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View from the Summit [School & Library Binding]

Edmund Hillary
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2000 061329131X 978-0613291316
THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE STORY OF
AN ORDINARY MAN WHO BECAME THE
CENTURY'S MOST IMPORTANT EXPLORER

Adventurers the world over have been inspired by the achievements of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man ever to set foot on the summit of Mount Everest. In this candid, wry, and vastly entertaining autobiography, Hillary looks back on that 1953 landmark expedition, as well as his remarkable explorations in other exotic locales, from the South Pole to the Ganges. View From The Summit is the compelling life story of a New Zealand country boy who daydreamed of wild adventures; the pioneering climber who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth after scaling the world's tallest peak; and the elder statesman and unlikely diplomat whose groundbreaking program of aid to Nepal continues to this day, paying his debt of worldwide fame to the Himalayan region.
More than four decades after Hillary looked down from Everest's 29,000 feet, his impact is still felt -- in our fascination with the perils and triumphs of mountain climbing, and in today's phenomenon of extreme sports. The call to adventure is alive and real on every page of this gripping memoir.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Review

"'Sterling stuff...You can only stand back and gape in admiration'" Sunday Star Time (NZ) "'Unavoidably gripping...gives an excellent sense of the constant risk when climbing at high altitude'" Sunday Telegraph "'One of the most marvellous lives of our time'" Literary Review "'A great read from a writer of remarkable ability'" The Times "'View from the Summit is a memorable read, the tale of a true survivor, who not only overcame the hazards of Everest but put the fame this brought him to remarkable use'" Mail on Sunday --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

The first man to set foot on the summit of Everest, the man who led a team of tractors to the South Pole, the man who jetboated up the Ganges from the ocean to the sky has, for the first time, gathered all the remarkable adventures of a long life into one volume. But there is more to Ed Hillary than this. He is also the man who repaid his debt of fame to the Himalayas by inaugurating a programme of building schools, clinics, airstrips and bridges in Nepal. With his still active support, these have gone from strength to strength in the 50 years since he himself mastered the Hillary Step and led his companion Tenzing Norgay up Everest's final summit ridge.

View from the Summit is a thoughtful and honest reappraisal of a life spent pushing human ability to its limits and relishing the challenges thrown down by the elements. It is also the story of a man whom the world has taken to its heart. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable autobiography by an outstanding man July 8 2003
Format:School & Library Binding
I found this book a pleasant surprise, after having read a few mountaineering adventure books. If you are looking for one, look elsewhere; Hillary climbed Everest, but did not have any major mountaineering accomplishments thereafter. Instead, we see the picture of a simple man, a very likeable and sincere one, with flaws and virtues.
We can see his sneakiness in going for the south pole despite orders not to, we can see his dedication to the people of Nepal, we can see his somewhat estranged relationship with Tenzing and the tensions that arose after Tenzing said he had reached the summit first. The discussion is a futile one, but it seems to put a damper on the relationship.
In this book we also follow his life, not just his great conquests. We see the backstage of the lecture circuit he went through after Everest, then the honors he received and his attempt to maintain some normalcy in his life. Overall, it is a very good life book, and despite it being filled with adventures, we see the character of a person that is much more than simply an adventurer.
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Format:Paperback
The metaphors are almost irresistable. What does a man do after he reaches his peak? For New Zealand beekeeper and amateur mountaineer (as they all were, then) Sir Edmund Hillary, the answer was to strap on the crampons and find new peaks to conquer.
View from the Summit is an autobiographical look back at a large and heroic life. After sharing the conquest of Everest with Tensing Norgay in 1953, Hillary went on to accomplish many more firsts, any of which would have been enough to crown most people heroes. He travelled by farm tractor to the South Pole (poking the British leader of the Trans Antarctic Expedition seriously in the eye in the process). He led an expedition of New Zealand-designed jet boats up the Ganges. He was the first man to stand at both poles and the summit of Everest.
The achievement that stands out most clearly for Hillary though, is his lifetime of work in the Himalayas, building schools, airfields and hospitals. Using his fame to maximum effect, he travelled widely seeking donations, then returned to the mountains he will be forever associated with to give something back to the people who made his triumph possible.
But all these stories have been already told, and were it to merely retell them, View from the Summit would be little more than an anthology. What makes this book most rewarding is its insights into the man behind the stories. The beekeeper. The RNZAF navigator. The husband and father. In looking back on his epic life, Sir Edmund Hillary shows that mountains, rivers and icecaps are nothing compared to the peaks of human achievement, courage and compassion that he so well embodies.
Why look for heroes at the movies or in cartoons? Read this book and see how an ordinary bloke from New Zealand conquered the world's highest mountain - then went looking for more.
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2.0 out of 5 stars a view from over the hero's shoulder. July 7 2000
Format:Paperback
Hillary is not going to get a Nobel Price for this book. It is written in a rather 'choppy' style. Hard to follow and sometimes plain boring. From time to time, many basic inportant information is left out leaving the reader completely lost. However, this book gives us a chance to take a glimpse at the human side of this great explorer. We finally see details about adventures never revealed before because authors deem them unimportant but this kind of details actually allow the readers to see the adventures from a different angle. We see Hillary as a human being and share with him his adventures and his goals. It is just extraordinary to see a man raise from a life as a simple beekeeper to become one of the most important figures of this century and not lose his human quality in the process. This book is a good alternative to a rootcanal.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a disappointment June 23 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
After reading narratives of a few of the contemporary Everest adventurers (Krakauer, etc) I was interested in reading the views of someone who's been around awhile. Unfortunately, Hillary's account of his own life was even more self-serving than Krakauer's tale of his Everest expedition...and not half as interesting. Maybe it just goes with the personality type but I expected someone at Hillary's stage in life to have a broader view. Also, the writing style is definitely less than spectacular. That said, by the time I get to be Hillary's age I'll be pleased if I can still read...let alone write anything. Overall, not an inspiration and not particularly interesting...I'd pass it up.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Every turn of the tractor wheel is recounted May 18 2002
By saliero
Format:Paperback
This is a reasonably interesting autobiography, but does get bogged down a bit, especially in the Antarctica passages. At some times it seems as if you are living out every turn of the tractor wheels across Antarctica. Flipping a few pages doesn't hurt though, and the rest of the story more than compensates. It's nice to hear about Hillary's later relationship with Tenzing Norgay...and Hillary's account is borne out in Jamling Tenzing Norgay's story (Jamling is Tenzing's son).
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