Into the Silence

  • by Wade Davis
  • Narrated by Enn Reitel
  • 28 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On June 6, 1924, two men set out from a camp perched at 23,000 feet on an ice ledge just below the lip of Mount Everest’s North Col. George Mallory, thirty-seven, was Britain’s finest climber. Sandy Irvine was a young Oxford scholar of twenty-two with little previous mountaineering experience. Neither of them returned.
In this magisterial work of history and adventure, based on more than a decade of prodigious research in British, Canadian, and European archives, and months in the field in Nepal and Tibet, Wade Davis vividly re-creates British climbers’ epic attempts to scale Mount Everest in the early 1920s. With new access to letters and diaries, Davis recounts the heroic efforts of George Mallory and his fellow climbers to conquer the mountain in the face of treacherous terrain and furious weather. Into the Silence sets their remarkable achievements in sweeping historical context: Davis shows how the exploration originated in nineteenth-century imperial ambitions, and he takes us far beyond the Himalayas to the trenches of World War I, where Mallory and his generation found themselves and their world utterly shattered. In the wake of the war that destroyed all notions of honor and decency, the Everest expeditions, led by these scions of Britain’s elite, emerged as a symbol of national redemption and hope.
Beautifully written and rich with detail, Into the Silence is a classic account of exploration and endurance, and a timeless portrait of an extraordinary generation of adventurers, soldiers, and mountaineers the likes of which we will never see again.


What the Critics Say

“The First World War, the worst calamity humanity has ever inflicted on itself, still reverberates in our lives. In its immediate aftermath, a few young men who had fought in it went looking for a healing challenge, and found it far from the Western Front. In recreating their astonishing adventure, Wade Davis has given us an elegant meditation on the courage to carry on.” (George F. Will)
“I was captivated. Wade Davis has penned an exceptional book on an extraordinary generation. They do not make them like that any more. And there would always only ever be one Mallory. From the pathos of the trenches to the inevitable tragedies high on Everest this is a book deserving of awards. Monumental in its scope and conception it nevertheless remains hypnotically fascinating throughout. A wonderful story tinged with sadness.” (Joe Simpson, author of Touching the Void)
“Into the Silence is utterly fascinating, and grippingly well-written. With extraordinary skill Wade Davis manages to weave together such disparate strands as Queen Victoria’s Indian Raj, the ‘Great Game’ of intrigue against Russia, the horrors of the Somme, and Britain’s obsession to conquer the world’s highest peak, all linking to that terrible moment atop Everest when Mallory fell to his death. The mystery of whether he and Irving ever reached the summit remains tantalizingly unsolved.” (Alistair Horne, author of The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

He wrote exquisite Eel-agies?

Once again, a wonderful book, marred by the inability of the reader to pronounce simple things. I would offer a level of forgiveness, had the reader been American..(Shame on me for that, but it is true).
But Enn Reitel has a British accent.He was educated at the Central School, he's a Scot...he should know better!
Why then did he not know, or was he not told by the producer that:
Caius College, Cambridge; is pronounced "Keys"; that an eulogy is pronounced YEW-la-gee;(Not Eelagee) that the artist Titian is Ti-shun not TEA shun....and many, many many other slips. I became accustomed to his questionable mispronunciation of Ypres, and tried my very best to accept that maybe some folk do pronounce Paschendale as "Passion-deli"....maybe....(I went so far as to try and research the possibility) ; but half way through the reading, I am beginning to think that it was a mistake to buy this book on Audible.
Pity, as I had waited for this book for some time. Will knuckle under and buy in hard back.
Yes, I'm fussy about the readings. It can make or mar a book. I love the English language, and Wade Davis has worked hard to bring a startling and fascinating story to us;
I want to experience it at its best. Not wallowing in the "Meer" (pronunciation of mire by Enn Reitel).

And lest you think that I am wallowing in ignorance.
1. I am a Brit
2. Have friends in Scotland, visit often, know the accent (and I am a collector of dialects)
3. Professional performer myself.
4. Radio producer.

We all make tiny mistakes from time to time....I have, I know, but there is a credo in voice performances
"If you can't pronounce , don't announce"
In a project like this, all names should be double checked for correct pronunciation.

Perhaps Enn Reitel was trying to be "posh"....didn't work. Just angered me.
Read full review

- Florence "British radio producer; storyteller, folk historian and book addict. I rely on audio books to help me fit in extra reading."

Really enjoyed it

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in mountaineering or war. The author gives a good overview on some of the more devastating battles of WWI and how they shaped the lives and outlook of climbers like Mallory. You really get to appreciate who these men are and the physical, political, and mental stress they had to endure just to get to the base of Everest. Their persistence despite the weather and previous failures is inspiring. Even though this book was long, I found myself wanting more after it had finished.

I always wish that audible books like this came with maps. Several times I had to go online and look up aerial photographs of the Everest area to orientate myself. Other times I just zoned out during the Tibetan names and places. It's a good read nonetheless.
Read full review

- Tara "Interested in history, war, and Russia"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-18-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio