Top positive review
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Tragic story powerfully told
on 6 January 2014
I've read quite a few books about climbing in the Himalayas and Karakorum, but I haven't read one more powerful than this. The book starts by giving a brief overview of the cultures and home villages of the main local (i.e. Pakistani and Nepalese) personalities in this tragic story. In part the book tells the familiar one of those with the money (in this case, people form the west and Korea) taking advantage of the high altitude porters and local climbers who are employed primarily to get them to the top of whatever mountain is being climbed (K2 in this instance). However, this book is different to the others I've read because the focus is vey much on the "Sherpa" community rather than the fee paying climbers.
Additionally, when things start to go very very wrong, the writing is such that I felt I got a palpable sense of how the key players were thinking and feeling.
The book finishes off with a powerful insight into the impact on the families that are left behind when their husbands/sons/brothers go off to the mountains, and also the emotional pain suffered by those porters and climbers who manage to survive and return home when others, including family members, don't.
Finally, I think the book successfully manages not to be preachy about the ethics involved in these kinds of tragedies, but you are left in little doubt as to who are the biggest losers when tragedy strikes.
A brilliant book.