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

Wade Davis
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Wade Davis Oct. 13 2011
A deeply moving epic that takes you from the depths of human misery in the trenches of France to the roof of the world in Tibet; from missiles and mud to mountain vistas, and the group of men who represented some of the best of the survivors of the "lost generation", yes, warts and all.

In 1999 Mallory's body was discoverd on Everest giving us no clue as to wether or not he had summited. With none of the modern climbing gear that is now taken for granted, we know that he and his partner at least came very close. After reading the book it somehow dosn't matter.....but that missing picture of Mallory's wife has made me a believer.

I very much appreciated the references to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the "Blue Puttees". Who knows what heights those young men could have gained had they lived.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book of 2012 Oct. 14 2012
By bookweasel TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An amazing read. Starts with the Great War stuff. General Haig and his cronies were definitely completely stupid and cowards too. None of the general staff went near where the fighting was. They sat miles back and sent hundreds of thousands to meaningless deaths. Yes that was hundreds of thousands. Such a waste for no reason.

On to the Everest expeditions of 1921, 1922 and 1924. Much to be learned here. The development of mountaineering techniques including the use of oxygen. How the area was mapped by a Canadian. The amazing stupidity of the Alpine Club members who made decisions entirely based on class without regard for skills and abilities. How the Tibetans lived particularly in relation to their religion.

A terrific read on so many levels."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wade Davis hits another one out of the park ! Dec 30 2011
Wade Davis does an outstanding job in "Into the Silence". He describes the early attempts to climb Mount Everest, focusing on the men involved and placing them in their historical context-- World War I, the British Raj and etc. This is an extraordinary tale, thoroughly researched and imaginatively told. I thoroughly recommend it.

Allan Wakefield
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Dec 6 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a thrilling, historical book. One of the best on Everest, very detailed, left nothing out. I now understand how difficult it must be to be a mountain climber. Certainly not for the faint of heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars into the silence Jan. 1 2012
By janet
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An intriguing look at a fascinating phenomena. Very well put together. I will be pleased to dive back in for another read of this fine piece of work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books Ever Oct. 17 2014
By GaryMac
Into the Silence is one of the most entertaining and informative books I have ever read. I am a person who had to give away some 4,000 books a few years ago for lack of space and has read omnivorously since the age of three.

Davis recreates the pampered, upper class English generation born around 1885 (with a few notable colonials thrown in, such as the talented Canadian, John Wheeler). Then the calamity of WW I descends and the men who later figure large in the first three British attempts on Everest are followed through the trenches, the death and stink of rotting men and horses, the field surgeries and the breaking of minds by a disgusting, unnecessary war. The descriptions of the horror of WW I are the best I have ever read.

And then the British decide to show the world that empire prevails. The conquest of Everest will prove the certainty of English superiority (no Scots were allowed). We journey through the Raj, from Darjeeling to the North Face through a Tibet that the Chinese dictatorship has destroyed and our intrepid 1921 explorers start to wander around the massive base of Everest to find a way up. Davis gives vivid descriptions of the glaciers, cascades of flowers, the mighty rivers and, above all, the unconquered peak.

The 1922 and 1924 introduce Mallory and his manic obsession to climb the mountain that will take his life. A cast of indomitable characters accompany Mallory. And English imperialism reigns supreme. A favourite incident is the night Mallory, at 22,000 feet, had a single, one man tent. Mallory slept in the tent. His Tibetan bearers slept on the snow without a blanket. And you discover the name of the British officer who invented short pants and all sorts of other delightful detail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everest, Then and Now Oct. 28 2012
I have a LOT of half finished mountaineering tomes in my basement library, but this is not one of them. Over the years I've been of two minds about Davis, but this book belongs right up there with the writings of Paul Fussell and Jared Diamond in terms of being both gripping and unbelievably researched. This is both historical scholarship and storytelling of the finest order, not the least of which is the comprehensive annotated bibliography in the back that shows Davis employing exacting standards to his research and interpretation. Even if you've had it up to here with all of the Everest hoopla over the years, you simply cannot put this book down once you're into it. Due to its relative complexity of characters, I am almost ready to start reading it again, even though I just finished it. Crazy good stuff, that is all I can say.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deeply Affecting Tale Sept. 28 2012
I am not a mountain climber, but an admirer of those who are. The Mallory story has fascinated me for years, but until this magisterial and magnificent new book made its appearance I hadn't read much about him. I appreciated many things, especially the description of the WW1 atrocities.I've read a few books on the subject by Canadian authors and have been greatly moved by the sacrifice, the innocence, and maddening inflexibility of the Brits under which we fought. (The same bull-headed inflexibility almost led to the defeat of the British navy at Jutland.) Davis's weaving of this background story into the Everest story is masterful, moving, and helpful in understanding the milieu of the times that lead to Everest.

I was also grateful for the author's treatment of Canadian Arthur Wakefield who accomplished so much in his lifetime, yet was under-appreciated by Mallory. Until now I knew nothing of Wakefield, but I plan to pursue finding out more about him. There was also another Canadian Edward Wheeler, of whom Mallory also held a less than stellar opinion, probably because Mallory suffered from a condition that held colonials in low regard. And yet Wheeler was critical to Mallory's team. He was also later knighted for his services in mapping India for the Brits. To my mind Mallory is emblematic of the easy disregard Canadians suffer from others who know little about us and care even less.

The characters in this book all stand out clearly and sympathetically. They moved me a great deal. The descriptions of Tibet and other places (not to mention England at that time) left clear impressions on my mind and in my heart. Davis's language is always clear and affective. Overall, the treatment of the reasons why men did these things is simply wonderful. The author has great insight and delicacy.

All in all a great, great read.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended.
When I glanced into this book I thought it looked tedious, but I was very wrong. The author starts with graphic descriptions of the horror of the first World War then keeps... Read more
Published 12 days ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing I can say about this book would do it justice.
Nothing I can say about this book would do it justice. It's amazing. Read it. And hope that Davis writes more and more books.
Published 1 month ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great author
Published 2 months ago by Cameron Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the Silence
Excellent book. Fascinating how climbers were chosen in those days. Read it with an Atlas sitting beside you. Great research. Arrived promptly. Thank you.
Published 4 months ago by Christine Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
As a fellow adventurer and explorer, I was completely hooked by Davis' description of the hardships endured by Mallory and his fellow explorers, as well as the care he took to set... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mike Brcic
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb book...
which deftly and thoroughly melds the joint hells of the Western Front and the barren Himalayan heights in order to reveal a drama of courage, endurance and lunacy. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dennis Duffy
4.0 out of 5 stars engrossing
In my original review I was critical about the absence of the photos that are in the hard copy. Much to my surprise, on finishing the entire book,epilogue, bibliography and all, I... Read more
Published 11 months ago by james
4.0 out of 5 stars In Awe & Admiration
I haven't yet read it so unable to comment although dipping into it was awesome and I look forward to my own ascent to those lonely heights.
Published 11 months ago by annfarrell
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the rare times I wanted to hand out six stars
Into the Silence is a great, sprawling, long book that's the result of years and years of research. It's a history book, a geography book, an adventure book and a novel all wrapped... Read more
Published 13 months ago by VG
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read!
I once though no one could compare with Harper Lee and "To Kill a Mockingbird"- I was wrong. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Kootenay Gal
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