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Item #: BK4158-164
EVEN HIGHER THAN EVEREST: THE DRAMATIZED STORY OF THE FIRST FLIGHT OVER THE WORLD'S HIGHEST PEAK [Non-fiction] George Almond 2020 1st ed New Paperback
By Almond, George
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Detailed Product Description

UK, 2020, 1st edition. 273 pp. New paperback (only edition.)


A colorful rendering of the Everest flight story; there is much more to it than what the official books contain. Drawn to stories of an epic nature, the author, an American, was inspired by a chance meeting with Sherpa Tenzing and Lord Hunt, the 1953 expedition leader. From them he learned how the aerial photos taken by Lady Houston’s pilots in 1933 had been studied carefully in their assault planning. This work is his personal outcome of that long distant meeting.


Aiming to inform and entertain a broad readership, the tale follows Garland, a young American journalist, as she acts as PA to a notorious heiress Lucy Houston. On the steam yacht Liberty, Garland’s romances intrigue her employer who agrees to sponsor a team of prestigious aviators and five aircraft. They will fly to India and stay with a Maharaja during their three visits to the world’s highest mountains.


Chock full of colorful aristocrats, pilots, engineers and supernumeraries from the British and Indian elite, the expedition is set up in Mayfair. After tests in the West Country the crews fly to Purnea. Purnea is a city in NE India in the Himalaya foothills, due south of Everest. It is 252 km, or 150 air miles, from Purnea to Mount Everest. Despite many bizarre setbacks, the pilots take their open-cockpit biplanes into dangerous freezing gales over the Himalayas. Everest is conquered by air and an Oscar is awarded to the film for its sheer audacity.


Lucy Houston DBE was the extraordinary woman, a talented dancer and charmer of men, who had the vision and the means to dispatch her own expedition to fly even higher than Everest. In researching this story, the author offers gratitude and acknowledgment to the many sources including family members, mountaineers, engineers and pilots who all provided valuable input about the true events of the flight.


The Flight Expedition was successful because highly experienced men and women were involved. All had survived the horrendous years of the Great War and were by nature, confident, bold and determined in their various roles for the expedition. With such colorful characters involved, it seemed logical to relate events from different points of view, taking the reader along the many paths that any expedition must follow towards achieving its ultimate goal.


An Online Review


This recent addition to the mountaineering canon is another classic of dashing daring-do, albeit from an entirely different perspective – above the mountain rather than on it. George Almond may not be a climber like Harrer, Simpson or Krakauer but he’s a brilliant storyteller, and his dramatized account of the first flight over Mount Everest in 1933 makes for a rattling good read.


Indeed, there’s a certain ripping-yarn, Buchan-esque style and urgency to the narrative which suits the period admirably, the action ranging from grand Highland estates and Savoy Grill lunches, to the sunbaked Terai of northern India and the daunting uncharted heights of the Himalayas. 


Nearly ninety years on, with air travel pretty much taken for granted, it’s almost impossible now to comprehend the sheer courage and icy dare-devil determination of those early aviators, buckling themselves into open cockpits and flying their flimsy single engine machines into the treacherous skies above Everest. And no room for parachutes! If a spot of turbulence on a transatlantic flight has you gripping your armrests or reaching for the sick bag, this story is possibly not for you, but if you’re up for the ride – bumpy though it certainly is – you’ll be more than amply rewarded. Just a thoroughly enjoyable read.



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