"Anyone who has gone over the crest of a roller coaster should wonder why that terror is so much fun. In Falling, Garrett Soden tells the astonishing story of how taking a fall has evolved from an experience that the ancients used as a metaphor for damnation to one so prized that today millions crave its intense rush." "Beginning with the tree-climbing lessons of our earliest ancestors, Soden takes us on a hair-raising tour through the fascinating legacy of nineteenth and twentieth-century gravity pioneers - high-divers who became folk legends; Niagara Falls tight-rope walkers who drew thousands; parachutists who challenged the "certainty" of suffocation during free-fall. It's a story filled with surprising twists and unlikely heroes, from the drunken British carousers who invented bungee jumping to the California street punks who launched skateboards skyward. With in-depth interviews of personalities such as BMX bike star Mat Hoffman and stuntwoman Nancy Thurston, Soden offers firsthand views of those who have taken falling to the absolute extreme." "Soden also details the extraordinary impact falling has had on human evolution, culture, mythology, religion, and language. We learn how sixty-five million years of treetop living turned our ancestors into acrobatic prodigies, jump-starting our tool-making future with the gifts of an opposable thumb, a larger brain, and perhaps even consciousness itself. We discover why falling is a universal metaphor for failure; why some people love falling while others hate it (blame it on our genes); and what this says about our tastes in food, music, politics, religion, and sex."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
how our greatest fear became our greatest thrill : a history
New York :, W.W. Norton,, 2003.
viii, 327 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.
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