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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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From the Back Cover
Adventurers the world over have been inspired by the achievements of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man ever to set foot on the summit of Mount Everest. In this candid, wry, and vastly entertaining autobiography, Hillary looks back on that 1953 landmark expedition, as well as his remarkable explorations in other exotic locales, from the South Pole to the Ganges. VIEW FROM THE SUMMIT is the compelling life story of a New Zealand country boy who daydreamed of wild adventures; the pioneering climber who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth after scaling the world's tallest peak; and the elder statesman and unlikely diplomat whose groundbreaking program of aid to Nepal continues to this day, paying his debt of worldwide fame to the Himalayan region.
More than four decades after Hillary looked down from Everest's 29,000 feet, his impact is still felt -- in our fascination with the perils and triumphs of mountain climbing, and in today's phenomenon of extreme sports. The call to adventure is alive and real on every page of this gripping memoir.
About the Author
Sir Edmund Hillary was born in 1919 in Auckland, New Zealand, and served in the New Zealand Air Force during World War II. Knighted for his ascent of Mount Everest in 1953, he achieved many more adventuring "firsts" before establishing the Himalayan Trust, an organization devoted to improving the lives of the Himalayan people. He has two surviving children by his first wife, Louise, who died in a plane crash with their third child. He is now married to June, widow of his Antarctic partner Peter Mulgrew. Sir Edmund and Lady Hillary live in Auckland.
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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.
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.
Zealander I relived the day it happened.
Most recent customer reviews
by a real hero. I had to follow evil with good.Read more