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Item #: BK2389-930
THE STRUGGLE FOR EVEREST George Finch 2008 [1925] 1st UK ed Hardcover DJ New
By Finch, George Ingle and George W. Rodway (Editor)
Price: $150.00


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UK, 2008, 1st UK edition. 232 pp,  70 b&w photos; 2 drawings of O2 equipment; 5 photographed pages from Finch’s diary; 2 maps from the original German edition; a drawing of Everest's north side with the route imposed from the original German book;  2 posters advertising lectures post-expedition; 8 chapter heading with drawings by Bruce Paton. Hardcover, DJ, New.

Finch’s Der Kampf um den Everest was published in Germany in 1925, but never published in English (in its entirety) until now. In addition, select entries from the diary Finch kept during the 1922 Everest expedition have been added to Der Kampf at appropriate locations in the text to support and/or enhance the story. Moreover, recently written material about George Ingle Finch - and new material written just for this volume – offers an introduction to, and attempts to provide context for, his life and times.

This book was published in small numbers, my guess is under 1000 copies, and other than imports through bookshops such as ours almost no copies reached America. As time passes the climbing community's judgement of Finch's contribution to the Everest saga has only grown. A full biography of Finch has appeared and the details of the three Mallory Everest expeditions, 1921, 1922 and 1924 has continued to fascinate climbers and non climbers alike. Like Mallory himself, Finch was a great climber who appeared a generation too soon.  
 
[This is sometime thought of as a German edition of THE MAKING OF A MOUNTAINEER, but it is actually an original German language history of the first three Everest expeditions written by George Finch in German.]

George Ingle Finch was a key member of the 1922 British Mount Everest Expedition, a mountaineering endeavor which resulted in the world’s very first climbing foray above 8000 m. Finch’s relationship with the British climbing establishment during the 1920s was not always pleasant and agreeable, but he was generally recognized as an alpinist of quite superior skill.

He also possessed a background in scientific research that would lead him, in subsequent decades, to be recognized as one of the UK’s leading research chemists. His approach to mountaineering was practical and systematic, and he was a pioneering advocate of, among other things, supplementary oxygen use for climbing at extreme altitude. His straightforward and rather scientific approach to ascending Mount Everest was not appreciated by all of his alpine contemporaries, but during the 1922 expedition, George Finch and Geoffrey Bruce did manage to attain an altitude (aided by supplementary oxygen) greater than any previous mountaineer had ever achieved.


My favorite George Finch trivia/factoid. In 1917, while Finch was serving in France with the British Army during WWI, his wife had an illegitimate son they named Peter Finch. Peter became an actor and in 1976 won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of crazed television anchorman Howard Beale in the film Network. Wikipedia has the mushy details. George had a lively personal life with multiple wives, legitimate and illegitimate children, and set the moral tone for what is now standard fare among the Windsors, the British Royal Family. 

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