Books

ONE BREATH - Cover

Indolirium

Tag along on an insomnia-addled journey through the cities, villages and way out wilds of Indonesia. In 2012, I embarked on what I thought would be a painless three month assignment in a country I knew well, only to find my marriage and life threatened and my mind unravel as I groped for light in the darkness.

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One Breath

One Breath, my first narrative non-fiction book, was published by Crown Archetype (a Penguin Random House imprint) on January 12, 2016. It’s about the extreme yet poetic sport of competitive freediving and the life and death of Nicholas Mevoli, America’s greatest freediver. A blend of two of my favorite books, Into The Wild and The Wave, One Breath traces Mevoli’s life from his Florida childhood to the anti-establishment punk squats in West Philadelphia to the streets of a blooming Bohemia in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to his record breaking career in the sport he loved. Along the way we bounce between Mevoli’s life and the 2014 freediving season where we explore the sport’s greatest athletes and rivalries, and hear from pathologists and doctors researching Mevoli’s death. What they discover raises the stakes for the world’s best divers who remain compelled to risk death in order to go deeper than they ever have before.

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Advance Praise

One Breath could stand comfortably alongside classics of extreme-sports journalism such as Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air.
-James McConnachie, The Sunday Times

A powerful story about a dangerous, beautiful sport and an unforgettable young man. Skolnick tells his tale with passion and affection for his subject, but also with an admirable journalistic integrity. In the process, he takes us to distant worlds—underwater universes most of us will never know—where humans are challenged to the utmost limits of being.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed

One Breath plunges readers into a liquid kingdom of immense beauty and ever-present danger, and introduces us to the singular characters who have found themselves drawn deeper and deeper into this realm. Adam Skolnick has written a captivating, page-turning book about a world that few will ever visit, but that everyone should know.
—Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil’s Teeth, The Wave and Voices in the Ocean

Why anyone would take a deep breath and dive the depth of a football field is beyond me. Why anyone would write about the extreme sport of freediving becomes clear within the first pages of this stunning book, both an ode to freediving and a warning that the sea is deep, dark and dangerous. Skolnick’s investigation reveals the perilous passions of freediving’s elite corps, who share a poetic language of foreboding: the drop, on the line, freefall, white cards, the squeeze. He’s captured the glory and euphoria of a fast growing sport that attracts a fearless cast of misfits, yogis and rebels all drawn to the dreamy glide straight down the gullet of a column of blue turning to black. Deeply researched and beautifully written.
—Neal Thompson, author of A Curious Man, Driving With the Devil and Light This Candle

One Breath is a gripping heroic tragedy – it reminds us why the edge-seekers inspire us, and how we live through them, even as they break our hearts. The desire to push limits and the spiritual dimension of sport – the desire to commit and immerse ourselves to the hilt – speak powerfully to those of us who barely snorkel, much less freedive. In his portrayal of Nick Mevoli, Skolnick illuminates what it means to be young: how passion, physical vitality and innocence blur the line between brave and idiotic, inspired and crazy. Pushing the limits of human capability will always ride that line, and One Breath does a masterful job of illuminating that quest and all the love and loss around it.”
—J.C. Herz, author of Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness

“Freediving is like a love affair with death— — a journey into a lightless mystery. What is it in the human heart that draws athletes toward such perilous territory? In telling the astonishing story of Nick Mevoli’s life, Adam Skolnick becomes the first writer to fully explain this sport and its insane appeal. The result is a first-rate adventure story and a deeply-reported psychological profile of a man whose urges drove him to the ultimate test of endurance.
—Tom Zoellner, author of Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock that Shaped the World

“With echoes of Jon Kraukauer’s Into the Wild, Skolnick weaves together a portrait of a young man who died in his effort to embrace a life defined by the pursuit of what he loved. A mesmerizing and haunting tale by a very fine writer.
—Neal Bascomb, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mile and Hunting Eichmann

 


 

Other Books: Lonely Planet

A Lonely Planet author since 2007, I’ve also written over 30 guidebooks and other titles for the world’s number one travel publisher, covering destinations as wide ranging as Indonesia and Portugal, Thailand and Nicaragua, Costa Rica and East Timor, as well as Mexico, Hawaii and a number of destinations within the continental United states.

