I just finished reading The Last Man on the Mountain: the Death of an American Adventurer on K2. I found it to be a clearly written, thoroughly researched, and insightful book about the disastrous 1939 American K2 expedition. Has anyone else read it? What did you think?
Very good book! I would also read the following as they tell of the same story but from different perspectives, based on each writer that researched the story and then drew their own conclusions. The Savage Mountain, Life and Death on the Worlds Most Dangerous Mountain and One Mountain Thousand Summits.
I enjoyed the book, particularly the way in which their first encounters with K2 are described - one gets the feeling that the team is obviously in so far over their heads - yet up they go. It was, of course, quite frustrating to read the sequence that lead to Wolfe's death - you know what is about to happen, yet you still try to convince yourself that it will end otherwise. I was also bothered by the fact that significant parts of the story, as told by Jordan, must be supposition - it can't be any other way. There just isn't enough objectively recorded info to be able to draw firm conclusions about what ultimately happened high on the mountain. I know this to be true, and I read the book with exactly that expectation, yet I still found it frustrating. The story makes the reader quite sympathetic towards Wolfe, and certainly not so much towards Weissner, Durrance and the rest, yet the reader must take this particular telling with a grain of salt. I think I will read the other accounts, just to get another take, although I'm confident only the dead really know how it all went down. I think Jordan actually makes this exact point somehwere in the intro. I didn't get the feeling that she was trying to convince the reader that Last Man was anything other than her point of view. Definitely more than a few lessons in group dynamics to be learned from this book.