Into the Silence
The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest
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|Format:||Paperback, 672 pages|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 01 September 2011|
If the quest for Mount Everest began as a grand imperial gesture, as redemption for an empire of explorers that had lost the race to the Poles, it ended as a mission of regeneration for a country and a people bled white by war. Of the 26 British climbers who, on three expeditions (1921-24), walked 400 miles off the map to find and assault the highest mountain on Earth, twenty had seen the worst of the fighting. Six had been severely wounded, two others nearly killed by disease at the Front, one hospitalized twice with shell shock. Three as army surgeons dealt for the duration with the agonies of the dying. Two lost brothers, killed in action. All had endured the slaughter, the coughing of the guns, the bones and barbed wire, the white faces of the dead. In a monumental work of history and adventure, ten years in the writing, Wade Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept on climbing on that fateful day. His answer lies in a single phrase uttered by one of the survivors as they retreated from the mountain: "The price of life is death." Mallory walked on because for him, as for all of his generation, death was but "a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, evsery day." As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. They were not cavalier, but death was no stranger. They had seen so much that it had no hold on them. What mattered was how one lived, the moments of being alive. For all of them Everest had become an exalted radiance, a sentinel in the sky, a symbol of hope in a world gone mad.
About the Author
Wade Davis is the best-selling author of more than a dozen books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow and One River, and is an award-winning anthropologist.
SHORTLISTED FOR THIS YEAR'S SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE. A monumental work of history, biography and adventure - the First World War, Mallory and Mount Everest
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. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In 1924, British climbers George Mallory and Andrew "Sandy" Irvine, as part of that year's British Mount Everest Expedition, disappeared as they attempted to be the first climbers ever to reach the summit. The mystery of their fate has long haunted the mountaineering world, with many books on the topic. Few can compare to the sheer scope and depth here. Anthropologist Davis (National Geographic explorer-in-residence) moves beyond mountaineering history to delve into the history of British involvement in the Himalayas and the backgrounds of the many players in the British quest to conquer Everest. Davis focuses on the importance of World War I in shaping the worldviews of the expedition members and their backers. Describing in harrowing detail the wartime experiences of many of the climbers, Davis uses the Everest quest as a prism through which to examine the vast changes wrought by the war. VERDICT While well written, meticulously researched, and full of gripping descriptions, this work may overwhelm some readers with its epic scope. Best suited to serious readers and scholars interested in World War I, the British Empire in Asia, and mountaineering history. Those seeking a more biographical focus may consider Peter and Leni Gillman's The Wildest Dream: The Biography of George Mallory. [See Prepub Alert, 4/4/11.]-Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"I was captivated. Wade Davis has penned an exceptional book on an extraordinary generation. They do not make them like that any more. And there would always only ever be one Mallory. From the pathos of the trenches to the inevitable tragedies high on Everest this is a book deserving of awards. Monumental in its scope and conception it nevertheless remains hypnotically fascinating throughout. A wonderful story tinged with sadness." -- Joe Simpson, Author Of Touching The Void "Wade Davis's mesmerizing telling of Mallory's fabled story gives new and revealing weight to the significance of its post-war era and to Mallory's dazzlingly accomplished and courageous companions. Into the Silence succeeds not only because Davis's research has been prodigious, but because every sentence has been struck with conviction, every image evoked with fierce reverence-for the heartbreaking twilight era, for the magnificent resilience of its survivors, for their mission, for Mallory, for his mountain. An epic worthy of its epic." -- Caroline Alexander, Author Of The Endurance And The War That Killed Achilles "Into the Silence is a breathtaking triumph. An astonishing piece of research, it is also intensely moving, evoking the courage, chivalry, and sacrifice that drove Mallory and his companions through the war and to ever greater heights" -- William Shawcross, Author Of The Queen Mother "INTO THE SILENCE is utterly fascinating, and grippingly well-written. With extraordinary skill Wade Davis manages to weave together such disparate strands as Queen Victoria's Indian Raj, the 'Great Game' of intrigue against Russia, the horrors of the Somme, and Britain's obsession to conquer the world's highest peak, all linking to that terrible moment atop Everest when Mallory fell to his death. The mystery of whether he and Irving ever reached the summit remains tantalisingly unsolved." -- Alistair Horne "The meticulously researched and definitive account of a legend... Fascinating and immensely enjoyable" -- Leo Houlding, Rock Climber
|Publisher: ||The Bodley Head Ltd|
|Dimensions: ||23.0 x 15.0 x 3.0 centimeters (0.84 kg)|