One Breath: Freediving, Death and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits

One Breath: Freediving, Death and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits

One Breath is a gripping and powerful exploration of the strange and fascinating sport of freediving, and of the tragic, untimely death of America’s greatest freediver Competitive freediving—a sport built on diving as deep as possible on a single breath—tests the limits of human ability in the most hostile environment on earth. The unique and eclectic breed of individuals who freedive at the highest level regularly dive hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface, reaching such depths that their organs compress, light disappears, and one mistake could kill them. Even among freedivers, few have ever gone as deep as Nicholas Mevoli. A handsome young American with an unmatched talent for the sport, Nick was among freediving’s brightest stars. He was also an extraordinary individual, one who rebelled against the vapid and commoditized society around him by relentlessly questing for something more meaningful and authentic, whatever the risks. So when Nick Mevoli arrived at Vertical Blue in 2013, the world’s premier freediving competition, he was widely expected to challenge records and continue his meteoric rise to stardom. Instead, before the end of that fateful competition Nick Mevoli had died, a victim of the sport that had made him a star, and the very future of free diving was called into question. With unparalleled access and masterfully crafted prose, One Breath tells his unforgettable story, and of the sport which shaped and ultimately destroyed him. More info →
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Lonely Planet: Pocket Los Angeles

Lonely Planet: Pocket Los Angeles

This pocket guide to all things Los Angeles is like having a local on your shoulder steering you away from the generic and towards the special. We profile the biggies, like Hollywood Boulevard & the Walk of Fame, the Griffith Observatory and the Getty Center, and spotlight hip restaurants and bars as well as wonderful day hikes and the best beaches in Southern California. More info →
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Lonely Planet: Los Angeles, San Diego & Southern California

Lonely Planet: Los Angeles, San Diego & Southern California

Southern California revealed. Find that perfect beach just in time for sunset, sample LA’s best sushi, belly up to the ideal downtown bar at Happy Hour, and explore all the museums, attractions, backroads, markets and trails that make Southern California so damned livable. All of it comes with in depth history and cultural know how to feed the brain and augment your experience. More info →
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Lonely Planet Thailand

Lonely Planet Thailand

The world’s best selling guide to Thailand. I covered the Andaman Coast from Ko Lipe and the Malaysian border to Ranong and the Myanmar frontier, by car, motorbike, longtail and ferry, to bring you the very best of Thailand’s west coast. More info →
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Lonely Planet Thailand’s Islands and Beaches

Lonely Planet Thailand’s Islands and Beaches

Skip the city and find Thailand’s out of the way beaches, secret islands and hidden secrets. For the past six years I’ve explored every town, island, and beach on the Andaman Coast. This guide delivers the best of the best. More info →
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Lonely Planet Mexico

Lonely Planet Mexico

The world’s top-selling guide to Mexico. I covered the ground between Acapulco to Mazatlan, and if sand and sea, good seafood and cold beer are what you crave, follow my trail along the Central Pacific Coast. More info →
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Lonely Planet Hawaii

Lonely Planet Hawaii

Beloved by all for her peerless climate and countless charms, all the islands are covered in depth by some of Lonely Planet’s best authors. I covered Kauai, and fell in love with island, which became my second home. Follow my trail and you’ll see why. More info →
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Lonely Planet Great Journeys

Lonely Planet Great Journeys

Have you dreamed of a travel experience where the journey is as much a part of the pleasure as the destination itself? Great Journeys presents more than 70 of the greatest journeys you could undertake, from ancient trails, like Machu Picchu, through to modern classics, like Route 66. Let Lonely Planet tell you what it feels like to take the trip and give you the information you need to start bringing your dreams to life. Explore the world! More info →
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Lonely Planet Indonesia

Lonely Planet Indonesia

I’ve covered Indonesia for Lonely Planet since 2007, and have been to over 40+ islands in what has become my favorite country in the world. All of its gifts are laid bare here. I covered Nusa Tengarra and Maluku, where intricate cultures, mind-blowing coral reefs, endemic wildlife, and regional cuisine are all yours to enjoy. Not to mention, countless volcanoes and white sand beaches. More info →
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Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok

Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok

The best selling guide to Bali, offers details like where, when and how to get swept up in fleeting temple processions, find serenity at a lavish Balinese spa, and be dazzled by masked dancers. I covered the Lombok portion, which meant perfect beaches, spectacular scuba diving, epic waves and much more. More info →
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Indolirium

Indolirium

Tag along on an insomnia-addled journey through the cities, villages and way out wilds of Indonesia. In 2012, an award-winning journalist and travel writer embarked on what he thought would be a painless three month assignment in a country he knew well, only to find his marriage and life threatened and his mind unravel as he groped for light in the darkness. The story unfolds in 81 verses of poetry and prose that recalls Jack Kerouac's Mexico City Blues. More info →
Buy from Amazon