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Everest 1953: The Epic Story of the First Ascent

Everest 1953: The Epic Story of the First Ascent [Kindle Edition]

Mick Conefrey
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Groundbreaking... a magnificent book that deserves to become the definitive version. We cannot hope for a more human, funny or meticulous account of what was a very British expedition ’ - Independent

‘An exciting, moving account... a fascinating piece of documentary writing, as readable and poignant as Into Thin Air or Touching the Void.’ - Spectator

‘Conefrey describes this frenetic scramble for ownership of the mountain brilliantly... I often found myself deeply moved.’ - Observer

‘Mick Conefrey painstakingly studied the vast volume of detail surrounding the British expedition and can claim to have filled in some significant blanks on the map.’ - The Times

‘Surely [the] definitive account’

--Daily Mail

‘[The] cliff-hanging chapter endings had me feverishly turning pages long after midnight, eager to follow the team through danger, despair, and delight. Hugely enjoyable and highly recommended.’ - New Books

‘Fascinating [and] poignant. Conefrey has consulted obscure documents, interviewed all the right people and written a magnificent book.’ - Geographical Magazine

‘A very real and very readable story... what makes it special are the lost and hidden details revealed through Conefrey's access to diaries, archives and interviews ’ - We Love This Book

&lsquoA wonderful addition to the Everest literature... thoroughly researched and compelling.’

--Wade Davis bestselling author of Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest

‘A gripping narrative underpinned by meticulous research. With the same forensic eye for detail that informs his documentary films, Conefrey reminds us that this was actually a great team effort, which only just succeeded at the eleventh hour.’ - Stephen Venables first British mountaineer to summit Everest without oxygen and author of Higher Than The Eagle Soars: A Path to Everest

‘Outstanding. Conefrey has found fascinating hitherto unpublished material and woven it cleverly into one of the most famous tales in mountaineering history. Eminently readable and valuable.’ - Julie Summers Chair of the Mountain Heritage Trust and author of Fearless on Everest: the Quest for Sandy Irvine

‘A highly readable and comprehensive account of a landmark mountaineering achievement.’ - Peter Gillman author of The Wildest Dream: Mallory His Life and Conflicting Passions

‘A thorough and well-researched book which tells the ‘inside’ story of an often misunderstood expedition. Essential reading for anyone with a fascination for Everest.’

--Matt Dickinson author of The Death Zone: Climbing Everest Through the Killer Storm


‘excellent’ Financial Times

‘superb’ New Zealand Herald

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4419 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (18 Oct 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009FSYS4C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #90,729 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I've been making documentaries and writing books for over 20 years, mainly for the BBC but also for the History Channel and Discovery. Find out more at my website:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, highly readable. 27 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whether you're new to the subject, or an aficionado of Everest literature, there's something for you in Mick Conefrey's new book on the 1953 Ascent of Everest.
This splendid book covers the story from the early reconnaissance expeditions, to the aftermath of the 1953 Ascent.
The contemporary controversy over the sensitive question of who actually stepped onto the summit first is particularly well handled, as is Tom Bourdillon's personal disappointment at missing out on what he felt was a good chance of being the first to the top.
Sir John Hunt is rightly brought to the forefront of the narrative, as this modest man has been subsequently somewhat overshadowed by Hillary and Tenzing.
Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Commentary 13 Jan 2013
It may be thought by some, myself included, that not enough is left unwritten to justify and fashion another book about the first ascent of Mt. Everest, but I found `Everest 1953' to be a captivating commentary with new material and new perspectives. A brief assessment of author Mick Conefrey's numerous sources, the wide ranging bibliography and the detailed notes confirm his indepth research and analysis of what has gone before with fresh insights revealed via unpublished private diaries, letters, released papers etc. plus interviews with expedition members and other associated personnel. A comprehensive index further endorses the scholarly and meticulous approach of Mick Conefrey.

Unlike the rather dry undemonstrative official expedition book `The Ascent of Everest' by John Hunt, or the blatant controversy publications, `Everest 1953' aims to get behind both the formal account and the hyped drama to present a definitive statement on the successful 1953 ascent of the highest mountain in the world. It commences with the reconnaissance expedition in 1951, then refers to the 2 Swiss attempts in 1952 whilst the British prepared on Cho Oyu for another Everest undertaking. Up to now this has gone largely unrecorded but with its aftermath it is used by Mick Conefrey to clarify succeeding machinations over choice of leader for 1953.

There is not that much unfamiliar in the content of the actual expedition of 1953 but instead of repeating the original account of success dependent on highly organised military type planning and a cohesive group of climbers Mick Conefrey exposes a variety of crises, setbacks and wranglings interwoven with John Hunt's leadership skills and teamwork issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good account of a memorable ascent 3 Jan 2013
By alapper
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
With so many people climbing everest annually now, it is hard to remember the time when it appeared unassailable and only one or two expeditions attempted the peak each year. I do remember the day when news of the ascent reached the UK and subsequently saw the film and read several of the books - Wilf Noyce's 'South Col' was best but John Hunt and Ed Hilary both wrote reasonable accounts. This book is a good summary of all those accounts with a few extra details that would not have been made public at the time, although some later books have mentioned lesser known aspects.
In particular the change of leadership at the start is fairly well described here. However there is still a lot of detail omitted from this book and a focus is made of the key players at the expense of other team members. I enjoyed reading it and reliving the memories, but would have preferred a longer and more detailed tome. Given the length of time that has elapsed since the expedition, I would have thought this might have allowed a better historical perspective than that available at the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best read for me this year 10 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't reccomend this book high enough. Very engaging and wonderfyully written. It makes you want to read it again, and again, and again ( which I will do )
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jacqui Wales 20 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
What a wonderful account of a great achievement in mountaineering history, very well written, thoroughly enjoyed it, recommend it to anyone who loves mountains
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all interested in the subject 3 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent overview of the early expeditions and their circumstances, along with the characters of those involved. a timely tome for the anniversay of Everest's conquest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars really interesting 16 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
really interesting book. a great read. i knew very little about the ascent originally and have learnt a lot and made me read more books about it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars on top of the world 7 July 2013
By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is an interesting and informative book which covers the first ascent of Everest in 1953, and outlines both the lead up to the expedition and its aftermath. Well researched from interviews, diaries and other documentary sources this book makes clear the human achievement of the expedition, as well as the very different political and social world in which it took place.

It is also a very enjoyable book for the armchair explorer, although the account of the final ascent somehow seems to lack in
drama, despite the scale of the achievement.

A good read though
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 11 days ago by John H
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
An absolutely brilliant holiday read. I've read a lot of books on the subject of Everest but this one is so well researched bringing together strands from many team members. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MR C DICKINSON
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A good read, if a little disjointed in parts.
Published 2 months ago by MR PAUL BRASSINGTON
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
Not your usual subject, but this account was well written and very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the account and would recommend it.
Published 3 months ago by Dibbsy
5.0 out of 5 stars Husband loved it
Got this for my husband, as he's a budding climber (climbed Kili a couple years ago), and he said it was a brilliant book.
He said it was brilliantly written - very impressed.
Published 3 months ago by J. Britt-Green
4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
I really enjoyed this book which is a highly readable account of the successful ascent of Everest by a british Team in 1953. Read more
Published 4 months ago by King Eric
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
Really excellent and well researched book,
I read many books on Everest but I found this book not only covered the climb, but also what happened to everyone afterwards and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Shelagh
4.0 out of 5 stars True grit and grime. Amazing story well told.
Very interesting insight into a different era of climbing and exploration. The world has changed. Hard to imagine this story in today's world.
Published 10 months ago by Rippa700
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