No Shortcuts to the Top
Ed Viesturs, with David Roberts
WHEN SEATTLE mountaineer Ed Viesturs topped out on 26,545-foot Annapurna in May 2005, he became the first American to climball 14 of the world's 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. Behind that final summit, though, was an 18-year quest that involved considerable personal sacrifice. Viesturs's book is most compelling in its examination of risk. "I don't assume that I have some kind of Teflon coating that's kept me alive," he writes. "Some combination of training, skills, instinct, and a dash of luck saw me through." Despite his many accomplishments, he maintains that his proudest one has been staying true to his mountaineering motto: "Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory."
There Is No Me Without You
Melissa Fay Greene
IN 2000, THERE WERE 12 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, most living on the streets. In hard-hit Ethiopia, middle-class widow Haregewoin Teferra, still grieving her adult daughter's AIDS-related death, volunteered to foster some of the kids. Soon her modest home was overwhelmed by teens, HIV-infected babies, and rambunctious toddlerssometimes 50 at a time. Greene (Last Man Out), who spent months reporting in Ethiopia, details one woman's struggles to maintain a refuge while "the most terrible epidemic in human history was knocking . . . then it was banging with fists" at her door. She explores the history and politics of AIDS but stays focused on Teferra, creating a piece of journalism that's heartbreaking but never maudlin.