On the morning of 2 June 1953, the day of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, the first news ebbed through to the British public of a magnificent achievement: Everest had finally been conquered.
Drawing on first-hand interviews and unprecedented access to archives, this is a groundbreaking new account of that extraordinary first ascent. In a thrilling tale of adventure and courage, Mick Conefrey reveals that what has gone down in history as a supremely well-planned attempt was actually beset by crisis and controversy, both on and off the mountain.
From funding panics to Sherpa rebellions, hostile press to menacing weather, John Hunt and his team had to draw on unimaginable skill and determination, as well as sheer British ingenuity, to succeed. An intimate insight into the forgotten personalities behind the ascent including Eric Shipton, the enigmatic Mr Everest, and Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, who came within 100 metres of being first to the summit. Everest 1953 recounts a bygone age of self-sacrifice and heroism, using letters and personal diaries to reveal the immense stress and heartache the climbers often hid from their fellow team members.
"Groundbreaking... a magnificent book that deserves to become the definitive version. We cannot hope for a more human, funny or meticulous account of what was a very British expedition" (Independent)
"An exciting, moving account... a fascinating piece of documentary writing, as readable and poignant as Into Thin Air or Touching the Void." (Spectator)
"Conefrey describes this frenetic scramble for ownership of the mountain brilliantly... I often found myself deeply moved." (Observer)
"Mick Conefrey painstakingly studied the vast volume of detail surrounding the British expedition and can claim to have filled in some significant blanks on the map." (The Times)
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Man! That story is epic!
This book can be divided into three parts. First is the history of discovery and attempts to summit the Everest. I found it fascinating how late Europeans actually got anywhere near the mountain, not to mention the summit.
Second part is about the British attempts. There are moments when you think that, surely, author is joking, creating caricatures of men in power, grandiose characters with outdated racial, national and cultural attitudes. But than you realise, that it really was like that. And you just love it.
Third part is about 1953 attempt itself. It's a story of experience, preparation, racial and cultural tensions and the hell a lot of good luck.
If I wasn't obliged to go to work I would have listened it to it non-stop it was so good.
engaging, interesting, frightening
it's an adventure book, which really held my interest, despite my knowing the outcome. it included loads of details which didn't hinder the telling of the story at all. i also found myself becoming really involved with the story and wondering how the mountaineers held their nerve.
he kept my interest - he included a few varied accents, etc., but generally played a straightforward game. really good.
(like the book): epic