Top positive review
Outstanding history of the generation that sought Everest
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 29, 2017
This outstanding and exhaustively researched book describes the experience of participating in the First World War, the impact of that on men and their lives, and how some of those men subsequently embarked on expeditions to find a route to Everest (and possibly reach its summit). It has a remarkable structure for a mountaineering narrative, and this may be too lengthy for anyone looking simply for an epic tale, but I found the book captivating, enchanting even. It told me about other English men in other times, with such a richness of descriptive detail that it continually gave me better perspective on my own generation (born after the Second World War) and my own times. And although I have read many books about Himalayan climbing, it taught me for the first time about the scale and grandeur, and the formidable challenge, of those mountains at the time when exploration was incomplete and mountaineering equipment was rudimentary. It also taught me something about the customs and religion of the people who inhabit those mountains, and particularly about their animistic perceptions of the mountains and their spiritual significance, a rich and educational experience and a wonderful preparation for my Annapurna trek shortly after reading the book. The author should be applauded for his extraordinary industry in researching and succinctly describing the Great War, the history of British imperial involvement in Himalayan states, the post-war climbing scene in Britain, and even the botanical richness of the mountains. It all makes for a terrific book!