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This book is quite unlike anything else that I have read. The main themes: the challenge of the mountain faced by the WW1 generation against the background of the Raj are all well described. Personally, I am not convinced that the awful experiences of the soldier involved has particular relevance to Everest but this book did win the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction. The one section of this very long book that dragged for me was the first expedition. The climax is compelling and very moving.
The narrator has a great voice, even when he has a cold. But he mispronounces some names (Passion-Deli, by far the worst example) in a way that I found jarring, a small but surprising fault. I felt the whole performance could have been better produced.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about Into the Silence?
It gave a detailed historical background to the Everest expeditions of the 1920s, including the wartime experience of the main participants. This brought the famous names to life, allowing the listener to identify with their struggles.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Into the Silence?
It is hard to choose just one, but some of the descriptions of the first world war left me shocked and stunned; the writing was so vivid that I felt I was there.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
I was irritated at the mispronounciation of most of the French place names, and also at the American style of saying dates (eg October one, rather than the first of October). But the pace was good and the speech clear..
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
The film has already been made! John Noel's Epic of Everest, made by one of the participants in the 1924 expedition, has just been remastered and released.
Any additional comments?
The only reason I am givng four stars and not five is that sometimes the details of the mountain geography were rather repetitive and confusing; this might have been easier to cope with in print, where you can go back a page or two to check things. But this is a minor criticism.
I would urge anyone nervous of the length of the book to go ahead; it is full of detail, sometimes quite difficult to retain, but at the end I felt I had lived through the whole experience. I think this book will stay with me long after most works of fiction have gone out of my mind.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Easily, the most captivating book I have experienced in years. This is a big book and the size seems to match the dimensions of the story. The backdrop to the Everest Expeditions is painted with vivid colours. The experience of the First World War shaped many if not all the characters in this amazing story and lent gravitas to the actions of the British explorers. These were imperfect heroes, presented as humans with human vulnerabilities and flaws. It is to the credit of the author that these "warts and all" biographies makes Mallory and colleagues seem more heroic, not less.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
So good, can we have more books by the same author and reader please Audible?