Reading guide for Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

By Aron Ralston

Between a Rock and a Hard Place
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Sep 2004,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2005,
    368 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  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?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Atria Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Pope and Mussolini
    The Pope and Mussolini
    by David I. Kertzer
    The Pope and Mussolini is a riveting account of the parallel rise to power of the authoritarian ...
  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Sailor Twain
by Mark Siegel

Published Mar. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.