Synopses & Reviews
She defied the conventions of her era: an American woman on her own in Nepal for more than four decades. Extensive interviews with Hawley, celebrated mountaineers, and Kathmandu intimates are enhanced by Hawley's meticulous records and correspondence.
"Climber and editor McDonald (Voices from the Summit) offers an inelegant biography of an unlovely albeit towering presence in the Nepalese mountain-climbing world who has never actually climbed. Hawley, now in her 80s, is an American whose Time Inc. writing assignments took her to Kathmandu in 1960, and she never left. From intelligence gathering for the Knickerbocker Foundation, she was drawn into the world of mountaineering just as exciting new climbs were being undertaken, such as the first American ascent of Everest in 1963, a story she broke to the West. Subsequently, Hawley met all the top climbers, and when the first tourist trekking companies began to form, she became the indispensable booker and correspondent. With years of statistics-gathering experience under her belt, she eventually ran Sir Edmund Hillary's Himalayan Trust, garnering climbing permissions for great names like Junko Tabei (the first woman to climb Everest) and blind American Erick Weihenmayer. She now holds the curious title of New Zealand's honorary consul in Nepal. In McDonald's account, Hawley's reputation as being brusque, judgmental and unapproachable precedes her, rendering this an unsympathetic portrait, and its limited point of view (McDonald's own) restricts a richer context of time and place. Photos, maps. (Sept. 22)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)