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First Conquest of an 8000-Meter Peak

Format Book Category Narratives
Title Annapurna  Pages 314 
Author Maurice Herzog  RRP $20.00 AUD 
Publisher The Lyons Press  Reviews
Edition 1 edition (June 1, 1997)  Ave Rating **** (3.50 of 5)


User Comments
Annapurna (1952)
Maurice Herzog

The Essential Gist: The story of the bravura ascent of the first 8000m peak to be climbed is recounted in heroic style with a cast featuring many of the celebrated Etoiles du Midi of the 50s, Lachenal, Rébuffat, Terray.

60-second summary: An epic tale of mountaineering derring-do written in dramatic style with plenty of Latin bravado thrown in for good measure. To be honest, it does go on a bit at the start, but it’s worth sticking with, for the events recounted within these covers were to prove both an historical turning point in mountaineering, and an inspiring story of human endurance. The action builds to a crescendo high on the icy slopes of Annapurna where, after victorious moments on the summit, the story culminates with a devastating retreat under fire from avalanches and stonefall and the most horrid after-effects of frostbite. After all these years, Herzog’s accounts of field surgery from a victim’s perspective are still ball-shrinkingly graphic.

Characteristic excerpt: ‘Terray felt a chill in his heart... the slope was bare now. Lachenal had disappeared. Terray was horribly startled, and could only utter unintelligible cries. It was a ghastly moment for him. A violent wind sent the mist tearing by...’

Like this? Try these….The Kurt Diemberger Omnibus, Kurt Diemberger
This is a classic, in the same league as The White Spider. I read this book while trekking the Annapurna Circuit, and it was really cool to be in the same villages, travel the same passes as those guys way back. Although a little glorified in parts, and also controversial... did they really summit??... this is a must read for any climber. There is also a good book which examines the facts of the ascent, which is a very interesting follow-up read.... I've forgotten the name, I'll post it here some other time. 
To be read with the David Roberts'' True Summit 

If you read other less known and publicized accounts of this first accent,
Maurice Herzogs record in this book significantly questioned. This was
probably due to Herzogs position and status, and the fact that it was written
at a time (1951) when people didn''t challenge higher authorities. If it was
written today, its accuracy would be questioned in the same way as much
as Krakauer''s "Into Thin Air", but it''s not nearly as entertaining.
Read in conjunction with "True Summit: What Really Happened on the
Legendary Ascent of Annapurna". 

Further Reading:
Amazon - Details on purchase, reviews, etc.


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