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Between a Rock and a Hard Place


Between a Rock and a Hard Place Cover



Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide

Aron Ralston's Between a Rock and a Hard Place


1) Ralston mentions his many moments at near certain death yet he continued to participate in activities with potential danger. Do you believe Ralston felt he was taking risks? What is it about his personality that drove him to these pursuits?

2) Americans enjoy several extreme sports, not to mention the pastimes of sky diving, bungie cord jumping, and white water rafting. Do you think this is unique to our culture, or can you think of examples in other countries?

3) How did Ralston's previous near death encounters change him? Did they cause him to crave more or increase his carelessness? Was he aware of the hazards? Did he take all the necessary precautions?

4) In one near fatal incident, he and two of his friends were caught in an avalanche. After this incident Ralston explains he never heard from those friends again. What did you think of Ralston's reaction? Why do you think he mentions this story? Was there a lesson from this situation that he didn't take away at the time?

5) Compare Ralston's many stories of his numerous near deadly excursions and his mountaineering and skiing adventures. Besides physically, explain how these adventures prepared him for this awful experience mentally and spiritually.

6) Ralston was very detailed in the accounts of his survival, including the amputation. Were there sections you weren't able to read? Were there methods you learned? What effect did this have on you? Do you feel he needed to be so specific?

7) Although Ralston chastises himself for not thinking of it sooner, do you think he needed those six days to come to the realization that amputating his arm was his only hope of survival?

8) Is Ralston's story a symbol of hope or a cautionary tale for thrill seekers? Ralston affirms that he wouldn't change anything about his experience and would actually live through it again if given the choice. Why? What did he take away from this? Why do you think he needed to tell his story? Was there anything that you learned which surprised you?

9) What are the most significant lessons Ralston learns over the course of this book?

10) What are Ralston's feelings about nature? How has his opinion changed after this experience?

11) Hindsight is 20/20. Ralston is an experienced outdoorsman. What did he need to do to prevent this accident? Do you think his probability of disaster was increasing with the number of risks he took? Are some activities ever safe? Or safe only to a certain degree?

12) Many people have expressed that they don't think themselves capable of doing what Ralston did. How does he answer them?

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

PATRICK HANEY, October 23, 2007 (view all comments by PATRICK HANEY)
What he goes through will make you never want to put the book down. A mans fight to want to live.
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Love2Read, April 12, 2007 (view all comments by Love2Read)
I really enjoyed this book. But beware, there is some strong language in it. But honestly, if you had your arm underneath a boulder, you'd probably say some of the same things! Very discriptive and interesting.
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Product Details

Ralston, Aron
Atria Books
Adventurers & Explorers
Rock climbing accidents
Inspirational - General
General Biography
Rock climbing accidents - Utah -
Ralston, Aron.
Biography - General
127 hours; james franco; hiking; new york times; bestseller; danny boyle; movie
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
August 2005
Grade Level:
2 8-pp color inserts
8.44 x 5.5 in 11.76 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Sports
Religion » Western Religions » Inspirational
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Featured Titles
Sports and Outdoors » Outdoors » Lore and Survival
Sports and Outdoors » Outdoors » Mountaineering » General
Sports and Outdoors » Outdoors » Mountaineering » Literature
Sports and Outdoors » Outdoors » Stories and Essays
Sports and Outdoors » Outdoors » Survival
Travel » Sale Books

Between a Rock and a Hard Place Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Atria Books - English 9780743492829 Reviews:
"Review" by , "What makes his account of his ordeal extraordinary...is the detail and precision Ralston, a former mechanical engineer, brings to the telling....But those were all trumped by Ralston's amazing resourcefulness in prolonging his supplies and finding a way out, his boundless enthusiasm for life, and his dogged force of will at enduring far longer than anyone could have expected."
"Review" by , "[A] moving account of strength in the face of adversity....Ralston's prose is never gruesome, nor is it used to shock....It's truly thrilling..."
"Review" by , "This is a searing and amazingly detailed rendition of his ordeal, along with accounts of several of Ralston's previous wilderness adventures."
"Synopsis" by , Icebound meets Into Thin Air in this astonishing, day-by-day account of Ralston's terrible accident, self-amputation, and subsequent rescue and recovery. Full-color photos.
"Synopsis" by , The International Bestseller Between a Rock and a Hard Place--Now the Major Motion Picture 127 Hours

Hiking into the remote Utah canyonlands, Aron Ralston felt perfectly at home in the beauty of the natural world. Then, at 2:41 P.M., eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, an eight-hundred-pound boulder tumbled loose, pinning Aron's right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. Through six days of hell, with scant water, food, or warm clothing, and the terrible knowledge that no one knew where he was, Aron eliminated his escape option one by one. Then a moment of stark clarity helped him to solve the riddle of the boulder--and commit one of the most extreme and desperate acts imaginable.

     Honest, inspiring, and undeniably astonishing, 127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place has taken its place in the annals of classic adventure stories. 

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