4 out of 4 stars
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David Mauro had reached a low point in his life. Freshly divorced and feeling like a failure, he found himself despondent and hopeless. While he may have given up on himself, others had not. His brother-in-law sent him a set of hiking poles and an invitation to climb Denali, the highest mountain in North America. At age 44, he had never climbed before but accepted the offer. He explained, “A person who believes he has nothing left to lose is a fantastic and dangerous soul.” He clings to the confidence placed in him and hopes this pursuit can help him find the ability to believe in himself again.
The Altitude Journals, a memoir by David J. Mauro, details not only his successful Denali climb but also his struggles and triumphs as he goes on to climb all of the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the earth’s continents. This rare quest sets his life, “on a path through forest and wasteland, over glaciers and clouds, bedside cannibals and penguins, and in the company of elephants and gunrunners.” His journey and experiences were so compelling that I was hooked as soon as I read the prologue.
Mauro writes with such openness and vulnerability that it is impossible not to get caught up in his story. He is not a world class athlete. He is a normal guy with challenges who decides to climb a mountain and work through his pain. His story is completely genuine and entirely relatable. I appreciated his humble approach to each climb. After his first successful summit, he does not set out to conquer the rest but rather listens to an inner voice and follows its promptings. In his words, “I believe life has laid out an incredible path for each of us, and when we quiet our minds, it is revealed one stone at a time.”
The magic of Mauro’s writing is demonstrated in his ability to make his readers become part of his incredible journey. From the mental and physical preparation for each unique mountain to the life-affirming summit of each peak, I felt like I was a part of the expedition. Through sweltering jungles and across wind-blown glaciers, I thrilled in each new experience Mauro shared while I stayed safely on my couch. He deftly weaves facts, details, and humor along with his own personal narrative, creating a story that flowed with ease across each page.
I know I am reading an amazing book when I can’t stop thinking and talking about it. This is exactly what happened as I read The Altitude Journals. In fact, my compulsion to overshare all the insights I gained while reading this book may be its only negative takeaway. Mauro’s breathtaking account sparked an interest that left me wanting to discover more.
I am delighted to award this book 4 out of 4 stars. With writing so engrossing, I had a hard time finding any errors and applaud the excellent editing job. I was hoping to read a memoir filled with adventure and excitement, and I was pleased to find this book offered this and so much more. I recommend this book to all ages seeking adventure and upliftment. This introspective and exhilarating journey will leave you feeling on top of the world.
The Altitude Journals
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