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My Father, Frank: Unresting Spirit of Everest Hardcover – 1 Oct 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Baton Wicks Publications; 1st edition, October 2013 edition (1 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1898573875
  • ISBN-13: 978-1898573876
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'This book is timely, well researched and written with the authority of a committed climber. The reader will be watching to see just how objective Frank's son will be and I can only compliment Tony Smythe on dealing with all the major events in his father's life in the most even-handed way. I found the quarrel between Smythe and Graham Brown one of the most interesting sections of the book for Tony's description of the climbing is riveting and his analysis of the disagreements masterful. The reader is left gripped - The book does not lack humour either, and I found myself smiling, sometimes laughing out loud.' --Doug Scott

'Frank could obviously be an awkward bloke, but I'm growing fond of him! Hugely impressed, a huge piece of work and very well written.' --Steve Dean

'Just received the second part of your magnificent book - it makes fine reading - All those years of incredible research with interesting findings have paid off - I was amazed about the number of accidents and illnesses he suffered in his short life ' --Richard Smythe (brother).

'Frank could obviously be an awkward bloke, but I'm growing fond of him! Hugely impressed, a huge piece of work and very well written.' --Steve Dean

'Just received the second part of your magnificent book - it makes fine reading - All those years of incredible research with interesting findings have paid off - I was amazed about the number of accidents and illnesses he suffered in his short life ' --Richard Smythe (brother).

About the Author

Tony Smythe was born in 1934. After leaving school he joined the RAF, serving for eight years as a pilot, flying Canberras and Javelins before resigning to devote more time to climbing and travelling. He made numerous journeys, climbs and expeditions, giving lectures to schools and societies about his experiences in the Alps, Eastern Europe and Russia, Canada and Alaska, the Himalayas and South America. In later years he became a potter, making hand-thrown tableware on a wheel at his workshop in Oxfordshire before moving to the Lake District, where he could indulge his passion for paragliding more intensively. To see more of Scotland he set about completing the Munros, summiting the last in 2005, just 50 years after the first. He is the author of Rock Climbers in Action in Snowdonia, a 'cult' book of the 1960s jointly produced with his photographer friend, John Cleare, and has written extensively for journals and magazines about his adventures. He is married, and he and his wife have a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bush bunny on 16 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover
To all of us of a certain age Frank Smythe was one of our boyhood heroes along with Shipton
and Tilman. This book dispels some of the myths which grew up about our hero.

It is very well written and contains many surprises about the prewar mountaineering
scene. Above all it is scrupulously researched and presented honestly in a very balanced
manner which must have been difficulty considering the author is the son of our hero.

It is hair raising to realise that many of his climbs were done without crampons, involving a huge amount of step cutting. Only once in his sadly relatively short life did he use a piton for protection and then he thought he was cheating! What would he thought of all those fixed ropes on Everest.

This book compares very favourably with all the literature currently available on modern
mountaineering achievements.

Well worth the read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RMCT on 11 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a great addition to mountaineering literature. Frank Smythe was a pioneering climber and a prolific author who was at the vanguard of pre-war climbing, along with Shipton and Tilman. Written by his son Tony, this book gives an extremely balanced view. It must be extremely difficult to write an unbiased and even biographer of your own father, but I feel that Tony Smythe has achieved this. He doesn't hide away from his flaws, but also tells the tale of his achievements too.

It's hard to know what impact the second world war had on the climbing careers of people such as Frank Smythe, Eric Shipton, Bill Tilman and Bill Murray, amongst others. It would appear that achievements may have been even greater and the development of climbing and mountaineering wouldn't have stalled.

Lovely book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Avid reader of mountain books on 15 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Tony Smythe's wonderful biography of his father serves to define and place in historical context, this strange and enigmatic man who is a major figure in the history of British climbing and in the story of Everest.
Thoroughly researched, Tony Smythe presents a superbly balanced account of Frank Smythe's short life, both in the mountains and in a domestic context. It tackles the difficult emotional struggles Smythe encountered and outlines his superb achievements both in The Alps and the Himalayas. This is a biography that has been eagerly awaited and the wait has been well worth it. Beautifully written, this is the finest mountaineering biography we have read for many years.
My Father, Frank: Unresting Spirit of Everest
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Biven on 19 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that is indeed about a famous mountaineer but it is far more than that. Tony Smythe has written a most unusual, highly readable and entertaining book about a tortured soul who achieves greatness. The beautifully described antics and adventures of an accomplished climber are but a foil to the real meat of the book which is an honest and yet sympathetic forensic dissection of Frank Smythe's true character. Tony, his son, pulls no punches but is not at all interested in a vacuous trashing of a reputation or rebellious daubings on headstones. The author is unfailingly
direct and fair and this allows the reader to hold up a mirror to their own decent impulses and darkest desires. This book is 5 stars all the way!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mehta on 29 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed immensely reading about the life of Frank Smythe, My Father, Frank by his son Tony Smythe who has painted him human, warts and all. Hero he was and remains to me, but the FS of Tony's book is one with whom I can relate better. For me he has come through not merely a principled man, fully confident and heroic in the domain of mountains as nomads are in their passion and familiar surroundings ; as back in the plains, though universally admired, he was in the midst of people whom he could relate only sparingly, unlike those that were linked to him in trust at the end of a rope. Clearly he was a different person in these two worlds, yet always a loner. He died young, but achieved so much in life, as mountaineer, writer, explorer, botanist, yet it seems he harboured an inner turmoil for a lot that remained in him unfulfilled. He seemed to know that greatness had touched him, yet his heart remained in constant despair in a sense of incompleteness. That made him restless. Yet, in reading between the lines , I am left with a suspicion that despite his aloofness he longed to know his young sons better, to take them to the mountains with him, to feel the joy of recognition of his undeniable greatness, as seen through their eyes for the father they little knew. Maybe that remained the one great unfulfilled aspect of his life. The author's research and attempt to understand and to get to know his father rings truer than whatever I may imagine. It is a very fine book on the life of a wonderful, talented and among the greatest mountain personalities of all time.

Meher H Mehta, FRGS
Former Vice President, The Himalayan Club, Calcutta
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Graham Hoyland on 17 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Frank Smythe was hugely influential to many of us. His books reached out beyond the usual climbing audience, and inspired many to take up this enthralling sport. Tony Smythe has done a superb job of writing his father's biography, and his balanced treatment of this sometimes difficult character has revealed Frank Smythe to us at last.
Well worth buying, reading and keeping.
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