Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest Hardcover – Sep 27 2011
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WINNER 2012 – Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction
FINALIST 2012 – CBA Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year
FINALIST 2012 – Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction
FINALIST 2012 – Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction
FINALIST 2012 – Banff Mountain Book Competition for Mountain & Wilderness Literature
"The best new book I've read in which the War figures hugely is by Wade Davis and it's called Into the Silence… I don't think I've read anything that has shocked me as much as these accounts did. Written with an extraordinary kind of address and a feel for its barbarity that is really hair raising."
—Andrew Motion, The Guardian (podcast)
"Into the Silence is a breathtaking triumph. An astonishing piece of research, it is also intensely moving, evoking the courage, chivalry and sacrifice that drove Mallory and his companions through the war and to ever greater heights."
"Into the Silence is utterly fascinating, and grippingly well written. With extraordinary skill Wade Davis manages to weave together such disparate strands as Queen Victoria's Indian Raj, the 'Great Game' of intrigue against Russia, the horrors of the Somme, and Britain's obsession to conquer the world's highest peak, all linking to that terrible moment atop Everest when Mallory fell to his death. The mystery of whether he and Irving ever reached the summit remains tantalizingly unsolved. Into the Silence deserves to be an instant bestseller."
"The meticulously researched and definitive account of a legend… Fascinating and immensely enjoyable."
"The First World War, the worst calamity humanity has ever inflicted on itself, still reverberates in our lives. In its immediate aftermath, a few young men who had fought in it went looking for a healing challenge, and found it far from the Western Front. In recreating their astonishing adventure, Wade Davis has given us an elegant meditation on the courage to carry on."
—George F. Will
"Wade Davis' mesmerizing telling of Mallory's fabled story gives new and revealing weight to the significance of its post-war era and to Mallory's dazzlingly accomplished and courageous companions. Into the Silence succeeds not only because Davis' research was prodigious, but because every sentence has been struck with conviction, every image evoked with fierce reverence - for the heartbreaking twilight era, for the magnificent resilience of its survivors, for their mission, for Mallory, for his mountain. An epic worthy of its epic."
—Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance and The War That Killed Achilles
"I was captivated. They were a gilded generation and for me the nineteen twenties and thirties were the golden age of mountaineering. Wade Davis has penned an exceptional book on an extraordinary generation. They do not make them like that anymore. And there would always only ever be one Mallory. From the pathos of the trenches to the inevitable tragedies high on Everest this is a book deserving of awards. Monumental in its scope and conception it nevertheless remains hypnotically fascinating throughout. A wonderful story tinged with sadness."
—Joe Simpson, author of Touching the Void
About the Author
WADE DAVIS is the bestselling author of several books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow and One River, and is an award-winning anthropologist, ethnobotanist, filmmaker and photographer. Davis currently holds the post of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and divides his time between Washington, DC, where he teaches, and northern British Columbia.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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."
I've had my copy of 'into the silence' ever since Wade Davis did an absorbing interview on Australia's ABC, but loaned it to a couple of friends... So have just finished it. Loved every chapter, and thought the next couldn't be better than the last, but it was.
So, I may be the only person that is completely enthralled by the bibliography as well! It's almost as good as being at a lecture where Davis explains his research and writing methods and practice. He makes you want to read more and more and more. A real explorer.
Davis has received much deserved acclaim for this masterpiece. Especially astounding that he has taken literally mountains of words and statistics and little stories and already heroic epics and made this beautiful spellbinding lyrical work... ten years? I hope to spend the next ten years re-reading and contemplating...
One more thing: When you look at the maps and realise that when the explorers started their 1921 expedition, this was all uncharted, the work of Wheeler on that trip becomes truly monumental.
Most readers will bring with them some knowledge of the subjects: the Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest. All the more significant that Wade Davis has brought them together in such a truly magnificent and significant volume.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
As always from Dr. Davis, this is a captivating, lyrically written story of humanity and culture, this time with adventure at its core. Always a pure pleasure to read his writings.Published 2 months ago by Cynthia V. Pearce
Great story about first attempt at Everest. Also about the ineptitude of the military in the first world warPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
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... Read more
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... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
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. Read morePublished 15 months ago by kevin p mcneil
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.. Read morePublished 18 months ago by S.R. Gage
A remarkable account of world events and the race for Everest. Incredibly detailed and infinitely researched.Published 20 months ago by Eamonn C O'Connell
I bought this for my son, read before giving. Wade Davis is a real life Indian Jones. Wow.Published 20 months ago by Bettyjane Wylie