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Extended Audio Sample Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See Audiobook, by Robert Kurson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,503 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Kurson Narrator: Christopher Evan Welch Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9780739343166
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In his critically acclaimed bestseller Shadow Divers, Robert Kurson explored the depths of history, friendship, and compulsion. Now Kurson returns with another thrilling adventure—the stunning true story of one man’s heroic odyssey from blindness into sight.

Mike May spent his life crashing through. Blinded at age three, he defied expectations by breaking world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA, and becoming a successful inventor, entrepreneur, and family man. He had never yearned for vision.

Then, in 1999, a chance encounter brought startling news: a revolutionary stem cell transplant surgery could restore May’s vision. It would allow him to drive, to read, to see his children’s faces. He began to contemplate an astonishing new world: Would music still sound the same? Would sex be different? Would he recognize himself in the mirror? Would his marriage survive? Would he still be Mike May?

The procedure was filled with risks, some of them deadly, others beyond May’s wildest dreams. Even if the surgery worked, history was against him. Fewer than twenty cases were known worldwide in which a person gained vision after a lifetime of blindness. Each of those people suffered desperate consequences we can scarcely imagine.

There were countless reasons for May to pass on vision. He could think of only a single reason to go forward. Whatever his decision, he knew it would change his life.

Beautifully written and thrillingly told, Crashing Through is a journey of suspense, daring, romance, and insight into the mysteries of vision and the brain. Robert Kurson gives us a fascinating account of one man’s choice to explore what it means to see—and to truly live.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Robert Kurson is a vigorous, straightforward writer…[and the book is] a first-rate piece of medical reporting.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “May’s story and Kurson’s telling of it are beyond eye-opening.”

    New York Daily News

  • “Kurson is a man with natural curiosity and one who can feel the excitement life has to offer. One of his great gifts is he makes you feel it, too.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “Making his one-in-a-million journey into vision launches May on a completely new adventure in the world of modern brain science…Robert Kurson’s fascinating account of the chain of events that began to unfold is riveting.”

    Providence Sunday Journal

  • “A gripping adventure story, Crashing Through explores the rewards of risk as well as the nature of vision.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Fascinating. Kurson artfully coaxes out every bit of tension...expertly captures May’s wonderment, [and] so deftly [takes] us along.”

    Miami Herald

  • “[Kurson] is a great storyteller…You’ll find yourself completely immersed in May’s life and pulling for him to succeed.”

    Rocky Mountain News

  • “A moving account [of an] extraordinary character. The science is fascinating [and] the tender moments…resonate.”

    People

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Taylor | 2/17/2014

    " This is a great book so far. Thanks Caleb! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krista | 2/16/2014

    " Great book about a man who was blinded at age 3 (by chemical explosion) and who had a ground breaking surgery at age 46 that gave him sight in one eye and how he coped with it. Amazing explainations of the neuropyschology of the brain and how we process images! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Edna | 2/8/2014

    " True story about Mike May who was blinded at age three by a chemical burn accident. Mike's life story and the scientific and psychological explanations (and explorations) for how vision and the brain connect and disconnect were interesting, but I was disappointed the author's writing style. It was dry, non-descriptive and underdeveloped for describing the passion in this man's miraculous journey to see once again. Ho-hum. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 2/3/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. The author, Kurson, does a good job developing the character of the people involved. (He did the same in Shadow Divers, which was also a very good book.) May, the man who was blinded at age 3 due to a chemical injury, has a very full life. Then, out of the clear blue, he is offered a chance to have his vision restored. Kurson does a very good job following the decision making process as May decides if he should proceed or not. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sdunbar | 1/9/2014

    " I found great inspiration from a man who had many adversities and yet persevered and pushed the boundaries. Then when he was faced with the possibilities of sight, what he went through both emotionally and physically. Since his case was venturing into untested ground, the medical discourse on how our mind/language/sight intelligence works was fascinating. I would recommend this book on many different levels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 1/7/2014

    " This book was amazing! I read another one of Kurson's books earlier this year and loved this one even more. The story was phenomenal and brought so much insight into how fortunate we are to have our vision. Definitely an inspirational book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cindy | 1/6/2014

