6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Long and Arduous Climb,
This review is from: Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Before I read "Into the Silence", I was very aware of the dramatic end of the Mallory/Irvine expedition to Mt. Everest. Two talented climbers just disappeared, and only recently have remains been found to indicate what actually happened. What I was not aware of was the treacherous political path that lead to the British expeditions to conquer the mountain. That journey was fraught with intrique and political posturing. The desire of 20th century geographers to triangulate and calculate the actual shape of the earth was a driving force in creating an expedition, and the story of just getting to go to Mt. Everest is a fascinating story.
Of course, expeditions into the Death Zone on these very high and difficult mountains have become, in the 21st century, available not so much to true mountaineers, but to the well-heeled, so it is easy to forget what a formidable undertaking it was to reach that elusive summit of the world's tallest mountain. . This meticulously researched book tells the tale of the Great War and its horrendous impact on a generation of young men. A few of these young men found vindication on the slopes of Mt. Everest. One of these was George Mallory. Haunted by a British public school upbringing and stymied by years of teaching in that system, Mallory manages to join his peers on the bloody battlefields of Europe. While he returns physically unscathed, he is as troubled beneath the surface as any of the veterans of that dreadful war. His amazing talent for climbing exhibited in his youth was his saving grace, and the undertaking to conquer Everest was his opportunity to break free of the stigma of war. That Mallory was lost on the mountain is a poignant finish to a fascinating account.
This is an all-absorbing read, and, if you like to get lost in a true tale of valor and tragedy that follows the evolution of human and earth science in the early and mid 20th century, you will truly enjoy this book immensely. It offers facts I never encountered before about a time we cannot afford to forget. Carried by a strong narrative, this book is difficult to put down. I suggest buying it in hardback, though. In its uncorrected proof state, bound in paper, it is an unruly book to handle. I hope, too, that there are illustrations in the final publication because I found myself going to the internet again and again to see what this person or that person looked like.
Into the Silence