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Download Shattered Air: A True Account of Catastrophe and Courage on Yosemite’s Half Dome Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Shattered Air: A True Account of Catastrophe and Courage on Yosemite’s Half Dome Audiobook, by Bob Madgic Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (189 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bob Madgic Narrator: Anthony Heald Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2007 ISBN: 9781455189540
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On the evening of July 27, 1985, five hikers made a fateful choice to climb Yosemite’s fabled Half Dome, even as the sky darkened and thunder rolled. By night’s end, two would be dead from a lightning strike, three gravely wounded, and desperate EMTs would be overseeing a harrowing midnight helicopter rescue.

Shattered Air is a haunting account of recklessness, tragedy, courage, and rescue, a book whose depiction of Nature’s power is tempered by unforgettable portraits of human courage and the will to survive. Listeners are sure to walk away with a newfound respect for lightning—and nature in general—after hearing this incredible true story.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A sobering and compelling story…Brilliant.”

    Outdoor Guide

  • Shattered Air is a ‘must-read’ book.”

    Sierra Club News

  • “A well-written and thoroughly investigated account…[Madgic’s] contribution to the adventure category is at once a terrifying story and an urgent cautionary tale.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Anthony Heald’s slightly husky voice is perfect for this outdoor horror story. He adds foreshadowing when describing the gathering clouds, quickens the pace during the storm, and injects personality into the follow-up interviews. Listen and be educated, entertained—and cautioned.”

    AudioFile

  • “A penetrating account of this tragedy.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debra | 2/20/2014

    " Good story about lightning deaths and destruction on Yosemite's half dome. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janette | 2/15/2014

    " This author did lots of research...He gives the history of Yosemite starting with the Indians, a history of hiking and climbing in Yosemite, a history of the famous climbs and 1st climbs and hikes of Half Dome. He describes the late 70's and early 80's. He explains what happens in thunderstorms and describes all the different kinds of lightening, details what happens when lightening strikes objects and people. He tells about all the deaths related to lightening in Yosemite's history. He describes each person who is part of the story, details everything that happens on July 26-27, '85, and what each person does. He also describes the history of emergency medical training and trauma training and helicopter rescues. All of this is very interesting, but basically comes down to the fact that the main people in the story were careless, reckless, selfish and stupid. They were extremely lucky that there were so many trained EMT's that came to help, and the hero of the story is the helicopter pilot. The mentality of the climbers and many hikers is that everything is all about themselves and "conquering their fear". These guys bullied those they were with who were completely new at hiking to Half-Dome and didn't care one bit about any one's safety. The jerks in the story really didn't change...were still jerks in the end. The main one "didn't want to talk about" the whole experience, well of course he didn't...he killed 2 people and wrecked the lives of others! This book on CD is well done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 1/14/2014

    " If you are looking for a true tale of outdoor misadventure, this is the one for you. It didn't change my life but it was an interesting read, and you can bet I'll be a bit more cautious when it comes to lightening after this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise | 1/10/2014

    " Good story, however, it should have been a short story! Great for people who are interested in hiking in Yosemite. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 1/9/2014

    " I was very excited to read this book because it focuses on lightning - a weather event that is dangerous and misunderstood. I was also excited about the local focus on Yosemite and the Bay Area. I really enjoyed the story, but I was disappointed in the writing. I felt it needed more editing in terms of language and arrangement, and I found this frustrating. Some tangents seemed misplaced as well. I would have liked it to be a bit richer and developed in language - especially during the dramatic parts. Overall, it was an entertaining and informative read. I will definitely think twice before going outside in the mountains in anything resembling a thunderstorm or the potential for one.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 lisa | 1/6/2014

    " Great read. Liked how he set story up by describing the various people involved in the situation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tyler | 12/27/2013

    " I've learned many things from this book, but mainly, do not go on top of a peak or in a cave during a lightning storm. This book was very informative while still keeping me on the edge of my seat. A truly great read... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jodi | 12/24/2013

    " After reading this true account of tragedy on Half Dome, I am not so sure about my goal to hike it. It certainly opened my eyes to the necessity of watching the skies! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug Page | 12/9/2013

