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EVEREST 1953: THE EPIC STORY OF THE FIRST ASCENT Mick Conefrey 2013 Paperback
By Conefrey, Mick
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UK, 2013, 1st UK edition. 322 pp, photos. VG-NF.

On the morning of 2 June 1953, the day of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, the first news ebbed through to the British public of a magnificent achievement: Mount Everest had finally been conquered. Drawing on first-hand interviews and unprecedented access to archives, this is a groundbreaking new account of that extraordinary first ascent.

In a thrilling tale of adventure and courage, Mick Conefrey reveals that what has gone down in history as a supremely well-planned attempt was actually beset by crisis and controversy, both on and off the mountain. From funding panics to Sherpa rebellions, hostile press to menacing weather, John Hunt and his team had to draw on unimaginable skill and determination, as well as sheer British ingenuity, to succeed. Plus the climbing ability of two unknown 'colonials', Ed Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, was of utmost assistance.

An intimate insight into the forgotten personalities behind the ascent including Eric Shipton, the enigmatic Mr Everest, and Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, who came within 100 metres of being first to the summit Everest 1953, recounts a bygone age of self-sacrifice and heroism, using letters and personal diaries to reveal the immense stress and heartache the climbers often hid from their fellow team members.

Exploring long enduring controversies, did Tenzing or Hillary reach the top first? Why was Eric Shipton sacked as leader? Conefrey offers a fascinating window onto the media's coverage of the expedition. The Times had an exclusive deal, but other papers used all means necessary to break their monopoly (Ralph Izzard of the Daily Mail even hiked up to base camp alone, only to be met with stony silence and a cup of tea). Charting how the ascent affected the original team in subsequent years and detailing its immense cultural impact today, Everest 1953 is the perfect book to commemorate this remarkable feat of the human will.


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