`Read E-pub ⚺ Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest ë eBook or Kindle ePUB free

`Read E-pub Ü Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest ⚢ A magnificent work of history, biography and adventureIf 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 , walkedmiles 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 deadIn 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 aliveFor all of them Everest had become an exalted radiance, a sentinel in the sky, a symbol of hope in a world gone mad Its a book about the great war and an iconic historical figure who dies on a great adventure How could it possibly be bad Because its dry Arid Written like a text book outline on this day this many men were sent into battle on the british side, this many from Germany, at X location, N miles from Y and Z miles from Q, this many died This was the weapon of choice, this is a list of injuries the doctor treated that day Catastrophic injuries are listed in a manner so disconnected its almost a Its a book about the great war and an iconic historical figure who dies on a great adventure How could it possibly be bad Because its dry Arid Written like a text book outline on this day this many men were sent into battle on the british side, this many from Germany, at X location, N miles from Y and Z miles from Q, this many died This was the weapon of choice, this is a list of injuries the doctor treated that day Catastrophic injuries are listed in a manner so disconnected its almost as if they separate and apart from the human being who suffered the injury The doctor is working a 20 hour day He should be exhausted, hungry, disillusioned, heartbroken Instead it is presented like a punched time card and bills sent to the insurance company.The characters he does introduce come rapid fire and even the most irrelevant character gets the full treatment He includes so much information about who they were with, where they had met, what they do for a living, where they went to school, the town where they grew up, who they are married to, their parents occupations and club affiliations and other innumerable biographic tangent tidbits that its impossible to tell which will eventually become the direction or person relevant to the story.That is the research that should go into a great book a great author is supposed to turn those dry facts into a compelling story, not regurgitate the statistics I cant help thinking, is this gonna be on the test I bet this is going to be on the test In fairness, I haven t completed the book yet and I definitely will, because even if it were a text book, I d still read it I was just hoping for something withhumanity UPDATE I finally had to give up on this book again at least temporarily Its a struggle to stay awake They are into the actual expedition, the author reviews every step, every flower they saw along the path, even though its the same flora they saw along the path yesterday and the day before every note, comment, mail delivery, every action taken and a psycho analysis of why along with speculations of what they might have been thinking in addition to what was actually recorded, and every possible tangent about any of it It just goes on forever with meaningless boring extraneous data and commentary the book records every single step taken I don t mean, step 1 prepare for trip, step 2, board boat I mean left foot, right foot, left foot 2016 update Three years and as many attempts later I ve decided this might be almost as mind numbing as the thin air and frigid temps at the top of the world, perhaps requiring almost as much effort to conquer I Finally donated the book becasue if it AINT there well, you know Have we vanquished an enemy None but ourselves George Leigh Mallory, The Alpine Journal 1918 Years ago, I decided to bring Wade Davis s Into the Silence with me when I went backpacking in the Cascades and you can tell just by looking at it One of my crampons sliced the back cover open, while the front cover rubbed against the sole of my day hiking boots, leaving it scuffed like an old baseball The tops of the pages were also stained by a leaking bottle of whiskey, a back country essen Have we vanquished an enemy None but ourselves George Leigh Mallory, The Alpine Journal 1918 Years ago, I decided to bring Wade Davis s Into the Silence with me when I went backpacking in the Cascades and you can tell just by looking at it One of my crampons sliced the back cover open, while the front cover rubbed against the sole of my day hiking boots, leaving it scuffed like an old baseball The tops of the pages were also stained by a leaking bottle of whiskey, a back country essential It seemed like a no brainer to bring a book about mountain climbing into the mountains Turns out, however, that it actually is a brainer The book is relatively large and relatively heavy and its size and weight made it a poor fit for my pack Also, as my friends pointed out, while I remembered to bring a book and whiskey , I forgot a spoon, a camp towel, a sleeping mat, and breakfast for day three It also took me about half an hour from the trailhead for me to realize I d left my ice axe in the car This all goes to show that I am a reader first, a lover second, and a backpacker a distant third All in all, except for ruining the physical aspect of Into the Silence, it was worth hauling into the wilderness It gave voice to what we all seek when we seek to get away.Being in nature allows you to live an essential life I won t romanticize it and