Everest: Summit of Achievement
Simon and Schuster, May, 2003.
Hardcover, 252 pages.
Mount Everest has captured the imagination of the West; so many have tried and failed to climb to the summit. Now Stephen Venables has, with the help of the National Geographic Association, attempted to put the subject of Mount Everest into some perspective for the 21st century. He succeeds admirably. The book traces the history of man's attempt to climb the mountain, with essays by mountain climber Stephen Venables, journalist and mountain climber Ed Douglas, Judy and Tashi Tenzing, grandson of Norgay Tenzing and historian John Keay. The essays discuss everything from the difficulty of even measuring the height of the mountain, the reaction of the local peoples to the invasion of Westerners wanting to climb the mountain, and details of the hardships, failures and victories of the various expedition. More than 400 photographs from the archives of National Geographic are displayed -- most of which have never been seen before -- and they are absolutely stunning. The introductions by Sir Edmund Hillary and His Holiness the Dalai Lama are a real pleasure to read. Sir Hillary, who ascended to the summit Mount Everest in 1953 with Tibetan guide Tenzing Norgay, remembers his historic journey with "no thought of the impact this ascent might have on the world in general, or indeed of the changes it might produce in my own life. We had succeeded where so many other great climbers had failed -- that was enough in itself."
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