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Includes the name: Mick Conefrey

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Works by Mick Conefrey

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Common Knowledge

20th Century



I wanted to read this book because I had read Wade Davis' epic "Into The Silence" earlier this year and wanted to understand why it had taken almost 50 years from Mallory and Irvine's near miss (or possibly not) to Hillary and Tenzing's triumph in 1953. That question is answered in the first couple of chapters and what follows is a very clear and well organised account of the 1953 expedition and its immediate precursors. The author manages the difficult task of building tension as move towards a climax of which we are already well aware.
I enjoyed this book enormously; it is a book for general readers rather than climbing enthusiasts (although they will enjoy it too. Unlike "Into The Silence" it, thankfully does not spend too long on the journey to the mountains. What struck me most was that very little had changed between the twenties and the fifties; the organisations at home in Britain seemed as stuffy as ever; the technology, particularly in relation to oxygen was almost unchained; and the enthusiastic amateurism was still the rule, rather than the exception.
Highly recommended.
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johnwbeha | 1 other review | Nov 18, 2015 |
This was fun and educational. I now have some names to look up for more in depth reading on female explorers.
mlake | 1 other review | Apr 28, 2015 |
Some of these travelers are too good to be true. What were they thinking? But there's a lot of "She was the first woman to " -- and when we suddenly got up to the 1970s, I put the book down.
picardyrose | 1 other review | Nov 23, 2014 |
This was a very absorbing account of the famous first successful climbing of Everest. The lives and differing motivations and temperaments of the climbers (and there are a large team of them, a lot more than two) are well described and the reader gets to know them as individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses. The sheer effort and endurance needed to climb the mountain is brought across very clearly - the many failures and near successes that preceded the final successful ascent by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing, under the overall expedition leadership of John Hunt. This was undoubtedly a tremendous achievement, but one which was partly undermined by later arguments motivated by nationalism and excessive competitiveness often whipped up by the press and by political and other factions for narrow ends. So, for example, the question of whether Hillary or Tenzing was the first to set foot on the summit achieved huge symbolic attention in Britain, India and Nepal, and the differing versions of the facts were played out against a narrative of a newly evolving post-colonial world; whereas the climbers all to a man saw their success as being down to teamwork and interdependency of their differing skills as mountaineers. This is then a fascinating story, not just for the geographical achievement, but also for the light it sheds on human attitudes towards such achievements. 5/5… (more)
john257hopper | 1 other review | Jun 26, 2013 |


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