say I d like to go back to aprimitive state of being on a permanent basis That would just make me cry But for shorter periods, having to focus on basics such as shelter, water, and food, while being utterly exhausted, helps to dissipate modern, first world stressors On the trail, I wasn t thinking about work, or student loans, or my dying car I wasn t even thinking about how tired I was, and how I just wanted to lie down on the side of the trail and die No, for blessed moments, I wasn t thinking about anything at all British explorer and soldier Francis Younghusband explained this better, when telling of his first experience in the Himalaya Such experiences are all too rare and they but too soon become blurred in the actualities of daily intercourse and practical existence Yet it is these few fleeting moments, which are reality In these only we see real life The rest is ephemeral, the unsubstantial The stated goal of Into the Silence is to tell the story of the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the 1920s By intercutting this story with the experiences of the climbers and expedition members during World War I, a portrait emerges of when who d seen a horrible thing and were desperately seeking peace And for them it seemed to work This is not a book about the Lost Generation These are not guys who slipped away to Paris to drink and write great novels These are men who d seen the worst of humanity, swallowed hard, and then set out to climb the tallest hunk of rock in the world The challenge in describing this volume is that it will be either too reductive it s about climbing Everest, but with some war scenes or too spiritually gushy it s about damaged male psyches healing through dramatic altitude gains I want to avoid that because Into the Silence is simply one of the best, most well rounded, emotionally affecting history books I ve ever read It is, to begin, a mesmerizing multi headed biography of the British climbing expeditions Some of the names, like George Finch and Andrew Sandy Irvine, will sound familiar Others, such as Dr Howard Somervell and Charles Howard Bury are probably unknown to you, unless you re already versed in mountaineering history Davis gives these men life and personality Even though the cast of characters is large and are always leaving and reentering the narrative , you can keep them straight because of their well described personalities Towering over them all, of course, is George Leigh Mallory, who is just about as complicated a leading man as you could hope for Brave enough to assault the world s highest peak, he curiously entered World War I far later than most of his companions Entirely smitten with his wife, he also loved and slept with one of his male friends in his youth A man of beautiful sentiments, he also had a very British sense of condescension and disdain, especially toward the people of Tibet From the first page, Into the Silence is powerfully written The prose is evocative, and equally adept at detailing the horrors of World War I as it is in dealing with the rigors of the mountains There are times as you read this when you will start to feel the air get a little thin The level of detail that is provided can feel overwhelming at times You might think did I really need to know that The answer is Yes Yes you did That s how you are immersed This is as close as you re going to get to how it felt to be on these expeditions, doing the amazing things they did, not only climbing mountains, but mapping this area for the first time Lest you think this is all about men at war and men on mountains, Into the Silence is also a beautiful travelogue Davis captures not only the scenery of the Himalaya, but does an incredible job with the Tibetan people, their customs, culture, and religion This aspect of the story takes on nearly equal footing with the climbing itself as it should What I m trying to say is that this book is an embarrassment of riches There are even good maps Plus an annotated bibliography Into the Silence feels heavier than other books of comparable size It might be because I carried it in a backpack for a week, but I like to think it s because of all the facts stuffed inside it The end result of the first assaults on Everest was the death of Mallory and Irvine, leading to an enduring mystery as to whether they reached the summit before dying Davis gives a brief overview of the evidence and arguments, which have taken up many hundreds of pages elsewhere Really, though, he does not dwell much on this aspect Oddly, it is about the only topic that isn t given a thorough airing Perhaps it is Davis s interest in Tibetan Buddhism, but Into the Silence is not concerned about reaching the top Nevertheless, he does offer some thoughts as to how it might have unfolded I t is possible that a drift from the 1924 storms accumulated, large enough, if not to bury the cliffs of the Second Step, at least to create a cone covering the most difficult pitches of the rock Such a scenario did in fact unfold in 1985, albeit in the autumn Had this been the case, Mallory and Irvine might simply have walked up the snow, traversing the barrier with the very speed and ease that Odell so famously reported Had this occurred, surely nothing could have held Mallory back He would have walked on, even to his end, because for him, as for all of his generation, death was but a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day They had seen so much of death that life mattered less than the moments of being alive.Mountain