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A classic in the genre of mountain literature—with a new preface by the author Rising more than 20,000 feet into the Alaskan sky is Denali, the tallest mountain in North America. In this collection of exhilarating and stunning narratives, Jonathan Waterman paints a startlingly intimate portrait of the white leviathan and brings to vivid life men and women whose fates have entwined on its sheer icy peak.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stratospherically the finest in the genre. With this book, Waterman has earned a place alongside such great modern American mountain writers as David Roberts and Jon Krakauer." —Greg Child, author of Thin Air, from the Foreword "A mountaineering classic, not only because it takes as its subject the nation's highest mountain but also because Waterman writes with unusual vision and spirit . . . Striking not a single false note . . . this is a strong, mature work by a gifted writer." —Booklist "Taut understated prose captures the commitment of dedicated climbers." —Publishers Weekly "Tales from the mean side of Denali, from a freelancer with a reputation for writing fine climbing stories . . . Arresting . . . A pleasure to read." —Kirkus Reviews "A fine writer with a profound appreciation of what towering mountains are . . . this is a book about the high mountains written by a real mountain man." —James Michener "A magnificent book, beautifully written, a superb delineation, in the broadest sense, of one person's relationship to landscape." —Ann Zwinger "Masterful storytelling . . . There is climbing in this book, but remarkably it is not a book about climbing, any more than A River Runs Through It was a book about fishing. Waterman the writer resembles that other Alaskan adventurer, Jack London. But in his storytelling, in the way he renders non-fiction close to fiction with its alien and thoughtful beauty, he descends more directly from Norman Maclean . . . He is our Ishmael, the eloquent witness to a profound journey." —Jeff Long, Boulder Camera "Bewitching. It was an honor to read this eyes-open chronicle of being beaten to a psychological pulp and then reborn." —American Alpine Journal "Poetic and powerful—a testimony to both the man and the mountain." —Dennis Eberl "Personal, intense, gripping . . . a compelling book. He is a serious writer, daring to take up the challenge of avoiding hackneyed prose in telling about fear, cold, wind and such wondrous beauty as the aurora shining on the mountain." —Bill Hunt, Alaska
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599217949
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 558,192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Waterman started shooting photographs on his expeditions three decades ago, but also found his calling as a writer and author. He has starred in and written films for television, including “The Logan Challenge” (PBS, 1991), “Surviving Denali” (ESPN, 1994), and “Odyssey Among the Inuit” (OLN, 2000). He's mostly known for his time exploring the North, detailed in six of his nine books and in journals such as the Washington Post, Adventure, Hooked On the Outdoors, Outside, Backpacker, Climbing, and Rock and Ice. In June 2005, W.W. Norton released his Where Mountains Are Nameless; Passion and Politics in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. His awards include: NEA Literary Fellowship (2004), Colorado State Council of the Arts Literary Award (2003), The Banff Book Festival's Best Adventure book (1995, 2001), The American Alpine Club Literary Award (1996), and The National Park Service Special Achievement Award (1984)

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Read an Excerpt

"Because we live in a technological age, we are often insulated from our deeper emotions, such as understanding death or perceiving the earth as an animate form. But the time I spent on and around Denali were years in which I abandoned much of the modern world and perceived the mountain and its surrounding wilderness as a living, breathing entity. This sounds half-crazed, I know. But it may have been a necessary means for absorbing these intense experiences about death. Perhaps my preoccupation on Denali with death curtailed normal romantic interactions. For ten years, I may have allowed myself to become intimate with a mountain. I make no apologies for this; it is more exposure than literary pretense affords, and I now feel fortunate to have lived a portion of my life as intensely as I did." —from the preface

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 1999

    A beautifully written collection

    Waterman, along with Roberts and Child, is one of the luminaries in the world of climbing writers. This book, a collection of essays about Denali and the Alaskan wilderness, is evocative, gripping, and occasionally maddening as it exposes the idiotic unpreparedness of some of the people Waterman encounters. It will appeal not only to climbers but to people interested in the wilderness and the human reaction to it.

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