Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance

Version: Unabridged
Author: Peter Stark
Narrator: Peter Stark
Genres: Travel, Essays & Travelogues
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Published In: October 2001
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
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A fascinating blend of adventure and science, LAST BREATH recreates in heart-stopping detail what happens to our bodies and minds in the perilous last moments of life when an extreme adventure goes awry.

With a growing number of people setting out to climb snow-capped mountains, swim choppy seas, and hike through dark, dense jungles, extreme deaths and brushes with death seem to have become everyday occurences. A compelling synthesis of science, history, possibility, and prevention, LAST BREATH examines the physiological, psychological, and emotional stages our bodies and minds endure at the brink of death. Listeners will shiver with a man lost in snowy woods, suffering from
hypthermia, as he tears off his clothes, burning up from cold. They will hallucinate with a young woman as she succumbs to a cerebral edema stranded at the top of Anapurna. And while a kayaker tumbles helpless underwater for 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, listeners too will gasp for their last breath.

Reviews (2)

Odd Experience

Written by Miss Seaweed on April 29th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I listen to a lot of audiobooks and this one is bothering me. I'm into the third of the five discs. It is narrated by the author and, granted, he knows exactly what inflections should go where. But his voice is driving me crazy. Very monotone, low, without emotion or variance. And I hate that the CDs don't announce when you've reached the end. The transition from story to story is also not clear. My final complaint is that the tracks are far too long. If I miss something and want to start the section over, I have to re-listen to 10 minutes or so rather than the usual 3 minutes most audio books are using as a standard cut these days. In the "good" category, the stories are fascinating and well-researched. Very interesting look into the process of expiring.

last breath

Written by Anonymous from Waianae, HI on October 4th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 3/5

great book to listen to in car commute.The 3rd CD skipped for about 5 min..

Author Details

Author Details

Stark, Peter

" Peter Stark is a contributor to Outside, Smithsonian, and The New Yorker magazines. His article for Outside, ""As Freezing Persons Recollect the Snow""-- the inspiration for this book-- was cited as a notable essay in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS (1997). He has been nominated for a National Magazine Award and has published a collection of essays, DRIVING TO GREENLAND. He is also the editor of an anthology of writing about the Arctic, RING OF ICE. He lives in Missoula, Montana."