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Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest

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Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest  Cover

ISBN13: 9780375708152
ISBN10: 0375708154
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Awards

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On June 6, 1924, two men set out from a camp perched at 23,000 feet on an ice ledge just below the lip of Mount Everest’s North Col. George Mallory, thirty-seven, was Britain’s finest climber. Sandy Irvine was a young Oxford scholar of twenty-two with little previous mountaineering experience. Neither of them returned.

In this magisterial work of history and adventure, based on more than a decade of prodigious research in British, Canadian, and European archives, and months in the field in Nepal and Tibet, Wade Davis vividly re-creates British climbers’ epic attempts to scale Mount Everest in the early 1920s. With new access to letters and diaries, Davis recounts the heroic efforts of George Mallory and his fellow climbers to conquer the mountain in the face of treacherous terrain and furious weather. Into the Silence sets their remarkable achievements in sweeping historical context: Davis shows how the exploration originated in nineteenth-century imperial ambitions, and he takes us far beyond the Himalayas to the trenches of World War I, where Mallory and his generation found themselves and their world utterly shattered.  In the wake of the war that destroyed all notions of honor and decency, the Everest expeditions, led by these scions of Britain’s elite, emerged as a symbol of national redemption and hope.

Beautifully written and rich with detail, Into the Silence is a classic account of exploration and endurance, and a timeless portrait of an extraordinary generation of adventurers, soldiers, and mountaineers the likes of which we will never see again.

Review:

"Davis’s book, ten years in the writing, is highly absorbing narrative....A heroic attempt to capture the scale of the undertaking to conquer the highest mountain on earth." Michael Jeffries, The Newark Star-Ledger

Review:

"A magnificent, audacious venture...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. Many of those Himalayan explorers, including Mallory, had served in the corpse-ridden fields of northern France. Indeed, of the 26 men who climbed in the three expeditions, 20 had seen front-line action. Six had been severely wounded, two others hospitalized by disease at the front, and one treated for shell shock. All had seen dozens of friends and countrymen die. For these veterans, the author argues, death had lost its power....At its heart, Into the Silence is an elegy for a lost generation." Ed Caesar, The Sunday Times

Review:

"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." Bruce Barcott, Outside

Review:

"The men in this story had, for the most part, been young in 1914, bright and energetic and full of dreams. By 1918 those who had survived had seen and done things that no one should have to know about, and Davis does a magnificent job detailing their experiences, setting up the rest of the story — the expeditionary saga — as a logical response, even an inspired rejoinder to the soul-destroying realities of war...it is perhaps the book’s signature achievement that [Davis] keeps the narrative zipping along toward its inexorable and tragic conclusion while so thoroughly and persuasively contextualizing key events." Christina Thompson, The Boston Globe

Review:

"This profoundly ambitious book aims high itself, because it sets the subject of Everest in a specific historical context....Davis’s monumental work ranges...widely through the matter of Everest, both on and off the mountain, with harrowing descriptions of life and death on the Western Front, with frank dissections of rivalries, motives, inadequacies and confusions, and measured character studies." Jan Morris, The Telegraph

Review:

"A meticulous recreation....The death in 1912 of Captain Scott and his companions in the Antarctic set a precedent of sacrifice for the generation of young British men who, a few years later, would hurl themselves into the maelstrom of the Great War. That Scott’s expedition was, according to later accounts, doomed by incompetent leadership only makes its failure seem more prophetic. Now, in Wade Davis’s magnificent new book, the remaining goal of imperial exploration is seen as an outcome of — and response to — the First World War. While Scott’s expedition was, in some ways, an exercise in heroic futility, the conquest of Mount Everest could help to exorcise the massed ghosts of the dead." Geoff Dyer, The Guardian

Review:

"[A] meticulous history....Culminating in detailed accounts of the ascents that astutely weigh events and controversies, this vital contribution to Everest literature should rivet readers." Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

Review:

"The First World War, the worst calamity humanity has ever inflicted on itself, still reverberates in our lives. In its immediate aftermath, a few young men who had fought in it went looking for a healing challenge, and found it far from the Western Front. In recreating their astonishing adventure, Wade Davis has given us an elegant meditation on the courage to carry on." George F. Will

