Ghosts of K2

  • by Mick Conefrey
  • Narrated by Barnaby Edwards
  • 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

At 28,251 feet, K2 might be almost 800 feet shorter than Everest, but it’s a far harder climb. It will kill you on the way up and the way down.
Mick Conefrey guides us through the early story of the legendary mountain and the extraordinary attempts that led up to its first ascent in 1954 - these are tales of riveting drama and unimaginable tragedy.
Starting with the ill-fated attempts of the drug-addicted occultist Aleister Crowley and the wealthy Italian Duke of Abruzzi, the book then focusses on the three dramatic expeditions of 1939, 1953 and 1954.
The thread joining them together is the American Charlie Houston - a brilliant but tortured expedition leader who dreamed of being the first man to make it all the way to the top.
Based on exclusive interviews with surviving team members and their families and access to diaries and letters that have been archived around the world, this is a narrative that evokes the true atmosphere of the ‘Savage Mountain’ and explores the complicated legacy of the first ascent.
Wrought with tension and populated by tragic heroes and eccentric dreamers, Ghosts of K2 is a masterpiece of mountaineering literature.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

First Review? It was an "okay" book

There were no reviews; Audible or Amazon, when I purchased this book and as of this writing it appears I am the first? Having only the description and the audio sample by which to make my determination left me a bit apprehensive, but I got the book because I enjoy history and world-renowned or history changing events. I really enjoy books that tell both the history of an event, but also provide some manner of mental or emotional connection with one or more of the persons discussed in the book. I just finished this today and I’m left with the feeling that my thirst for an engaging true story has not been assuaged. I wouldn’t say that this is a bad book, but I certainly cannot say it is a great book. I can only say it is an “okay” book.

This book thoroughly told the history of this event pretty much to a fault, but I couldn’t establish any connection with the people involved. It outlined a tremendous amount of history leading up to the first summit, but that story itself took up very little of the book. While there were some very engaging moments in this book, that is all there was. Some moments. The author tended to go too far into the weeds in some areas, such as providing an overly detailed history of what happened to the members of the first summit team after they returned home. Those points just left me saying; who cares?

I'm not so sure that at least some of the feelings I have toward this book aren't the result of the narration / narrator? The only other title that I've listened to with Barnaby Edwards narrating was Bomber Command by Max Hastings. I re-read that review just now and I realized I have almost exactly the same feelings with this book. A completely different subject and author, but my lukewarm feeling about the book is a mirror image to how I was left with that title. I feel like I just finished a history class textbook and I need to prep for the exam. The book evoked no emotions whatsoever. There was no point where - "I just couldn’t stop listening because I was riveted by the telling”. It was simply a very matter of fact and detailed account of the times, the places, the people, and the individual stories. I think, to be fair, I will need to listen to this book again. That said, I wonder if another narrator wouldn’t be better suited and help improve the book? Certainly a story like this is better with a British narrator, but Edwards is too monotonous and too matter of fact I think. Perhaps an abridged version with a different narrator would be better?

So, if you’re the type of person that enjoys historical non-fiction that reads like fiction this book is not that and you will likely come away feeling the same or worse. However, if you are in any way fascinated with K2, mountain climbing and/or learning about defining moments in history you will probably enjoy the book, but you will likely not love the book.
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- Matthew

One of my fave audible books

Fascinating and engrossing throughout, excellent narrator. I have listened to this book at least three times - can't get enough!
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- Patty Mullin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-15-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios