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

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9780099563839: Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest

A magnificent work of history, biography and adventure.

If the quest for Mount Everest began as a grand imperial gesture, as redemption for an empire of explorers that had lost the race to the Poles, it ended as a mission of regeneration for a country and a people bled white by war. Of the twenty-six British climbers who, on three expedtions (1921-24), walked 400 miles off the map to find and assault the highest mountain on Earth, twenty had seen the worst of the fighting. Six had been severely wounded, two others nearly died of disease at the Front, one was hospitalized twice with shell shock. Three as army surgeons dealt for the duration with the agonies of the dying. Two lost brothers, killed in action. All had endured the slaughter, the coughing of the guns, the bones and barbed wire, the white faces of the dead.

In a monumental work of history and adventure, ten years in the writing, Wade Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept on climbing on that fateful day. His answer lies in a single phrase uttered by one of the survivors as they retreated from the mountain: "The price of life is death." Mallory walked on because for him, as for all of his generation, death was but "a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day." As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. They were not cavalier, but death was no stranger. They had seen so much of it that it had no hold on them. What mattered was how one lived, the moments of being alive.

For all of them Everest had become an exalted radiance, a sentinel in the sky, a symbol of hope in a world gone mad.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2011: It’s tempting to call Wade Davis’s magnificent Into the Silence an Everest of a book. But that would be misleading. It is more like K2: challenging, technically complex, and hugely rewarding upon completion. The book starts off not with mountaineering, but with vivid, novelistic descriptions of the horrors of the First World War. Years of waste and destruction in the trenches, Davis argues, “led a desperate nation to embrace the assault on Everest as a gesture of imperial redemption.” Those who endured attempts on the summit all bore the scars of the Great War—and they were drawn to the mountain by an almost contradictory desire for conquest and spiritual ablution. At the center of it all is Mallory, whose eventual disappearance effectively closed that chapter in mountaineering. His utterance “because it’s there” became a new war cry, but he climbed for deeper reasons entirely. -- Chris Schluep

About the Author:

WADE DAVIS is the bestselling author of several books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow and One River, and is an award-winning anthropologist, ethnobotanist, filmmaker and photographer. Davis currently holds the post of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and divides his time between Washington, DC, where he teaches, and northern British Columbia.

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. `The price of life is death For Mallory, as for all of his generation, death was but `a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day . As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. What mattered now was how one lived, and the moments of being alive. While the quest for Mount Everest may have begun as a grand imperial gesture, it ended as a mission of revival for a country and a lost generation bled white by war. In a monumental work of history and adventure, Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept climbing on that fateful day. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099563839

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. `The price of life is death For Mallory, as for all of his generation, death was but `a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day . As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. What mattered now was how one lived, and the moments of being alive. While the quest for Mount Everest may have begun as a grand imperial gesture, it ended as a mission of revival for a country and a lost generation bled white by war. In a monumental work of history and adventure, Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept climbing on that fateful day. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099563839

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Book Description Vintage, 2012. Book Condition: New. 2012. Paperback. For George Mallory as for all of his generation, death was but 'a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day'. As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. What mattered now was how one lived, and the moments of being alive. Num Pages: 672 pages. BIC Classification: BGH; WSZG. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 216 x 136 x 43. Weight in Grams: 748. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099563839

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. 2012. Paperback. For George Mallory as for all of his generation, death was but 'a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day'. As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. What mattered now was how one lived, and the moments of being alive. Num Pages: 672 pages. BIC Classification: BGH; WSZG. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 216 x 136 x 43. Weight in Grams: 748. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099563839

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