Review:

"I was captivated. Wade Davis has penned an exceptional book on an extraordinary generation. They do not make them like that anymore. And there would always only ever be one Mallory. From the pathos of the trenches to the inevitable tragedies high on Everest this is a book deserving of awards. 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

Review:

"Into the Silence is utterly fascinating, and grippingly well-written. With extraordinary skill Wade Davis manages to weave together such disparate strands as Queen Victoria’s Indian Raj, the 'Great Game'  of intrigue against Russia, the horrors of the Somme, and Britain’s obsession to conquer the world’s highest peak, all linking to that terrible moment atop Everest when Mallory fell to his death. The mystery of whether he and Irving ever reached the summit remains tantalizingly unsolved." Alistair Horne, author of The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916

Review:

"Into the Silence is a breathtaking triumph. An astonishing piece of research, it is also intensely moving, evoking the courage, chivalry, and sacrifice that drove Mallory and his companions through the war and to ever greater heights." William Shawcross, author of The Queen Mother

Review:

"Wade Davis’s mesmerizing telling of George Mallory’s fabled story gives new and revealing weight to the significance of this post-war era and to his dazzlingly accomplished and courageous companions. Into the Silence succeeds not only because Davis’s research is prodigious, but because every sentence has been struck with conviction, every image evoked with fierce reverence — for the heartbreaking twilight era, for the magnificent resilience of its survivors, for their mission, for Mallory, for his mountain. An epic worth of its epic." Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance and The War That Killed Achilles

Synopsis:

The definitive story of the British adventurers who survived the trenches of World War I and went on to risk their lives climbing Mount Everest.

On June 6, 1924, two men set out from a camp perched at 23,000 feet on an ice ledge just below the lip of Everest’s North Col. George Mallory, thirty-seven, was Britain’s finest climber. Sandy Irvine was a twenty-two-year-old Oxford scholar with little previous mountaineering experience. Neither of them returned.

Drawing on more than a decade of prodigious research, bestselling author and explorer Wade Davis vividly re-creates the heroic efforts of Mallory and his fellow climbers, setting their significant achievements in sweeping historical context: from Britain’s nineteen-century imperial ambitions to the war that shaped Mallory’s generation. Theirs was a country broken, and the Everest expeditions emerged as a powerful symbol of national redemption and hope. In Davis’s rich exploration, he creates a timeless portrait of these remarkable men and their extraordinary times.

About the Author

Wade Davis is the bestselling author of fifteen books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow and One River, and is an award-winning anthropologist. He currently holds the post of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and divides his time between Washington, D.C., and northern British Columbia.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

AnthNoClimber, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by AnthNoClimber)
Astonishing account of the WWI experiences of the men who made historic attempts to climb Mt. Everest. Riveting descriptions of the climbs themselves. Very, very good interpretations of the cultural milieu of both the Europeans and the Tibetan and Nepalese people. A gritty, multi-faceted adventure story, superbly written.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
raul, January 7, 2013 (view all comments by raul)
Wonderful reading!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375708152
Subtitle:
The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest
Author:
Davis, Wade
Publisher:
Vintage
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Subject:
Great britain
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20121002
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
688
Dimensions:
7.9 x 5.1 x 1.3 in 1.38 lb

