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The Impossible First
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The Impossible First
From Fire to Ice—Crossing Antarctica Alone
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Colin O'Brady's awe-inspiring, New York Times bestselling memoir recounting his recovery from a tragic accident and his record-setting 932-mile solo crossing of Antarctica is a "jaw-dropping tale of...
Colin O'Brady's awe-inspiring, New York Times bestselling memoir recounting his recovery from a tragic accident and his record-setting 932-mile solo crossing of Antarctica is a "jaw-dropping tale of...
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  • Colin O'Brady's awe-inspiring, New York Times bestselling memoir recounting his recovery from a tragic accident and his record-setting 932-mile solo crossing of Antarctica is a "jaw-dropping tale of passion and perseverance" (Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit).
    Prior to December 2018, no individual had ever crossed the landmass of Antarctica alone, without support and completely human powered. Yet, Colin O'Brady was determined to do just that, even if, ten years earlier, there was doubt that he'd ever walk again normally. From the depths of a tragic accident, he fought his way back. In a quest to unlock his potential and discover what was possible, he went on to set three mountaineering world records before turning to this historic Antarctic challenge.

    O'Brady's pursuit of a goal that had eluded many others was made even more intense by a head-to-head battle that emerged with British polar explorer Captain Louis Rudd—also striving to be "the first." Enduring Antarctica's sub-zero temperatures and pulling a sled that initially weighed 375 pounds—in complete isolation and through a succession of whiteouts, storms, and a series of near disasters—O'Brady persevered.

    Alone with his thoughts for nearly two months in the vastness of the frozen continent—gripped by fear and doubt—he reflected on his past, seeking courage and inspiration in the relationships and experiences that had shaped his life.

    "Incredibly engaging and well-written" (The Wall Street Journal)—and set against the backdrop of some of the most extreme environments on earth, from Mt. Everest to Antarctica—this is "an unforgettable memoir of perseverance, survival, daring to dream big, and showing the world how to make the impossible possible" (Booklist, starred review).
 

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About the Author-

  • Colin O'Brady is a ten-time world record breaking explorer, New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur, speaker, and an expert on mindset. He is focused on sharing his hard-won wisdom to encourage others to step outside of their comfort zone and unlock their best lives. Colin's highly publicized expeditions have been seen by millions and his work has been featured by The New York Times, The Tonight Show, BBC, The Joe Rogan Experience, Forbes, and Today. His world-renowned feats include the world's first solo, unsupported, and fully human-powered crossing of Antarctica, speed records for the Explorers Grand Slam and the Seven Summits, as well as the first human-powered row across Drake Passage. He is a regular speaker at Fortune 100 companies like Nike, Google, and Amazon and top Universities including UPenn, Georgetown, and Johns Hopkins. Native to the Pacific Northwest, he now lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with his wife, Jenna Besaw, and dog, Jack. Engage with Colin and his work on social media @ColinOBrady or at ColinOBrady.com.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2020
    The tale of a solo trip across Antarctica, on skis and pulling a sled of supplies. It had never been done before: to make a crossing of Antarctica alone, unsupported and unassisted, via the South Pole, a 930-mile trek in temperatures substantially below zero and wind chills doubling the cold. Undaunted, O'Brady, who experiences a "ferocious, uncontainable optimism that boils over inside me at the beginning of almost any new challenge or adventure," has set a number of speed records in such events as climbing the tallest peaks on all seven of the continents and climbing to the highest ground in each of the 50 states. He is also a triathlete of note, so there was little doubt about his physical preparedness to take on the Antarctic adventure. When he writes about the "inspirational path of the polar pioneers before me, and what they'd taught the world about endurance, strength, and perseverance," you know he is on solid ground. However, this adventure would take more than two months in a formidable, monotonous landscape. As we see, the mental challenges in dealing with such an environment occupied much of his time. O'Brady is a confident, crafty storyteller, and he has plenty of captivating stories to tell about his exploits and his family life, which he intertwines with his voyage. Many of his tales have an underlying theme of audacity accomplished through "grit, purpose, and a growth mindset." He also has a charming partner in his wife, Jenna, and it is a pleasure to see them working together to get through the rough spots, whether winning over a new sponsor or talking the author through especially difficult moments. She helps to humanize O'Brady, so he is not simply a robotic master of control and discipline. This inner saga works hand in hand with the physical challenges to make for a full tapestry of remarkable experience. A brutally sublime tale of derring-do that transports as well as teaches.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from January 1, 2020
    In 2018, O'Brady, an adventurer and endurance athlete from Portland, Oregon, became the first person to cross Antarctica alone, unassisted (no outside help), and unsupported (no resupplies). Pulling a sled brimming with supplies and gear, O'Brady took 54 days to achieve this epic accomplishment, covering 932 miles. Adding to the drama was the unexpected presence of another adventurer racing to achieve the same goal, British Army Captain Louis Rudd. In the course of recounting his harrowing trek, O'Brady also reflects on his life, first as the child of amicably divorced parents, then as a collegiate swimmer at Yale, and to his recovery from a freak accident in Thailand that severely burned his legs (a Thai doctor made the blunt assessment that he would not walk again). Defying odds, O'Brady surpassed expectations to become a professional triathlete and then to embark on various mountaineering challenges, including the Explorers Grand Slam (climbing the "seven summits" and reaching both North and South Poles). And there's romance, too, as he details the relationship with the love of his life, Jenna. An unforgettable memoir of perseverance, survival, daring to dream big, and showing the world how to make the impossible possible.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    January 1, 2020

    Adventure seeker and triathlete O'Brady is drawn to testing human endurance and breaking records. After setting the speed record for climbing the tallest mountain on each continent, he chose a new goal: to be the first person to complete the 932-mile solo expedition across Antarctica while pulling a 375-pound sled with the supplies necessary to survive. Because there have been recent tragedies related to this same feat, Antarctica's rescue team oversees where and when these expeditions can be attempted, putting O'Brady, as well as a fearless British explorer with more experience, in a literal race against each other. With the glory of being the first to complete this impossible task on the line, they battle through blizzard and whiteout conditions, they face a 100-mile stretch of notoriously treacherous ice ridges known as "Sastrugi National Park," and they suffer life-threatening misfortunes due to human error and nature's fury. They experience firsthand how Antarctica's wrath can erode one's sanity while offering clarity as well. For fans of David Grann's The White Darkness and David Roberts's Limits of the Known. VERDICT O'Brady's gripping storytelling will have readers feeling they are right there with him, experiencing the subzero temperatures and blizzards. A feel-good, must-read for fans of adventure stories.--David Miller, Farmville P.L., NC

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2019

    A multiple-record-holding endurance athlete, O'Brady recently became the first person to cross the 932-mile landmass of Antarctica solo, unsupported, and under strictly human power. That he was competing against British polar adventurer Capt. Louis Rudd to achieve this goal is one thing; that he was doing so after being told that he might not walk again following a terrible accident in his early 20s is quite another. With a 250,000-copy first printing and seven-city tour.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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