Top critical review
Thorough and coherent but not thrilling
on 30 April 2013
This is a straightforward and thoroughly-researched book on the first successful ascent of Everest 60 years ago. It sets the expedition in the context of the previous failed efforts and gives good background to the climbing party's membership, relationships and so on. I have read a number of mountaineering books recently - both relating to the early attempts on Everest in the 1920s and covering the present era of commercialised expeditions, and feel that perhaps this book fails to capture what must have been incredible joy and excitement when the summit was finally reached. Hillary's own account of the last part of the climb is re-printed in this account, and is indeed very under-stated, but perhaps the more contemporaneous account in Jan Morris' "Coronation Everest" gives a better feel for the enormity of the achievement. It is an engaging read, particularly for its coverage of the aftermath and the later activities of climbing party members, and has a good plate section.