For Mallory, as for all of his generation, death was but ‘a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day’. As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. What mattered now was how one lived, and the moments of being alive.
While the quest for Mount Everest may have begun as a grand imperial gesture, it ended as a mission of revival for a country and a lost generation bled white by war. In a monumental work of history and adventure, Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept climbing on that fateful day.
Recommend this book
Add your recommendation
Only registered users can recommend books. Please use the buttons below to either create a new account, or sign-in to an existing account.
I was captivated.Wade Davis has penned an exceptional book on an extraordinary generation. From the pathos of the trenches to the inevitable tragedies high on Everest this is a book deserving of awards -
Powerful and profound, a moving, epic masterpiece of literature, history and hope - Sunday Times
Brilliantly engrossing...a superb book... At once a group biography of remarkable characters snatched from oblivion, an instant classic of mountaineering literature, a study in imperial decline and an epic of exploration - Guardian
Magnificent...impressive...a vivid account - Observer, Book of the Week
A magnificent, rigorously researched account of the expeditions that set out to regain glory for an empire in decline but, instead, created some of the most enduring legends of the twentieth century - Financial Times
Into the Silence succeeds not only because Davis's research has been prodigious, but because every sentence has been struck with conviction, every image evoked with fierce reverence – for the heartbreaking twilight era, for the magnificent resilience of its survivors, for their mission, for Mallory, for his mountain. An epic worthy of its epic -
Into the Silence is a breathtaking triumph. An astonishing piece of research, it is also intensely moving, evoking the courage, chivalry, and sacrifice that drove Mallory and his companions through the war and to ever greater heights -
Combining the pace of a thriller with a degree of detail as nuanced as any academic study, this is an atmospheric and exhilarating book - Time Out
The product of a decade's research, Into the Silence has two supreme strengths, the first of which is the emotional, spiritual and historical context it provides, against which to understand the central events. The other is the author's effortless knack for sketching character - Spectator
The ambivalent emotional charge of their passing, coming as it did at such a turning point in the history of the British empire, fully justifies the efforts the author has made to encapsulate it. And encapsulate it he has, precisely, grippingly and with comprehensive wisdom - Spectator
Powerful and profound, a moving, epic masterpiece of literature, history and hope - The Times
The meticulously researched and definitive account of a legend... Fascinating and immensely enjoyable -
So did they reach the summit? It's anybody's guess. But all Wade Davis' experts in this fascinating book, shake their heads - Daily Mail
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 -
Davis’ descriptions of the trenches – the bodies, the smell, the madness – are some of the best I’ve ever read - Scotsman
Davis’ descriptions of the trenches – the bodies, the smell, the madness – are some of the best I’ve ever read - The Scotsman
Sheds new light on history that we thought we knew... meticulously detailed and very readable - New Statesman
The miracle is that there isn’t a dull page. As it moves towards its deadly climax, the story hangs together as tightly as a thriller. Into the Silence is as monumental as the mountain that soars above it; small wonder that it won the 2012 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction … Once you start wandering the snowy passes with Mallory and the lads, you won’t want to come down again. There can be no better way, surely, to spend a week in winter - Irish Times
He sees the climbers as haunted dreamers, harrowed by their desperate experiences in the First World War, living amid romantic dreams of Imperial grandeur and the elemental, sublime grandeur of the mountain - Lady
This is the awesomely researched story of Mallory, Irvine and the early Everest expeditions. It puts their efforts and motivations into the context of Empire and the first world war in a way I don’t think previous books have ever managed - Norfolk Magazine
A vivid depiction of a monumental story…Wade Davis’ passion for the book shines through and I can only hope that his next book doesn’t take as long to write as I will certainly be reading it - Living North
This is certainly the most important book published on the early Everest expeditions... It is, quite simply, a tour de force - BBC History
About the Author
An Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, Wade Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Davis is the author of 15 books including The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, and The Wayfinders. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series produced for the National Geographic Channel. In 2009 he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, and he is the 2011 recipient of the Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers' Club, and the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration, the most prestigious prize for botanical exploration.