The definitive story of the British adventurers who survived the trenches of World War I and went on to risk their lives climbing Mount Everest.
On June 6, 1924, two men set out from a camp perched at 23,000 feet on an ice ledge just below the lip of Everest’s North Col. George Mallory, thirty-seven, was Britain’s finest climber. Sandy Irvine was a twenty-two-year-old Oxford scholar with little previous mountaineering experience. Neither of them returned.
Drawing on more than a decade of prodigious research, bestselling author and explorer Wade Davis vividly re-creates the heroic efforts of Mallory and his fellow climbers, setting their significant achievements in sweeping historical context: from Britain’s nineteen-century imperial ambitions to the war that shaped Mallory’s generation. Theirs was a country broken, and the Everest expeditions emerged as a powerful symbol of national redemption and hope. In Davis’s rich exploration, he creates a timeless portrait of these remarkable men and their extraordinary times.
Davis (Wayfinders), a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, tells the story of how a group of men who survived the unfathomable violence of WWI became obsessed with scaling Mt. Everest. Their quest was not for their own glory but for the psyche of their ravaged country and to reaffirm that the human spirit could soar above the inhumanity that countries perpetrate on one another on the battlefield. As with all his works, Davis relies on impeccable research to go into uncommon detail to outline a backstory that centers on the atrocities of trench warfare, English imperialism in India, and the first European expeditions into Tibet and the Himalayas. He also digs deep into the schooling and upbringing of those who took part in the first Everest expeditions, going so far as to investigate the early same-sex relationships of George Mallory. While Davis takes his time leading up to Mallory's first attempt at the summit, his own exploration experience helps him get into the minds of the climbers, the descriptions of the ascents including the tragic 1922 attempt that saw seven Sherpas lose their lives and the long-unresolved conclusion to the 1924 climb that resulted in Mallory and Andrew Irvine's deaths are as breathtaking and astounding as any previous climbing literature.
Historical , Informative, Suspenseful!
Loved the history in this book! Also liked the way the author wove the background of previous war experiences of the climbers and their personal lives into the beginning of the Everest conquests. I was amazed at the detail of the expeditions but tended to get confused with so many characters and places and mountain positions described continuously. That’s the only fault I found with the book.
Couldn't put the book down. Weaves the important events of the era like WWI into the story brilliantly. What those climbers went through was hard to imagine. Strongly recommended.
Terrible, pointless, boring book
If you are looking for a book that goes into endless and nonsensical detail of the war, then this is for you. If you want coherent details of climbing a mountain, look else where. Stupid book. I was flipping through entire chapters at a time. Worthless!!