climbing is a luxury of stable civilizations Climbing deaths are typically the tragedies of the privileged, and are utterly avoidable by the simple expedient of not engaging in an entirely recreational activity that serves no utilitarian function Climbing is trouble that you go looking for But going up mountains because they are tall and hard and not meant for us makes us human It is a somewhat irrational act that shows that the human condition transcends mere survival Though it does not take a mountain s summit to prove the lesson, Into the Silence is a reminder that you cannot live only to live This hefty volume appears to have been a ten year labor of love for the author, and it shows George Mallory, who died with an inexperienced 22 year old Oxford engineering student, Andrew Sandy Irvine, trying to climb Everest in 1924, has been the subject of countless books How close they got to the top remains a mystery, but his height record stood for nearly 30 years until the accomplishment of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 Nicholas Wade wrote his own editor in 1999, the year This hefty volume appears to have been a ten year labor of love for the author, and it shows George Mallory, who died with an inexperienced 22 year old Oxford engineering student, Andrew Sandy Irvine, trying to climb Everest in 1924, has been the subject of countless books How close they got to the top remains a mystery, but his height record stood for nearly 30 years until the accomplishment of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 Nicholas Wade wrote his own editor in 1999, the year the discovery of Mallory s body unleashed evenarticles and books, What possibly remained to be said about a story that had been covered by so many writers The editor generously replied that he had not offered me a contract because he wanted another book on Mallory but, rather, because he wanted a book by me on Mallory Mt Everest elevation 29,085 ft from the Buddhist Rongpuk Monastery, where it was considered sacred and guarded by demons their word ChomolungmaSandy Irvine and George Mallory, who on the 1924 expedition were last seen climbing at about 26,000 feet.Wade brings some unique strengths to the task The Canadian anthropologist and ethnobotanist has made such a mark in writing about various indigenous cultures and remote ecologies of the world, he now serves as Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society Thus, he knows what it takes to mount an expedition to remote places and has the background to understand the import and nuances of the important intersection of Western culture with that of the peoples of India and Tibet Plus, his scientific bent led him to take a systematic approach to plumbing the real question behind this book how does the terrible experience with World War 1 by 20 out of 26 of the British participants in the three early attempts on Everest help account for the quest to succeed in climbing this mountain at such great cost The origins of the push to climb Everest lies with the mountaineering interests of some of the early British visitors to Tibet before the war, a time when England was trying to get its imperial hooks into the country before the Chinese or Russians beat them to it Wade deftly provides a capsule history of the British Raj in India, its tradition of aggressive military action at the dangerous borders of its Crown Jewel , and the sequence of events that led to a massive invasion of Tibet in 1904 With machine guns and artillery against primitive rifles and swords, the toll was over 2,600 Tibetans dead vs 40 by the British forces mostly Indian sepoy soldiers When the spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, fled, they found they had no one to negotiate with, forcing them to retreat, with the outcome of imposition of only a limited trading enterprise While the vision of the distant peaks of the Himalayas whetted the imagination of British mountaineers of the British Alpine Club and the Royal Geographic Society, the precedent set by the brutal incursion undermined for decades the trust and stable diplomatic relations that would be required for a serious expedition The southern route which Hillary used through Nepal was long blocked by an even greater isolationist outlook by that kingdom Wade excels in capturing the slow understanding of Tibetan culture The holy capital of Lhasa appeared to the invaders as decrepit, medieval in aspect The Tibetans a Times journalist wrote were a stunted and dirty little people, their religion nothing but a disastrous parasitic disease , while their government was a theocratic regime, oppressive, inefficient, bizarre, tyrannical, and corrupt Only in subsequent years, when the diplomatic ground shifted, did it serve British interests to cultivate an image of Tibet as a place of innocence and mystic fantasy it has since occupied in the Western imagination.With this background, it took nearly 10 years to build up plans for a climbing trip to Everest, by which time World War 1 intervened The flower of British youth wasthan decimated by the war, the toll for which comprised about 1 million deaths and 2.5 million wounded in England alone At the time Mallory had drifted into a position as a married private school teacher after a period in Cambridge where he was a much desired golden youth among the homosexual literati of the Bloomsbury group and the Apollo Club While his entry into the war was delayed and ended up not so dangerous as an artillery officer, many of the