Francis Slakey by Matt Girard.jpg

francis slakey

to the last breath

An American Booksellers Association IndieNext Pick

An Amazon Best Book of the Year

“A dramatic account of summiting Everest, getting ambushed in Indonesia and enduring isolation and spiritual depravation in Antarctica… To the Last Breath is a moving tale of self-discovery, right to the last word.” — People

Dr. Francis Slakey's To The Last Breath is the fascinating memoir of a revered scientist's extraordinary personal quest to summit the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean — and how this daunting pursuit not only tested the limits of his physical being, but challenged his long-held intellectual and scientific beliefs and inspired a new understanding of human interdependence.

A gripping adventure of the body and the mind, To The Last Breath is fuelled by superb adventure writing and expanded by riveting science and arresting insight into our relation to the earth and to each other. With echoes of the international bestsellers Into Thin Air and Three Cups of Tea, Dr. Slakey's narrative offers an accessible exploration of the physics and spirit of interconnection.

From an encounter with a Lama who gifts him with a rare and mysterious amulet; to life and death choices of conscience and self-preservation on the treacherous, icy peaks of the world's most awe-inspiring mountains; to an ambush at gunpoint in Indonesia; to falling in love on Everest with the woman who would become his wife, To The Last Breath demonstrates one man's transformation from a single-minded, fiercely rational scientist to a passionate intellect who faces the unknowable power of existence — beyond the grip of the rational mind.

Dr. Francis Slakey is the Upjohn Lecturer on Physics and Public Policy at Georgetown University whose focus is the intersection of science and society. The co-director of the Program on Science in the Public Interest, a Lemelson Associate of the Smithsonian Institution and a MacArthur Scholar, Dr. Slakey has been profiled by NPR, National Geographic and others, and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Slate, and Scientific American.

Published by Simon & Schuster in May, 2012.

More praise for To the Last Breath:

“An exhilarating thrill show for armchair adventurers.” — Vanity Fair

"An adrenaline shot of a book." — The Week

“Compelling and insightful from the get-go." — Washington Post

“More than another tale of high-octane machismo.” — The New York Times

"When a Georgetown physics professor saw his existence becoming mundane, he actually did something about it. This exciting, moving memoir documents his quest to climb the highest mountains and surf every ocean on earth." — Entertainment Weekly  "Must List"