    " Read this for my book club. DIdn't really like the writing style or the man the book was about. We're discussing it at book club in a couple of days, so I'm interested to see what others think. What I did like was the fascinating information about vision that was included. I have always thought that my problem with recognizing people was "just me", but now I think it's just a condition that isn't all that unusual. That was very intersting to learn. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth | 1/3/2014

    " Michael May is a force of nature. At age three, he lost his vision due to a chemical explosion. He never allowed his blindness to become a disability, but instead, with irrepressible heart and drive, became a record holder in downhill speed skiing, world traveler, performer, inventor, successful businessman, loving husband, and father of two boys. His life was full. Then, at the age of 46, he found out he was a good candidate for a revolutionary but risky stem cell surgery, which could restore his vision. With numerous details about the optical and neurological foundation of eyesight, Crashing Through provides a window into the trials, victories, and unflagging enthusiasm of this consummate adventurer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Twila | 1/2/2014

    " A book about an unusual journey. Just keep in mind this book is some what of a documentary "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andie | 12/18/2013

    " Fascinating story but the writing didn't do it justice. The rating of "two stars" is a bit generous. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn | 12/15/2013

    " I loved this book! It really is all about our attitude! It's really is an inspirational book. I think I want to do this one for book club. :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindypalmer | 11/3/2013

    " Man this guy's a badass. I couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Di | 9/9/2013

    " This book was not only a good read but highly inspirational. It proves that if there's a will, there is a way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 1/18/2013

    " I learned so much about the power of seeing. I could not believe that this blind guy was so successful that he struggled to decide if he wanted his sight restore. It is a testimony to his mother who believed in him. Explore the trials and tributlations as he regained his sight. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carla | 12/30/2012

    " This book was quite enlightening. I had no idea about how the brain learns to see in early childhood. The book is an eye opener about living one's life, also. I recommend Crashing Through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 jack | 10/12/2012

    " very interesting tale of a blind man who gets his sight back... stories of his being blind and ignoring that fact is nearly as interesting as the story of getting his sight restored. he's still around and seeing so an update or movie should be forthcoming some day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karl.bromley | 10/7/2012

    " Required reading, remarkable guy, learned a lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 6/20/2012

    " This is a story about Mike May who at aged 3 went blind from a freak accident. Then some 40 years later gains back some vision. Amazing story with some interesting lessons on how vision wires our brain to learn. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenn | 3/25/2012

    " It's taken me about five years, but I finally read this book. Quite interesting. I hear they are making a movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 10/1/2011

    " I listened to this on CD. Inspiring! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cliff | 7/7/2011

    " I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's a fascinating, fascinating true story. It makes you think a lot about how much of "sight" is really not just physical vision, but the ability of your brain to assemble information to make it meaningful. You need to read this. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 5/12/2011

    " Great story, very inspirational, but way too graphic, too much info!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 4/19/2011

    " Quick read and very interesting. The later part of the book spends a fair amount of time on the neuropsychology of restored vision. Easily understood language but May's story is intertwined with the a fair amount of non-fiction. still recommend it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 4/12/2011

    " Great story, very inspirational, but way too graphic, too much info!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 4/5/2011

    " Writing wasn't the greatest but the science behind the story is fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrienne | 1/30/2011

    " Fascinating! May is a great subject for a book - well researched and clearly written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn | 1/6/2011

    " Written a little cheesey, but it was a great story of a truely amazing man. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tricia | 12/31/2010

    " It was ok. I thought that it draaaaaged on a lot. And there were a lot of little details that were insignificant to the story, so it was kind of hard to pay attention to everything. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dulcey | 12/12/2010

    " This is a really interesting book about the difficulty and joy of seeing after decades of blindness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caitlin | 11/10/2010

    " Since my friends seem to think I won't shut up about this, they're probably glad I'm finished! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeni | 11/2/2010

    " Can I give it 3 1/2 stars? The story itself is fascinating and inspiring. Talking about living a life. But I'm not crazy about how the author told it. A lot of TMI, I thought--emphasis on aspects I think weren't more than a passing mention, and neglect of other parts I'd like explained more. "

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About the Author
Robert Kurson earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, then a law degree from Harvard Law School. His award-winning stories have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and Esquire, where he is a contributing editor. Crashing Through is based on Kurson’s 2006 National Magazine Award-winning profile in Esquire. He is the author of Shadow Divers, and he lives in Chicago. Visit the author’s website at www.robertkurson.com.