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View from the Summit: The Remarkable Memoir by the First Person to Conquer Everest Paperback – May 1, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
View from the Summit is an autobiographical look back at a large and heroic life. After sharing the conquest of Everest with Tensing Norgay in 1953, Hillary went on to accomplish many more firsts, any of which would have been enough to crown most people heroes. He travelled by farm tractor to the South Pole (poking the British leader of the Trans Antarctic Expedition seriously in the eye in the process). He led an expedition of New Zealand-designed jet boats up the Ganges. He was the first man to stand at both poles and the summit of Everest.
The achievement that stands out most clearly for Hillary though, is his lifetime of work in the Himalayas, building schools, airfields and hospitals. Using his fame to maximum effect, he travelled widely seeking donations, then returned to the mountains he will be forever associated with to give something back to the people who made his triumph possible.
But all these stories have been already told, and were it to merely retell them, View from the Summit would be little more than an anthology. What makes this book most rewarding is its insights into the man behind the stories. The beekeeper. The RNZAF navigator. The husband and father. In looking back on his epic life, Sir Edmund Hillary shows that mountains, rivers and icecaps are nothing compared to the peaks of human achievement, courage and compassion that he so well embodies.
Why look for heroes at the movies or in cartoons? Read this book and see how an ordinary bloke from New Zealand conquered the world's highest mountain - then went looking for more.
I found the book fascinating, and Sir Hillary's writing style very engaging. If you are not familiar with certain mountaineering terms, or Nepalize culture, you may need to look up some words that he uses, but I enjoyed broadening my vocabulary as well.
The most meaningful parts of the book to me were Hillary's efforts to lead the way in helping the Sherpas by building schools, hospitals, and pipelines. Also, the chapters detailing his upbringing give you a good idea of how far he had come from his early days in a beekeeper's family. The chapter about the plane crash in Nepal that took the lives of his wife and daughter was extremely emotional.
However, the book does have its slow moments. I found the sections about the journey to the South Pole to be tedious and confusing. A good map would have helped. Hillary's writing style is fairly pedestrian, but he does give a number of examples of where he thought he fell short as a person, husband, and father. His extreme confidence in his own abilities shows through during the book.
All in all, the book is certainly worth reading if you are interested in Edmund Hillary or mountain climbing.
We can see his sneakiness in going for the south pole despite orders not to, we can see his dedication to the people of Nepal, we can see his somewhat estranged relationship with Tenzing and the tensions that arose after Tenzing said he had reached the summit first. The discussion is a futile one, but it seems to put a damper on the relationship.
In this book we also follow his life, not just his great conquests. We see the backstage of the lecture circuit he went through after Everest, then the honors he received and his attempt to maintain some normalcy in his life. Overall, it is a very good life book, and despite it being filled with adventures, we see the character of a person that is much more than simply an adventurer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book which was a well written account of Sir Ed and Tensings climb. As a New
Zealander I relived the day it happened.
Such a good insight into Sir Edmund Hillary's life, there was so much i didn't know about him until i read this and now i have a whole new respect for such an amazing manPublished 23 months ago by Lou-Ellen Varty
I, read a book a day and had to follow a book that I read on Goering
by a real hero. I had to follow evil with good. Read more
this book came Just as described. It was a purchase for a school report for my child. It was very helpful in getting her some more details of this event. Read morePublished on December 8, 2011 by Me
On the plus side, this is indeed a proper 'boys own' story and is very well written. Unfortunately, the reader becomes quickly aware of the arrogance of Hillary. Read morePublished on January 11, 2007 by Russell Sheehan
I remember how exciting it was for those of us in London for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation (on June 2, 1953) to find out that Mount Everest had been climbed at last! Read morePublished on October 28, 2004 by Jill Malter