BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: An Adventuresome Life; Six Days of Entrapment; the Miracle of Rescue
In a moving account of strength in the face of adversity, Ralston presents the full story behind the 2003 event that became worldwide news: his self-amputation of his right arm after it was caught between a boulder and a canyon wall during what began as a routine day hike in the Utah Canyons. An experienced climber, Ralston, 28, effectively shows he wasn't a risk-taker, and alternates between describing how his jaunt turned into a nightmare when a huge stone suddenly came unstuck as he used it to climb down a ledge, and recalling early experiences that changed his novice attitudes toward hiking, which he admits "were not intrinsically safe." Ralston candidly renders the details of six days of entrapment, using transcribed monologues from videotapes he made while trapped, including his increasingly exhausted thoughts as well as poignant farewells to his family. But his best writing details his self-amputation and his subsequent march to safety, in which he rappelled one-armed down a hill and then hiked six miles before someone found him. Ralston's prose is never gruesome, nor is it used to shock, even as he describes first breaking his forearm, and then slipping "into some sort of autopilot" as he cuts through muscle fibers to detach the arm. It's truly thrilling when he finishes and is free: "A crystalline moment shatters and the world is a different place." 16 pages of color photos. Simultaneous audio release. Agent, Ron Elberger. (Sept. 14)
Forecast: National radio and print ads, an upcoming NBC special with Tom Brokaw, a 12-city author tour and multiple excerpts in magazines such as Outside will bring much attention to Ralston's already well-known story.