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Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.95 In Stock
Product details 688 pages Vintage - English 9780375708152 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Davis’s book, ten years in the writing, is highly absorbing narrative....A heroic attempt to capture the scale of the undertaking to conquer the highest mountain on earth."
"Review" by , "A magnificent, audacious venture...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. Many of those Himalayan explorers, including Mallory, had served in the corpse-ridden fields of northern France. Indeed, of the 26 men who climbed in the three expeditions, 20 had seen front-line action. Six had been severely wounded, two others hospitalized by disease at the front, and one treated for shell shock. All had seen dozens of friends and countrymen die. For these veterans, the author argues, death had lost its power....At its heart, Into the Silence is an elegy for a lost generation."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "The men in this story had, for the most part, been young in 1914, bright and energetic and full of dreams. By 1918 those who had survived had seen and done things that no one should have to know about, and Davis does a magnificent job detailing their experiences, setting up the rest of the story — the expeditionary saga — as a logical response, even an inspired rejoinder to the soul-destroying realities of war...it is perhaps the book’s signature achievement that [Davis] keeps the narrative zipping along toward its inexorable and tragic conclusion while so thoroughly and persuasively contextualizing key events."
"Review" by , "This profoundly ambitious book aims high itself, because it sets the subject of Everest in a specific historical context....Davis’s monumental work ranges...widely through the matter of Everest, both on and off the mountain, with harrowing descriptions of life and death on the Western Front, with frank dissections of rivalries, motives, inadequacies and confusions, and measured character studies."
"Review" by , "A meticulous recreation....The death in 1912 of Captain Scott and his companions in the Antarctic set a precedent of sacrifice for the generation of young British men who, a few years later, would hurl themselves into the maelstrom of the Great War. That Scott’s expedition was, according to later accounts, doomed by incompetent leadership only makes its failure seem more prophetic. Now, in Wade Davis’s magnificent new book, the remaining goal of imperial exploration is seen as an outcome of — and response to — the First World War. While Scott’s expedition was, in some ways, an exercise in heroic futility, the conquest of Mount Everest could help to exorcise the massed ghosts of the dead."
"Review" by , "[A] meticulous history....Culminating in detailed accounts of the ascents that astutely weigh events and controversies, this vital contribution to Everest literature should rivet readers."
"Review" by , "The First World War, the worst calamity humanity has ever inflicted on itself, still reverberates in our lives. In its immediate aftermath, a few young men who had fought in it went looking for a healing challenge, and found it far from the Western Front. In recreating their astonishing adventure, Wade Davis has given us an elegant meditation on the courage to carry on."
"Review" by , "I was captivated. Wade Davis has penned an exceptional book on an extraordinary generation. They do not make them like that anymore. And there would always only ever be one Mallory. From the pathos of the trenches to the inevitable tragedies high on Everest this is a book deserving of awards. Monumental in its scope and conception it nevertheless remains hypnotically fascinating throughout. A wonderful story tinged with sadness."
"Review" by , "Into the Silence is utterly fascinating, and grippingly well-written. With extraordinary skill Wade Davis manages to weave together such disparate strands as Queen Victoria’s Indian Raj, the 'Great Game'  of intrigue against Russia, the horrors of the Somme, and Britain’s obsession to conquer the world’s highest peak, all linking to that terrible moment atop Everest when Mallory fell to his death. The mystery of whether he and Irving ever reached the summit remains tantalizingly unsolved."
"Review" by , "Into the Silence is a breathtaking triumph. An astonishing piece of research, it is also intensely moving, evoking the courage, chivalry, and sacrifice that drove Mallory and his companions through the war and to ever greater heights."
"Review" by , "Wade Davis’s mesmerizing telling of George Mallory’s fabled story gives new and revealing weight to the significance of this post-war era and to his dazzlingly accomplished and courageous companions. Into the Silence succeeds not only because Davis’s research is prodigious, but because every sentence has been struck with conviction, every image evoked with fierce reverence — for the heartbreaking twilight era, for the magnificent resilience of its survivors, for their mission, for Mallory, for his mountain. An epic worth of its epic."
"Synopsis" by , The definitive story of the British adventurers who survived the trenches of World War I and went on to risk their lives climbing Mount Everest.

On June 6, 1924, two men set out from a camp perched at 23,000 feet on an ice ledge just below the lip of Everest’s North Col. George Mallory, thirty-seven, was Britain’s finest climber. Sandy Irvine was a twenty-two-year-old Oxford scholar with little previous mountaineering experience. Neither of them returned.

Drawing on more than a decade of prodigious research, bestselling author and explorer Wade Davis vividly re-creates the heroic efforts of Mallory and his fellow climbers, setting their significant achievements in sweeping historical context: from Britain’s nineteen-century imperial ambitions to the war that shaped Mallory’s generation. Theirs was a country broken, and the Everest expeditions emerged as a powerful symbol of national redemption and hope. In Davis’s rich exploration, he creates a timeless portrait of these remarkable men and their extraordinary times.

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