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Letters From Everest: A First-Hand Account from the Epic First Ascent [Kindle Edition]

George Lowe , Huw Lewis-Jones , Jan Morris , Peter Hillary
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £4.29 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

The conquest of Everest in the summer of 1953 was one of the twentieth-century's greatest triumphs of exploration. George Lowe was one of the lead climbers, forging the route up Everest's Lhotse Face without oxygen. This book features letters from the Lowe collection that describe the day-by-day moments of this historic expedition.

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Product Description


...a poignant, funny, beautifully written glimpse into that fabled [1953] expedition. --The Financial Times

Book of the Month: George Lowe provides a fascinating first-hand insight into one of the triumph s of human exploration ... If you picked up this book 20 times you would still get a kick out of the reading. Splendid. Wonderful stuff.' --Geographical Magazine, June 2013

'A satisfying, beautifully-presented collection. These missives have a breathless immediacy to them that really pulls the reader into the here-and-now of the expedition. - The Scotsman 'A most handsome, welcome edition.' - The Times 'Superbly produced, inspiring.' - Country Life --The Scotsman, The Times & Country Life

About the Author

GEORGE LOWE was a New Zealand-born explorer, mountaineer, photographer and filmmaker. He was a leading high-altitude climber on the 1953 British Everest Expedition, on which his best friend Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first men to summit the world's highest peak. As well as taking photographs throughout this journey, Lowe directed the Oscar-nominated documentary The Conquest of Everest. He was official photographer of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which, between 1955 and 1958, not only traversed Antarctica but also became the first to reach the South Pole overland since Captain Scott in 1912. In later years Lowe was the founder and first Chairman of the Himalayan Trust in Britain. He died on 20 March 2013.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 8697 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Silverbear (28 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D0UXR6G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #197,281 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Expedition 2 Jun. 2013
Among the flurry of new titles that accompanied last month's 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest, one modest little volume is sure to endear itself to aficionados of mountaineering history. Letters from Everest might be seen as a companion volume to The Conquest of Everest, published earlier in the month, in that both books record the contribution made to the success of the expedition by one man in particular, George Lowe, and are edited by the historian of exploration Huw Lewis-Jones. But where Conquest, with its dramatic photography and coffee table format, is very much an "event" book, Letters is altogether lower key, but in many ways better epitomises its author.

Sadly, George Lowe passed away earlier this year, only weeks before the landmark anniversary. With the publication of Conquest and recent interest in the events of the spring of 1953, George's role in putting his friend Edmund Hillary on the summit with Tenzing Norgay is more widely acknowledged. Letters from Everest collects his private letters from 1953, beginning with his arrival in Bombay at the end of February, and ending in Delhi three months later. Some of the text will be familiar to readers of Conquest, having been quoted in that book, but most is previously unpublished in any format. At a time when the immediacy of email and Twitter could not even be imagined, George's letters would take weeks to reach his sister Betty in New Zealand. Betty would then painstakingly reproduce her brother's words by hand, in case the original should go astray, then enlist a local lady to type additional copies for distribution to George's friends and family. This circle of admirers eventually grew to more than 20 people.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The significant word in the title is `from'. George Lowe's letters - to his sister Betty in New Zealand - have all the immediacy and vivacity of first-hand experience. Imagine this as an excuse for a blot on the page: `This isn't a line. I've just had to have the ink bottle thawed over the primus to fill my pen'. George was 20,500 feet up. Or imagine spreading honey on `vita-wheat `biscuits'. George was breakfasting at 25, 800 feet on the South Col of Everest. Ironically, George being on the South Col was unplanned. In mid-May, he reckoned `his' Everest was over. He was `an expendable quantity', exhausted after he'd cut a route up the Lhotse Face without oxygen to prepare the way for the assault parties. Then circumstances changed. George was at the South Col to greet Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on their return from the summit. It was George who first heard of the expedition's success. As Hillary put it, `Well, George, we knocked the bastard off!'

To read these letters is to be reminded of the importance of team work, meticulous planning and flexibility to meet an evolving situation. George Lowe tells it all `verbatim', as he explains to his mother on one occasion, writing in the most wonderfully paired down prose. This doesn't preclude the figurative which, when it comes, so dramatically arrests the reader. Here , for example, is George illustrating the instability of the Khumbu Glacier (the reference is to a previously unsuccessful Swiss expedition): `The continuity of their route is quite gone - here and there on an inaccessible block with 40 foot walls all around is a Swiss flag like a surrealist's dream of a golf course'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars bryn 25 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting to show the human side of an adventurer. The only drawback is that you need background information to get the most of the collection.
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