Climbing the Mountain by P-SimonSchuster

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With the simple power and astonishing candor that made his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman's Son, a number one international bestseller, Kirk Douglas now shares his quest for spirituality and Jewish identity -- and his heroic fight to overcome crippling injuries and a devastating stroke.On February 13, 1991, at the age of seventy-four, Kirk Douglas, star of such major motion-picture classics as Champion, Spartacus, and Paths of Glory, was in a helicopter crash, in which two people died and he himself sustained severe back injuries. As he lay in the hospital recovering, he kept wondering: Why had two younger men died while he, who had already lived his life fully, survived?The question drove this son of a Russian-Jewish ragman to a search for his roots and on a long journey of self-discovery -- a quest not only for the meaning of life and his own relationship with God, but for his own identity as a Jew. Through the study of the Bible, Kirk Douglas found a new spirituality and purpose. His newfound faith deeply enriched his relationship with his own children and taught him -- a man who had always been famously demanding and impatient -- to listen to others and, above all, to hear his own inner voice.Told with warmth, wit, much humor, and deep passion, Climbing the Mountain is inspirational in the very best sense of the word.

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									Climbing the Mountain
Author: Kirk Douglas
Description

With the simple power and astonishing candor that made his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman's Son, a
number one international bestseller, Kirk Douglas now shares his quest for spirituality and Jewish identity
-- and his heroic fight to overcome crippling injuries and a devastating stroke.On February 13, 1991, at the
age of seventy-four, Kirk Douglas, star of such major motion-picture classics as Champion, Spartacus,
and Paths of Glory, was in a helicopter crash, in which two people died and he himself sustained severe
back injuries. As he lay in the hospital recovering, he kept wondering: Why had two younger men died
while he, who had already lived his life fully, survived?The question drove this son of a Russian-Jewish
ragman to a search for his roots and on a long journey of self-discovery -- a quest not only for the
meaning of life and his own relationship with God, but for his own identity as a Jew. Through the study of
the Bible, Kirk Douglas found a new spirituality and purpose. His newfound faith deeply enriched his
relationship with his own children and taught him -- a man who had always been famously demanding and
impatient -- to listen to others and, above all, to hear his own inner voice.Told with warmth, wit, much
humor, and deep passion, Climbing the Mountain is inspirational in the very best sense of the word.
Excerpt

Chapter 2Ushi had seen the whole thing. She had witnessed David and Lee's fiery death, and she stood
frozen by the side of the runway. One of the blades ripped from the helicopter by the impact had flown
toward her, crashing into and damaging a parked plane near where she was standing, but she hadn't
noticed. Wanting to help me get out of the wreckage, she ran through the falling fiery debris, not hearing
someone screaming, "Get away, it's gonna blow!" She scrambled helplessly to the top of the overturned
helicopter to reach the door, the engine still running and leaking fuel. Finally, the warnings penetrated:
"Get away, it's gonna blow." The person screaming at her was a flight mechanic named Darryl who had
been working in a nearby hangar. He ran toward the wreckage. Unlike Ushi, who was oblivious to the
dangers, Darryl, a former medic who served in Vietnam, knew that the helicopter could blow at any
moment. Yet he risked his life to save perfect strangers. Now that's a hero. Darryl passed Mike, the
copilot, who had been thrown free from the wreckage and was crawling away, and reached into the
cockpit -- past the bleeding and badly injured Noel -- and turned off the motor. Atop the helicopter Ushi
looked down into the carcass of the passenger compartment. She could see me huddled in a heap at the
bottom, one side of my face covered with blood. Her first thought was that I was dead. Often, when I am
asked about the accident today, people want to know what I experienced at that moment. Did I see a
long tunnel with a blazing white light at the other end? Sorry, I saw and heard nothing. If it was there, I
missed the show. They tell me that within minutes policemen, firemen and ambulances converged, and
that I was moaning, "My back, my back." Fearing a spine injury, the firemen had to strap me to a
backboard before they could lift me out of the wreckage. In such a small space, they had to lower one of
their buddies upside down, holding him by the legs so that he could strap me up properly. While they
were working on this awkward task, Ushi called my wife. Anne was in her office finishing up her work. We
had a dinner date with friends that night, and she still had to have her hair and nails done. The phone
rang. "Don't worry, Anne," Ushi reported breathlessly. "There was a helicopter crash, but Kirk is all right.
He just has some cuts on his face and probably a couple ribs are broken." To Ushi, what she was saying
was great news. Only minutes before she thought I was dead. In comparison, a few broken ribs were
nothing. Meanwhile, Anne pictured me as a bleeding and broken mess. She was in shock but pulled
herself together and called our son Peter and Eric. She didn't want them to hear it from the new media.
And, sure enough, as she was talking to the boys, TV and newspaper reporters were already calling on
the other line. Peter and Eric quickly met her at the office, where the prepared to drive up to Santa Paula,
a two-hour ride. Panic-stricken, Peter called the police to ask for an escort to get the more quickly. He
was told that would not help -- rush hour had started, and traffic north of Los Angeles was already bumper
to bumper. At the same airport where our helicopter had been scheduled to land, he got a helicopter to fly
the three of them to the Santa Paula Memorial Hospital. I have no remembrance of being pulled out of the
wreckage put in an ambulance and brought to the emergency room. I have no recollection of X rays, CAT
scans and the doctors'...
Author Bio
Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, is one of Hollywood's greatest stars, with more than eighty films to
his credit. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.<br/>
Reviews

Corageous....Thoughtful in its questions....Engaging.



The sincerity and simplicity of this memoir make it almost impossible to criticize.



Kirk Douglas' memoir, Climbing the Mountain, is one terrific book.

								
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