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4.8 out of 5 stars33
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on February 3, 2016
Great story about first attempt at Everest. Also about the ineptitude of the military in the first world war
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on September 18, 2015
An extremely readable and informative narrative on the early pre-oxygen days of Mt Evesesr climbers
who sustained undeserved tragedies in addition to a heart rending description of The Great War youthful
victims.
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on May 13, 2015
It was Great read. Some of the details of the Great War well written, but horifying. The Everest climb was incredible considering the equipment was really inadequate, but was all they had aviailable in those days.
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on April 23, 2015
Using the First World War to weave the story of the men who made the early attempts on Everest was a fascinating way to capture their motivation and inspiration. Wade Davis is a gifted storyteller.
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on January 9, 2015
This book goes down as one of the greats of writing centred in the Himalaya. I t will be on the shelf with works by Peter Matthiesen and Heinrich Harrer..

There is full detail on the early British climbs up Everest. But, the approach march does not start in Katmandu or Deli, it starts on the playing fields and in the salons of Edwardian England. The potential climbers march on through the Great War, and then head to the edges of empire to seek the highest peak.

The story is compelling, the research staggering.
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on November 28, 2014
A remarkable account of world events and the race for Everest. Incredibly detailed and infinitely researched.
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on November 14, 2014
I bought this for my son, read before giving. Wade Davis is a real life Indian Jones. Wow.
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on October 18, 2014
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 returning to this throughout his development of the early attempts to climb Everest. The story completely holds one's attention - the social and political background alone is fascinating. Also the maps are good. Wade Davis has obviously put considerable effort into research. I thoroughly recommend it.
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on October 17, 2014
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.

The book could be improved with more pictures and detailed maps. But Google Earth shows all the ridges, glaciers and valleys around Everest and is best kept near by while reading the book. Davis writes in a vivid, flowing style that makes this book difficult to put down.

The descriptions of Tibetan life contrast greatly with the current destruction of their culture. All my aging climbing friends read the book as I coursed through its pages. We all talked of flowing the route from Darjeeling to the North face until we learned the dictatorship has extended its railway from Lhasa to the monastery city of Shigatse.

The book is on my pile of books I must definitely read again. And I must before I leave the planet get to the Kharta Valley in August when all the flowers are in bloom, a riot of colour set against the 14,000 feet of the Kangshung ice fall and glacier.
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on September 4, 2014
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.
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