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Annapurna: The First Conquest of an 8,000-Meter Peak Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Herzog was the least technically able member of the two lead ropes on Annapurna and the only amateur, but he was selected as the expedition leader by the organizers (i.e., financial backers). Before they left France, Herzog made the other climbers sign an oath of silence that they would not speak or write about Annapurna for five years after their return. The result: Herzog's lionization as the "Great White Chief" of the expedition--and, worst of all, Herzog's dastardly attempts to put down and silence Lachenal, who sacrificed his own feet to get Herzog to the summit and bring him off the mountain alive.
Herzog's account of the expedition in Annapurna played to the French public's need for heroes in the post-war era and established Herzog as a national idol (Rebuffat would later write disgustedly about Herzog's "miserable pedestal"). But Herzog told a nationalistic fairy tale that ignored the serious conflicts among the team members and the fact that (Rebuffat again): "Lachenal was the guide [on Annapurna], and Herzog the client.Read more ›
There's just one catch: It isn't really the truth. Beyond simply presenting the viewpoint of one participant, Annapurna involves whitewashing and even, more or less, lies. Dialogue scenes are Herzog's after the fact inventions, and events are manipulated to present a picture of unanimous heroism, with Herzog always in the lead.
I used to recommend this book as a matter of course. Now, I think anyone reading it should read Roberts' True Summit, and the writings of Herzog's team members, as well. That's the only way you'll get any picture of what the first ascent of Annapurna was really like.
I first read this book in the early 1960s as a young teenager. I recall being enthralled by it and amazed at the hardships the climbers endured to bring glory to France. In reading it again as an adult, I find myself still enthralled, but more attuned to the fact that it is written in a somewhat self-serving style.
The book itself chronicles the attempt by the French to climb an 8,000 meter peak in the Himalayas. They had two alternatives: Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. In those days, the Himalayas were largely uncharted and any topographical maps, which existed at the time proved to be largely incorrect. So, the French expedition spent a large portion of their time in reconnaissance. Not only were they there to climb the mountain, they had to find a way to get to it and then map out a route on the unknown terrain to the summit. Ultimately, they chose to climb Annapurna.
In reading this book, one must remember that the climb took place without the sophisticated equipment or protective clothing available today. This was before gortex and freeze-dried foods. This climb was made before Nepal or climbing the Himalayas became a major tourist attraction. The conditions for travelers were extremely primitive and difficult under the best of circumstances.
When the expedition finally finds a route to Annapurna, the reader almost feels like cheering for them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gripping tale! Wonderfully descriptive. One of the best mountaineering books I've read!Published 7 days ago by Mike N
I've read 2 mountaineering books and enjoyed them both. The people are well described and we come to care about them. Read morePublished 1 month ago by janet supowitz
Very vivid in detail especially regarding suffering of climbño
M pj o jiLearned some things about Sherpas I previously had not known' .." B
Great read, could not hardly put it down. I am impressed with the trials that these early climbers had to go thru. Read morePublished 6 months ago by stoneman
Excellent! Amazing climbing, amazing survival story
Is a MUST in mountain books!
One of my favourite books in the world. I read it while doing a trek in the region and it made the book come alive.Published 7 months ago by sonictravels
Historical nonfiction account of mid-20th century ascent. Predictable unfolding of events of a brotherhood of men, blinded with passion and bound in both insanity and glory.Published 8 months ago by Pohng
I wish the people converting this to eBook could have included the hand drawn maps that Maurice Herzog included in the first hardback edition. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Len B
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