Jon Krakauer, mountaineer and journalist, tells the true story of the expedition in which he participated: what seemed simply a mission to crown Everest was transformed into a tragedy where eight people died. It describes very well the technique of high mountain mountaineering, as well as the people who dedicate themselves to it, the necessary preparation, the dangers to which they are exposed, etc. He also gives some historical and cultural notes about Everest.
The book points out ethical questions in extreme situations, but does not make a critical judgment of the existing promiscuity in the base camps. The author is affected by the deaths of fellow travellers, by the little help he was able to give them, by the powerlessness to save their lives.