    " Beware: a cave may protect you against rain during a thunderstorm but it will not protect you against lightning. Granite is a mineral and as such conducts electricity, particularly when wet. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 11/23/2013

    " This is an interesting book about a well-known incident in 1985 when several hikers were struck by lightening in Yosemite. It's not the most eloquently written, but it is a page-turner and worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 10/6/2013

    " True story of friends who spent the night atop Yosemite's Half Dome on a night when the rock monolith got struck by lightning. Madgic explores both the immediate and long term consequences. Well researched. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 8/24/2013

    " The compelling account of recklessness, tragedy, courage and rescue, a book whose sobering depiction of Nature's danger is tempered by unforgettable portraits of the triumphant human spirit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 8/5/2013

    " This was a good, but scary book involving poor decision-making and the power of nature. More frightening since it was based on a real story, but also interesting info about the medical effects of being struck by lightening. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 6/2/2013

    " For those who truely love Yosemite and Half Dome, you will love this exciting and gripping encounter of a group's climb to the top. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renee | 9/7/2012

    " facinating, especially if you've done the hike. Have met the author twice as well as one of the survivors, truly an incredible story! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michele | 8/26/2012

    " Great book- wish I was 30 years younger to do that hike! Author was a bit detailed (thought about Michener) but still very good book. Foolish guys!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Owens | 6/16/2012

    " I don't think i could be as brave as these people were.The risks taken were by all.Danger is always around us and to watch friends die must have been hard.Living day to day knowing you are still here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Young | 1/17/2012

    " This is a great read for those interested in the history of Yosemite and Half Dome. This may sound boring, but it is a great adventure read. The book tells of a group of hikers who meet with disaster and provides a lesson about the power of nature. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 12/18/2011

    " This was an interesting account, but it took me a while to get into it. Maybe because the main characters where not that likable of people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 12/10/2011

    " A very good true story of foolish young men colliding with the power of nature and the consequences to be dealt with afterwards. Stay off granite mounds in thunderstorms. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 10/5/2011

    " Very interesting & fast read. Loved it since I've climbed Half Dome & can envision how horrifying this catastrophe was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jon Mills | 7/7/2011

    " Awesome story of stupidity in the wilderness and extreme efforts to overcome the consequences. I now have a much greater respect for lightning. "

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

    " It was an absorbing read and also very educational. I am going to check out other books by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 6/5/2011

    " I liked the content and the stories. The actual writing was so-so. But the author got his point across. The first thing I wrote in my book journal after logging in the title and author is, "STIPIDITY!" Oh yes they were. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 2/28/2011

    " Too much of the book was like a research paper. But the chapters about the actual hike and accident was interesting, what the lightning could do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 1/2/2011

    " True story of friends who spent the night atop Yosemite's Half Dome on a night when the rock monolith got struck by lightning. Madgic explores both the immediate and long term consequences. Well researched. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 8/17/2010

    " To my Yosemite hiking friends: I never gave much thought to a lightning storm occurring on Half Dome and the dangers we could've encountered! I was just thinking of the challenge of the hike and making it to the top and enjoying the view! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renee | 12/15/2009

    " facinating, especially if you've done the hike. Have met the author twice as well as one of the survivors, truly an incredible story! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 10/16/2009

    " For those who truely love Yosemite and Half Dome, you will love this exciting and gripping encounter of a group's climb to the top. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 7/6/2009

    " A true story of how a simple hike up Half Dome in Yosemite National Park went horribly wrong. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 3/14/2009

    " This is an interesting book about a well-known incident in 1985 when several hikers were struck by lightening in Yosemite. It's not the most eloquently written, but it is a page-turner and worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 2/18/2009

    " If you are looking for a true tale of outdoor misadventure, this is the one for you. It didn't change my life but it was an interesting read, and you can bet I'll be a bit more cautious when it comes to lightening after this one. "

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About the Author

Bob Madgic is a retired public-school administrator and now a full-time writer on the outdoors. He lives in Anderson, California.

About the Narrator

Anthony Heald, an Audie Award–winning narrator, has earned Tony nominations and an Obie Award for his theater work; appeared in television’s Law & Order, The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Boston Public; and starred as Dr. Frederick Chilton in the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. Heald has also won ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.