members of the post war expeditions were survivors of muchextensive and harrowing experiences For example, Somerville, Mallory s closest friend on the expeditions, served as a surgeon at the Battle of Somme and was forever haunted by memories of the hopeless triage work among acres of casualties Another medical officer on Everest, Wakefield, served with the Newfoundland Regiment at the Somme which experienced a greater than 90% casualty rate A student and friend of Mallory s, Robert Graves, estimated that the chances of surviving the war was one in three 1 in 2 for infantry and 1 in 4 for officers Howard Somervell, tending the wounded at the Battle of the Somme in World War 1 Throughout the book, Wade interweaves the theme that somehow the extreme drive to conquer Everest was linked to the war experience of the men involved Against the background of shattered alienation, summiting the tallest peak represented some kind of pure goal for men whose sense of home and noble purpose behind British imperialism was so tarnished The flippant comment Mallory made once to a journalist, because it s there , holds no weight Why keep pushing after deaths and so many near death experiences on each foray the worst being the seven Sherpas swept away in an avalanche in 1922 Wade infers that to some extent surviving the war meant that death no longer had the same hold on these men A publicist for the sponsoring Royal Geographical Society yielded the following insight for Wade Buchan would later would wax eloquent about the purpose of the Everest mission The war , he wrote, had called forth the finest qualities of human nature, and with the advent of peace, there seemed the risk of the world slipping back into a dull materialism To embark on something that had no material value was an essential vindication of the human spirit These words, which could be written by someone who knew nothing about the reality of war, nevertheless reveal the sentiments that led a desperate nation to embrace the assault on Everest as a gesture of imperial redemption.The challenges of just getting to the mountain and finding any kind of plausible route to the summit were overwhelming The overland trip ofthan 300 miles on a plateau at 17,000 feet was a logistical nightmare Hiring hundreds of porters and yaks was necessary For the 1921 expedition, it took months of scouting out and mapping the remote terrain to even get close to the mountain The unheralded role of the Canadian Wheeler in discovering the only effective passage between the peaks and glaciers appears to represent a fresh contribution by Wade s account The first foray demonstrated the necessity of provisioning multiple camps at successive elevations and of using oxygen at the higher camps despite the pervasive contempt of its use as cheating They also learned the hard way that all climbing attempts should be made before June if they were to escape the ferocious blizzards brought by the monsoon The adoption of support by the Ghurkas from the Indian Army and the Sherpas from Nepal was another essential step for the better success of later expeditions Route of Mallory up the North East Ridge in 1924 It remains unclear if he succeeded in passing the Second Step and reached the topThe book was a very rewarding experience for me to read Although coverage of so many players in the treks made for a challenge in keeping track of who was who, I learned to just ride along with the leaky memory problem, as all of British together form a mosaic of the culture of the times Some were affected by classism and imperial superioritythan others, some wereegotistical and jealous, while others werespiritual and selfless, but all were ultimately heroic and made me feel somehow proud to be a member of the human species This contrasts with the moral malaise I ended up feeling from Krakauer s brilliant account of a disastrous climb in 1997 under the management of commercial guides, Into Thin Air For anyone contemplating the time investment of reading Wade s book, I recommend this preview piece London Daily Mail, Nov 28, 2012This book was a Goodreads Giveaway from Vintage Books All my readers know about my fascination with the history of Everest and climbing in general This book was an incredible read Mallory was the first to supposedly climb Everest oxygen free with his partner Irvine in 1934 Unfortunately since both men were never seen again, the supposition cannot be confirmed They were, however, seen at a very late hour, seen ascending the summit They would certainly have had to descend or bivouac in the death zone at that hour as it would have been dark T All my readers know about my fascination with the history of Everest and climbing in general This book was an incredible read Mallory was the first to supposedly climb Everest oxygen free with his partner Irvine in 1934 Unfortunately since both men were never seen again, the supposition cannot be confirmed They were, however, seen at a very late hour, seen ascending the summit They would certainly have had to descend or bivouac in the death zone at that hour as it would have been dark They were never seen again An incredible read based on fact Their head lamps were not found Nor were the other essential items that would ve been found on the summit Their bravery cannot be questioned The geographical data of the mountain had not yet been discovered A wonderful read for those interested in such exciting adventure I was amazed I learned and was entranced A well written and researched piece of literature