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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This is a beautifully and lavishly illustrated, textually rich book. Its heavy, glossy pages demand the reader's undivided attention and are sure to enthrall all mystery lovers, Everest aficionados, nostalgia junkies, history buffs, and climbing enthusiasts. This book is sure to provide the reader with many hours of enjoyment.
The book chronicles the search for George Mallory and Andrew Irvine by the 1999 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition. It juxtaposes the dramatic turn of events during their expedition with those of the 1924 British Everest Expedition which saw Mallory and Irvine attempt a summit climb, only to disappear into the mists of Everest, never to be seen again. It makes for a spell binding narrative, as past events are woven through present day ones.
The 1999 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition was a meticulously well prepared and well organized venture. With its discovery of George Leigh Mallory's body, it enjoyed much success. The research and analysis that went into its ultimate, well thought out conclusions were comprehensive and fascinating, with its strong reliance upon forensics and deductive reasoning. Their reconstruction of Mallory's and Irvine's last climb is riveting. Unfortunately, the ultimate question still remains unanswered. Did they or did they not reach the summit of Mount Everest back in 1924?
The beautiful photographs of the personal effects found upon Mallory's person underscore a certain poignancy about the discovery of Mallory's well preserved body. The photographs which memorialize this discovery are amazingly lovely and tasteful, considering its subject matter, and hauntingly illustrate the finality with which Everest may deal with mountaineers, no matter how accomplished.
The photographs also highlight how ill equipped for the harsh climatic conditions were the early Everest expeditions. It is amazing, and a credit to those early expeditioners' courage and fortitude, in braving such an inhospitable and harsh terrain with the inadequate clothing and equipment available to them at the time. Mallory and Irvine were certainly intrepid explorers!
This book is a fitting tribute to two men who sought to make a historic summit and, in their attempt, would forever be a part of Everest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2012
Anyone who has an interest in climbing or Mount Everest, cant help but know something of the story of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine's attempt for the summit of the highest peak on Earth and their subsequent disappearance in 1924.

This is a well reserched and thoroughly engrossing novel of the British establishments obsession to claim the "3rd pole" before anyone else could. One is certainly thrown back into the days when the likelihood of death as the price for adventure was met with a stiff upper lip and a puff on the pipe.

George Mallory in particular has gained iconic status for this valiant attempt that finished in disaster, but the mystery of whether he made the summit and died whilst coming down is no clearer when you finish this work. Eye witness testimony is somewhat unreliable on the exact position the two climbers were at when the support crew lost sight of them. They were most likely still facing the "second" and "third" steps which are the most hazardous parts of the final ascent.

I wont presume to know what really happened, but in my mind I believe the evidence suggests that Mallory and Irvine didnt get any higher than the second step at best. No artifacts were found from the 1924 expedition any higher than that point, but the mystery isnt that straightforward. Mallorys camera was never found and a photograph of his wife, that he was intending to leave on the summit, wasnt found on his body or in his possessions.

The concluding passage in the book poses the thought that perhaps the real issue, is not whether they made it to the top, but how bravely they faced an almost impossible challenge with the limited equiptment and survival knowledge available at the time.

I for one, will always long to know if they "knocked the b*rstard off" !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2011
I first came across the Mallory and Irving story at primary school - in a children's reading book called something like 'Stories of Everest'. According to my youngest it's still there!

Now, almost 50 years later, the story is still with me and after seeing The Wildest Dream [DVD] recently on TV I was inspired to read up more on both the story and the expedition 75 years later that was to find Mallory's body frozen into the mountainside.

As far as I can see, there are 3 versions of the 1999 expedition by people who were on the team; The BBC's Lost on Everest: The Search for Mallory and Irvine,The Lost Explorer: Finding Mallory on Mount Everest and this one. The BBC's tome was written by their producer of the TV documentary at the time but lacks the first-hand experiences of those who planned the expedition and were high on the mountain during the discovery of the body, a subsequent high-altitude rescue and then a successful summiting by 2 members of the team. 'The Lost Explorer' is the version by climber Conrad Anker, who first saw the body and then was part of the summit team. If you've seen The Wildest Dream you can appreciate that Mr Anker can be a bit 'me, me, me'. So on balance, in my opinion, Ghosts of Everest: The Authorised Story of the Search for Mallory and Irvine is the most complete account of the expedition, it's conception and the historical background. It's very readable, beautifully laid out, with loads of official photographs of rescued artifacts and (tastefully chosen) Mallory's body.

All of the above is presented nicely in parallel with a detailed account, maps and photographs of the ill-fated 1924 trip.

If you are going to read just one factual account of the story, read this one!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a beautifully and lavishly illustrated, textually rich book. Its heavy, glossy pages demand the reader's undivided attention and are sure to enthrall all mystery lovers, Everest aficionados, nostalgia junkies, history buffs, and climbing enthusiasts. This book is sure to provide the reader with many hours of enjoyment.
The book chronicles the search for George Mallory and Andrew Irvine by the 1999 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition. It juxtaposes the dramatic turn of events during their expedition with those of the 1924 British Everest Expedition which saw Mallory and Irvine attempt a summit climb, only to disappear into the mists of Everest, never to be seen again. It makes for a spell binding narrative, as past events are woven through present day ones.
The 1999 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition was a meticulously well prepared and well organized venture. With its discovery of George Leigh Mallory's body, it enjoyed much success. The research and analysis that went into its ultimate, well thought out conclusions were comprehensive and fascinating, with its strong reliance upon forensics and deductive reasoning. Their reconstruction of Mallory's and Irvine's last climb is riveting. Unfortunately, the ultimate question still remains unanswered. Did they or did they not reach the summit of Mount Everest back in 1924?
The beautiful photographs of the personal effects found upon Mallory's person underscore a certain poignancy about the discovery of Mallory's well preserved body. The photographs which memorialize this discovery are amazingly lovely and tasteful, considering its subject matter, and hauntingly illustrate the finality with which Everest may deal with mountaineers, no matter how accomplished.
The photographs also highlight how ill equipped for the harsh climatic conditions were the early Everest expeditions. It is amazing, and a credit to those early expeditioners' courage and fortitude, in braving such an inhospitable and harsh terrain with the inadequate clothing and equipment available to them at the time. Mallory and Irvine were certainly intrepid explorers!
This book is a fitting tribute to two men who sought to make a historic summit and, in their attempt, would forever be a part of Everest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2007
"Ghosts of Everest" is a story that stays with you long after you have finished the book. The narrator takes a while to get going and the initial chapters dwell perhaps a little too much on the difficulties that the 1999 expedition had to get going and their squabbles with the BBC but then the story really takes off and flows.

