Looking for something a bit different after reading The Seven Functions of Language, I happened on an Audible 2-for-1 sale and got 4 books. One of them was this book, “Dead Mountain,” from the history section – a true mystery – not necessarily crime. And then I got the Kindle version, too, because it was quite inexpensive and has pictures. Eichar also narrates the book although it’s not usually a good idea for authors to narrate their own books. In this case it works better than some I’ve heard although it’s a rather dry reading. He’s a documentary producer by trade so this adventure and book about it was kind of right up his alley.
Dead Mountain: The True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident
by Donnie Eichar –
read by Donnie Eichar 6h 23m
rating: 7.5 / nonfiction adventure
(both read and listened)
I’ve read Jon Krakour’s books, Into Thin Air and Into the Wild – (as well as others) and hoped for something similar. Eichar is no Krakhour but he’s a good writer.
It all happened in the winter of 1959. Nine students from a Russian university decided to take a hike into the Ural mountains and be back in time for the new semester Yekaterinburg’s university. All members of the group came back on stretchers having been found in various places and half dressed with no shoes on any of them. The question was, and still is really, what the heck happened, and even now, over half a century later, it’s not quite known why or how they died.
This is the mystery which fascinated Eichar and his buddy Jason Thompson so much they had to travel to Russia to try to figure it out. Eichar went to the scene twice to interview people and study the documents and on the second trip he actually traveled to the scene in mid-winter. The FSB (modern KGB) is still very curious about foreigners in their country and although Stalin had been dead for several years and Khrushchev, better but certainly not great, was in power and the prison camps were certainly in full swing – one fairly near where the hikers went.
The narrative alternates between the story of the hikers and the search for them at the time, with the story of Eichar’s investigation – it’s smoothly done.