From the Publisher
A magnificent work of history, biography and adventure.
If the quest for Mount Everest began as a grand imperial gesture,
as redemption for an empire of explorers that had lost the race to
the Poles, it ended as a mission of regeneration for a country and
a people bled white by war. Of the twenty-six British climbers who,
on three expedtions (1921-24), walked 400 miles off the map to find
and assault the highest mountain on Earth, twenty had seen the
worst of the fighting. Six had been severely wounded, two others
nearly died of disease at the Front, one was hospitalized twice
with shell shock. Three as army surgeons dealt for the duration
with the agonies of the dying. Two lost brothers, killed in action.
All had endured the slaughter, the coughing of the guns, the bones
and barbed wire, the white faces of the dead.
In a monumental work of history and adventure, ten years in the
writing, Wade Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first
to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept on climbing
on that fateful day. His answer lies in a single phrase uttered by
one of the survivors as they retreated from the mountain: "The
price of life is death." Mallory walked on because for him, as for
all of his generation, death was but "a frail barrier that men
crossed, smiling and gallant, every day." As climbers they accepted
a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. They were not
cavalier, but death was no stranger. They had seen so much of it
that it had no hold on them. What mattered was how one lived, the
moments of being alive.
For all of them Everest had become an exalted radiance, a sentinel
in the sky, a symbol of hope in a world gone mad.
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
Published: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Knopf Canada
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 067697919X
ISBN - 13: 9780676979190