- Paperback: 688 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; 9.2.2012 edition (October 2, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375708154
- ISBN-13: 978-0375708152
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 277 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest Paperback – October 2, 2012
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Praise for Into the Silence:
"A kaleidoscopic account. . . . Ambitious. . . . Entertaining. . . . Extraordinary."
—The Wall Street Journal
"Brilliantly engrossing. . . . An instant classic of mountaineering literature."
—The Guardian (London)
"Magnificent. . . . Davis tells the full story behind this almost mythic story, imbuing it with historic scope and epic sweep."
—Los Angeles Times
"A masterpiece standing atop its own world, along with the classic Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer."
—Salt Lake City Tribune
"Into the Silence is quite unlike any other mountaineering book. It not only spins a gripping Boy’s Own yarn about the early British expeditions to Everest, but investigates how the carnage of the trenches bled into a desire for redemption at the top of the world. . . . At its heart, Into the Silence is an elegy for a lost generation . . . a magnificent, audacious venture."
—The Sunday Times (London)
"Magnificent. . . . Impressive. . . . A vivid account."
—The Observer (London)
"Utterly compelling. . . . Not only a thorough examination of Mallory’s determined advances on Everest, but also insight into the psyche of post-war England. . . . A mesmerizing story of the human spirit."
"Powerful and profound, a moving, epic masterpiece of literature, history and hope."
—The Times (London)
"A brilliant book. I can’t praise it enough."
"Davis has produced a magnificent, rigorously researched account of the expeditions that set out to regain glory for an empire in decline but, instead, created some of the most enduring legends of the 20th century."
"A magnificent work of scholarship . . . and narrative drive. . . . [Davis] has written far and away the best account of this seminal chapter in the epic history of mountaineering."
"Davis is a fine storyteller. . . . A deep current of sympathy runs through the book. . . . One comes away with a feeling almost of tenderness for these men, of admiration for their stoicism in the face of extreme suffering, and their willingness to risk everything for a transcendent ideal. . . . The quest, finally, is not for the summit of Everest, or even for the story of how it eluded these men, but rather for a complex and compassionate understanding of the world in which they lived and died."
—The Boston Globe
"A gripper of a read . . . Silence revives the cliff’s-edge drama of those Jazz age climbs and drives home the tragedy of Mallory’s death."
"An exceptional book on an extraordinary generation. . . . 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
"Brilliant. . . . The product of a decade’s research, Into the Silence has two supreme strengths, the first of which is the emotional, spiritual and historical context it provides against which to understand the central events. The other is the author’s effortless knack for sketching character."
"Magnificent. . . . Fascinating. . . . To keep this mass of material from bulging out of the narrative is an impressive feat of literary organization and management."
—Geoff Dyer, The Guardian (London)
"Combining the pace of a thriller with a degree of detail as nuanced as any academic study, this is an atmospheric and exhilarating book."
—Time Out (London)
"Profoundly ambitious. . . . Impressive. . . . Monumental. . . . This is perhaps the first book . . . to survey the matter not as a record of high adventure, exploration, mountaineering technique or political history, but as zeitgeist."
—Jan Morris, The Telegraph (London)
"As breathtaking and astounding as any previous climbing literature."
"[Into the Silence] stands as a near masterpiece."
—The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"Mesmerizing. . . . An epic worthy of its epic."
—Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance
"Richly detailed, and often riveting, with vivid portraits of all the players, [Davis’s] book juxtaposes human ambition, courage and adaptive capability with the relentless realities of terrain and weather. It will stand as the definitive treatment of this subject."
"A breathtaking triumph. An astonishing piece of research, it is also intensely moving."
—William Shawcross, author of The Queen Mother
"Davis’s lucid and sometimes haunting prose, his masterly handling of a great volume of material, his vivid portraits of the astonishing cast of characters, and of places as diverse as Newfoundland, the trenches of northern France, and the Tibetan plateau, all contribute to this achievement. . . . A world apart from the gimmicks and media stunts that have surrounded the cult of Mallory and Irvine, Davis’s book stands as a fitting memorial to a story that is at once poignant and stirring."
—The Times Literary Supplement (London)
"Highly absorbing. . . . A heroic attempt to capture the scale of the undertaking to conquer the highest mountain on earth."
—The Newark Star-Ledger
"In recreating their astonishing adventure, Wade Davis has given us an elegant meditation on the courage to carry on."
—George F. Will
About the Author
Wade Davis is the bestselling author of fifteen books, including Into the Silence, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and One River, and is an award-winning anthropologist, ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker. He currently holds the post of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and has been named by the National Geographic Society as one of the Explorers for the Millennium. His work has taken him to East Africa, Borneo, Nepal, Peru, and all over the world, but he spends most of his time between Washington, D.C., and northern British Columbia.
Top customer reviews
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Davis's sourcing is meticulous and flawless. His insights are well-founded and as unbiased as it gets in this kind of work.
He gives us a genuine and unvarnished account of the three British expeditions to Mt. Everest beginning in 1921 and up through the tragic finale in 1924, and an equally honest understanding of and appreciation for the men on those expeditions, not the least of them George Leigh Mallory.
His descriptions of WWI and the Battle of the Somme in particular, are harrowing and provide as complete and traumatizing an understanding as anyone can get without having lived through those horrors. He then paints a vivid picture of the men's quest to seek — sadly in vain — some relief and catharsis for themselves and their country by taking on the king of mountains.
I read it on my Kindle, but I will have a copy of this on my bookshelf and I know this is undoubtedly only the first of many readings I'll give it.
For those who love to read about these adventures, his bibliography is in and of itself a gift to us all.
Wade Davis wrote a masterpiece with "Into the Silence."
The book is really several books in one:
1. A remarkable account of WWl. Some of the most heart wrenching (and graphic) descriptions of the carnage I have ever read. It was shocking and hard to read at times -- and I have read a lot of books about WWl and WWll.
2. A lucid account of "The Great Game." It covered the high points and characters without going into obsessive detail,
3. A history of the major climbers and climbs of the early 20th C., and how this tied in with WWl. The author pays particular attention to how the War affected the psyche of the nation and the climbers.
Into this mix he has astonishing and beautiful descriptions of the search for Everest, the people and their customs, and how (surprising to me) difficult it was to find a way to it.
Now for the slightly problematic elements;
As other reviewers have said, the author does go into astonishing details throughout, and especially so in the search for the mountain itself. Depending upon how much you are interested in this, it is either a strength or a weakness. Also, no matter how interested you are, it is difficult to follow the Tibet/Nepal section without a decent map. The two maps at the back of the book are utterly useless. And that is a damn shame.
This is really the only fault, for me. I liked the detail -- but decent maps would have taken the story to another level. That is an unfortunate feature of just about all Kindle books though and not specific to this one. Amazon tried to remedy this with the "magnifying" feature, but it isn't adequately implemented in this or many books to really matter much.
Most recent customer reviews
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