Race to the Middle of the Earth
Blind Descent, the Story…
Are you familiar with the expression, “it’s like finding a needle in a haystack”? Blind Descent, a story about discovering the deepest cave in the world, is exactly that.
James Tabor’s account of dueling attempts to definitively discover the deepest cave in the world is interesting and informative. If you are not familiar with the world of spelunking, this will introduce you to the most extreme form of the hobby. Yet the adventure, risk and fame are akin to any cowboy of old. Tabor looks in depth at the equipment, and personalities of people who wander deep in the recesses of the earth. What kind of person goes days and weeks without seeing the sun? You will see that there is a type of person who is drawn to these hardships and to seeking the unknown.
Starting with the attempt by American Bill Stone, he details the years of effort and losses that went into the race to the deepest place on Earth. He follows up with the very different style of Ukrainian Alexander Klimchouk and his team’s years long effort and attempt to find the deepest place that man can get to without drilling. The style of the book compares and contrasts two very different men with the same goal. It will leave you with a better understanding of what it takes in the form of leadership and luck to accomplish a goal of great magnitude.
James M. Tabor is the adventurer’s adventure writer. He’s a mountaineer, caver and scuba diver among many other skills. His experience comes through in his writing as he’s both been through the learning curve and become an expert in these fields. Tabor’s writing has graced the pages of Outside Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. His novels include both fiction and nonfiction accounts about extreme people in extreme places.
Who is Blind Descent for?
Blind Descent is a case study about leadership in extreme situations. Tabor goes to great lengths to show the different leadership styles and the different outcomes of those leadership styles. If you love spelunking , this book will definitely wet your whistle for caving in exotic places with incredible goals.
Borrow or Buy?
This is a borrow for me. It was a fun read and I learned a lot about cave diving and leadership, however, it’s not one that I see myself returning to.
Blind Descent, James M. Tabor, Random House Trade Paperbacks, New York, NY, 2011, 286 pages, $16.00, ISBN 978-0-8129-7949-7
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