The boys have enjoyed doing book reviews, and now its my turn. I recently found out that Britmums have a Book Club, so as I enjoy reading, I thought I would take part. I don’t find a lot of “me” time for reading – mainly just when I’m waiting to pick the boys up from school.
This story “Above All Things” by Tanis Rideout is about George Mallory’s third attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1924, almost 30 years before Sir Edmund Hillary became the first to reach the summit. It is fiction, but based on a true story.
I do enjoy historical stories, so I was looking forward to reading this book. There are two threads running through the book, one set in the Himalayas on the climb with flashbacks to previous memories. And one set in Cambridge, where George’s wife Ruth, family and friends wait for news. It is very hard for Ruth to let her beloved husband go on these dangerous expeditions and she waits weeks between letters. Meanwhile George is desperate to conquer Everest, believing this is his last chance to be on the expedition team. We hear the tale through George, Ruth and Sandy, George’s climbing partner.
It is hard to imagine how they could take on the challenge with such primitive equipment and clothing compared to modern mountaineering gear. Everest remains a dangerous terrain, with an avalanche causing the worst tragedy only last month. It is unknown whether George Mallory and Sandy Irvine did reach the summit before they died. According to author notes at the back of the book, Mallory’s body was only discovered in 1999 and Irvine remains undiscovered.
It is also difficult to comprehend how long it took for news to reach Ruth compared to all our modern communication methods. Even at the end, a newspaper reporter arriving before the official telegram.
I hadn’t heard of George Mallory prior to reading this book, but I really enjoyed it and it has inspired me to add one of the non-fiction books mentioned in the author notes to my reading wishlist.
Disclosure. This post is a review of a book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.