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Annapurna: First Conquest of an 8000-meter Peak (26,493 feet) Hardcover – 1953


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (1953)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0005212154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0005212158
  • ASIN: B0006AT6W2
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,789,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Before Everest, there was Annapurna. Maurice Herzog led an expedition of French climbers to the summit of this 26,000-foot Himalayan peak in 1950. At the time of the assault, it was the highest mountain ever climbed, a remarkable feat in itself made all the more remarkable by the fact that it had never previously been charted. Herzog and his team not only had to climb the darn thing, they had to find the route. As riveting as the tale of the ascent remains nearly half a century later, the story of the descent through virtually unsurvivable--think avalanche and frostbite, for starters--conditions is unforgettable. Herzog's masterful account, finally back in print, is a monument of courage and spirit, an epic adventure excitingly told. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Those who have never seen the Himalayas...will know that they have been a companion of greatness." --New York Times Book Review
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Great read it was hard to put the book down . . . . . .
Douglas Wolfe
If you liked this book, I encourage you to read my book "Rocky Mountain Adventure Collection".
TJ Burr
I thought this book was solid, a well told story about an epic and ballsy adventure.
Alexander

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

202 of 219 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
I wish I could give this book negative stars! Herzog's self-serving account of the Annapurna expedition has dominated a generation of climbing lore but it does not tell the real story. If you are considering reading this book, please find and read the accounts of the other Annapurna expedition members: legendary mountain guides Lionel Terray and Gaston Rebuffat .... and especially Louis Lachenal, "the panther of the snows," who was recognized (despite being crippled on Annapurna at only 28) as the most brilliant mountaineer of his generation.
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.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By K. Freeman on September 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
As an account of heroism, comradeship and self-sacrifice, this is a stunning book. It's inspired generations of climbers. If you're of a macabre turn of mind, it's worth reading for the frostbite scenes alone.
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.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this book many years ago as a teenager and was enthralled by this story of adventure and tragedy in the exotic setting of the Himalayas. I had recently had the desire to re-read this exciting story and purchased the Kindle edition. The book was every bit as interesting and exciting as I remembered. The only flaw in the Kindle edition, although I have to consider it a serious one, is the lack of the many maps and photographs that were included in the original hard copy. The missing maps in particular made visualizing the descriptions of the expedition locations and routes almost impossible. For this reason alone I think it is worthwhile to hunt down a copy of the original hardback book.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a romanticized, sanitized account of the 1950 French expedition to the Himalayas by its so-called leader, Maurice Herzog. It is a book that is reflective of the times in which it was written. Still, it should be a must read for anyone who is interested in high altitude climbing.

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.
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