I love the juxtaposition of the two expeditions - on the same course but separated by 75 years. It is left for the reader to contrast the 1924 British explorers (with their hob-nailed boots, puttees, gabardines, hand-written notes, Kendall mint cake, quails in foie gras, stiff upper lips and vintage champagne) with their (mainly) US counterparts in 1999 (e-mails, radios, Starbuck's sponsorship, Easy Cheese, Snickers, down suits and Goretex and laid-back Seattle philosophies) - and of course to compare the dedication and spirit of both teams.

The book ascends to a climax and the final pages of the last chapter, "Notes on an Envelope", which speculate on one possible scenario of Mallory and Irvine's last moments, are incredibly moving.

My only minor niggles with the book, apart from the slow start, are that the paperback version that I have has some typos among the photos that are a little irritating. In addition, we have a US American author writing for an international audience so lengthy explanations of "Bovril", "Bully Beef" and "Kendall's (sic) mint cake" are necessary!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2010
Ghosts of Everest is an insightful and interesting book only marred by some early parts of the book being a little dull.

Jochen Hemmlebb, Larry A Johnson & Eric R Simonson set out to unearth the true facts on the disappearence of Mallory & Irvine on the 1924 Everest expedition. They do this in two ways, first they research the already available accounts and historical material then secondly in 1999 they embarked on their own expedition to try and locate the remains of Irvine & Mallory.

Sadly the first part of the book spends quite a bit of time dealing with the groups own trials and tribulations in the build up to the 1999 expedition, which for me was really not that interesting. Fortunately they interweave this with the historical background to Mallorys expedition in 1924, which saved me from complete boredom!

Patience is rewarded when the book really moves up a gear in the second half as the 1999 team start to discover artefacts and clues from 1924 preserved by cold and altitude for 80 years on Everest. It becomes a riveting narrative as they piece together the evidence and make educated but plausible guesses as to what may or may not have happened to Mallory & Irvine. I feel they could have expanded on this area and minimised on some of the early parts of their own expedition.

In short it's a book that rewards patience though some may feel slightly short changed by the slow start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 1999
There was inevitably bound to be a rush of new books about Mallory & Irvine after the discovery of Mallory's body, but this may be the one to read. It is extremely attractively put together, with some superb photographs (and some slightly grim ones - don't buy this if you were offended by the fact that photos of the body were published) and some excellent analysis.
It is of course inconclusive on the subject of whether they reached the top - anyone who claims to know the answer to this is not worth listening to. But there is a sense that the writers desperately want Mallory to have made it, and some of the analysis is a tiny bit unbalanced as a result (particularly the section concluding that they may well have taken three bottles of oxygen each). In the end, we may never have the answer (and don't let's kid ourselves, we would LOVE to know), but it's just possible that they will find Irvine's body at some point soon, and who knows what they will find there. It still remains a distinct possibility (though not a probability) that they reached the summit. But then, they didn't get down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2005
This book is excellent. I have been veguely interested in the Mallory / Irvine attempt of 1924, and bought this on an impulse. It is meticulously researched, objectively written, and yet retains amid the rigorous factual content and analysis a compassion and a heart. Where it would be easy to concentrate on the possibility (quite high, it seems) of a successful summit attampt 29 years before Hillary & Tenzing, the writer and contributors give equal weight to the opposite.
Just ordered the 2001 sequel, and look forward to it immensely.
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on 27 December 1999
As soon as I saw "The Ghosts of Everest"in the bookshop I knew that I would enjoy it.What I didn't know was how much!It is the best read I've had in ages.What an heroic man George Mallory was ,and I only became aware of it while reading this book.I think it was the artifacts that did it for me,the grocery list,the watch with the rusted away hands...time frozen...the grocery list,scissors,pencil,pin,matches,pocketknife,a clean hanky,all the things any Boy Scout would have had in his pocket when setting off on a great adventure.All beautifully pictured in the book.I would like to thank the Authors of this book for sharing with me the beautiful experience of the discovery of Mallory's body,it allowed me to add my respect sorrow and admiration for a life well lived .May he rest in peace on the mountain,a monument to the heroism of men who did it without 'mod cons'.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2000
I purchased this book on the back of the excellent TV documentary (shown earler this year on BBC2) made by the same expedition team and that's probably the main reason I'd only give 3 stars. It's difficult to re-create, in print, the same atmosphere of anticipation, tension and struggle in searching for a body at 26000ft in life threatening conditions. I was also a little disappointed in the quality and quantity of the pictures included; again, moving film conveys much more detail. Where the book did score was in it's detailed analyis of each possible scenario as to whether Mallory and Irvine could have reached the summit. Like all good mysteries, it will remain just that for the time being. In short, if you've not seen the film yet, I suggesting reading the book first rather than vice-versa. PS.After reading the book, you will wonder how the BBC managed to hang onto the film rights!!
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