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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on exclusive interviews with surviving team members and their families and access to diaries and letters that have been archived around the world, this is a narrative that evokes the true atmosphere of the ‘Savage Mountain’ and explores the complicated legacy of the first ascent.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.
©2015 Mick Conefrey (P)2015 Audible, Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Matthew on 10-20-15

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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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By John on 04-11-17

A mountain climbing story of the mid 20th century

As with any book, it took a couple of chapters to identify all the players in this true hard wenching adventure. Once done, the adventures began. It is amazing what humankind would do to obtain a goal, including sacrificing their life.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Andrew on 11-04-15

The story behind the story - very good

I read the previous book (Everest) first and so had high expectations.

The obvious research really shows that the author knows his stuff and weaves the information into an intriguing series of events. Not quite the exciting story as Everest as the climax was lacking, but that's not the point of the book, that's the set up for the story behind the story.

The end is great and truly compelling. It's fantastic to peel back the layers around the team that you come to know well through the initial adventure, only to see them in differing light- some from several view points.

Highly recommended

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By "emeraldstargazer" on 09-30-17


As a non-mountaineer, I came to this book with little to no knowledge of high altitude climbing or of K2. The book was recommended by the author Sarah Lotz in her excellent novel about Everest 'The White Road' and, having read hat, I wanted to know more about climbing and the history of some of the world's highest peaks. This didn't disappoint. It's a well researched, thorough (without being too dense for the layperson) and fascinating account of the various expeditions to K2. The audio is well narrated with a nice pace for easy listening. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend to anyone wanting to know more about K2.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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