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I loved this book. There are some parts where it drags a bit and the order of things seems a bit confusing at times. However, I learned so much about the geopolitical history of India and Tibet. It's been a number of years since I've read this, but I still think back to the men who charted this area of the Himalayas and the men who attempted to climb Everest mostly with awe, and for some with disdain. It is a fascinating history.
Epic read, that takes you from the trenches of WW1 to unforgiving environment of Everest.
A great read that describes in detail the background story of three British expeditions ( 1921, 1922, and 1924) to climb Mount Everest. Many of the team members also served in the trenches of World War One, and the author describes their traumatic experiences quite vividly. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the conditions these men endured while attempting to climb the world's highest mountain. The clothing and gear they had were primitive and not adequate for Himalayan climbing; it's amazing that more of these climbers didn't perish on these expeditions. It's a long book, took me about a month to get through, but I only average about ten pages a day.
Wonderful book celebrating curiosity, ingenuity and bravery. The World War I context was tediously long. But the rest of the book is fascinating, for so ,many reasons. The audio book is an excellent version, perfectly narrated.
Excellently written, extensively researched. How did the WWI get to be so poorly fought, what were the Brits thinking? Good to see Wheeler's (Canadian) contribution to Mallory's first attempt so well documented.
I recommend Wade Davis' book for omnivores with an interest in any of the following: uncharted exploration, larger-than-life characters, a world changing at unprecedented speed, World War I, climbing, Tibetan Buddhism, technology, politics, social class, empires rising and falling, and more.
It sounds chaotic but Davis weaves it all together so well that before you tire of one topic, another rises to catch your attention.
Spoiler alert on a few good stories: one of the principal Everest explorers had both legs nearly severed in World War I - his physician advised him to avoid walking uphill.
Another climber previously explored the source of the Nile and averted a rhino charge by opening a pink umbrella in its face. The lucky pink umbrella also survived the trip to Tibet (they don't make 'em like that any more)
A great book to read before Remembrance Day to be reminded of the sacrifices made by Allied soldiers during the First World War. Wade Davis provides a great story, very well researched, that describes in detail what was an act of "imperial redemption" following wartime destruction. A great read...
Excellent book! Wade Davis researched for 10 years to complete this book - lots of detail and very interesting - still leaves you wondering if Mallory & Irvine ever reached the summit of Everest.
Though I agree with other readers that this is, indeed, an excellent account of the early exploration of Tibet and Everest, I found the book to be long and at times rambling. There are points where the story slows down to a crawl, the story was often bogged down extraneous, unnecessary detail -some of the gory details of the early Afgan wars could have been easily omitted. I am an avid reader of all things related to Everest, and yet I found this book didn't meet my expectations.
For those who enjoy reading about mountaineering expeditions, this book delivers epic adventure, tragedy, and a detailed look at the social and historical context. From the days of the “Great Game” to the aftermath of World War I, this book captures an era. George Mallory and most of the other climbers were products of the British public school system—extraordinarily tough athletes who wrote poetry, painted, spoke numerous languages, and tackled Everest in wool coats and leather boots. Having endured the horror of the trenches, the quest to conquer Everest was a search for renewal and redemption for the climbers as well their country.
Well researched, well written. Very detailed, especially in the latter part of the book. The chapters on the War are absolutely horrific and illuminate the development of the character and mind set of the men that set off into the unknown in Asia. Doesn't explain the modern people that still climb Everest, though. It is truly amazing that those men were able to achieve what they did with the technology and equipment they had available to them. An enjoyable read and an interesting thesis, though I found myself skipping over much of the minute detail of the treks into the mountains. For anyone interested in George Mallory and Everest, this is an illuminating read.
A fantastic book. There are a lot of facets - history, adventure, psychology to name a few. It's long read but really rewarding and definitely deserved the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize in Non-Fiction. Thanks Wade Davis!
detailed personal accounts, in depth research, politics involved, international relations, symbolism post WWI, first hand horrendous accounts of the meaningless and folly of war, decisions made that changed the outcome, endurance and perseverance, extreme hardship some people can endure, adventurous spirit, imperialism, commercialism
One of the best books I have read for a long time. The depth and thoroughness of the research are amazing. The author paints a picture of a particular British social class at home, at war and in India from the 1880's to the 1920's. The descriptions of the trench warfare, the inane decisons of the commanders and the heroism of the medical staff are amazing. A great read, an easy read but a slow read because of the fascinating detail about places and people, famous and obscure. This book also has what simliar boos often lack: clear, easily read maps.
This is probably the most thoroughly researched book I've ever read and yet it's easy to read. The first few chapters on WWI, in my opinion, should be compulsory reading for young adults everywhere. Davis makes clear the tenor of the times which allowed and encouraged the kinds of mind-numbing slaughter that happened on the European battlefields of WWI, and this helped me understand better how that sort of waste of human lives can happen. These chapters are also the perfect beginning for this book in that we see how the characters of many of the early Everest climbers were forged by their war experience. I've read many books on Everest climbs yet, to me, this was the most enlightening and educational of all of them. The story is told simply, but with compelling details that allow the reader to 'be there' - and a book on Everest is about as close as I want to get!
A "massive, richly contextualized and minutely researched account of the ill-fated 1924 Mount Everest expedition, which cost intrepid British mountaineer, George Mallory, his life."
Dense but oh-so-interesting! Davis has researched this book for years and years, and - as always - his writing is clear and accessible. Some people call World War I " one of the worst tragedies humankind brought upon ourselves". Davis, though his focus is on Mallory, explores and finds threads connecting British imperialism,
World War I and the history of mountaineering in Britain and in the Himalayas.