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Everest - The First Ascent: How a Champion of Science Conquered the Mountain

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Winner:Banff Award for Mountain and Wilderness LiteratureThe British Sportsbook Award for Outstanding General Sports WritingThe Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain LiteratureFinalist for the HW Fisher Biographer's PrizeEverest was not conquered by force of will alone. It required immense planning, research, and preparation. Dr. Griffith Pugh's role in the first successful ascent of Everest in 1953 by Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay was absolutely pivotal, yet this story has until now remained untold. As the ...

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Everest - The First Ascent: How a Champion of Science Helped to Conquer the Mountain

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Overview

Winner:Banff Award for Mountain and Wilderness LiteratureThe British Sportsbook Award for Outstanding General Sports WritingThe Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain LiteratureFinalist for the HW Fisher Biographer's PrizeEverest was not conquered by force of will alone. It required immense planning, research, and preparation. Dr. Griffith Pugh's role in the first successful ascent of Everest in 1953 by Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay was absolutely pivotal, yet this story has until now remained untold. As the expedition's physiological consultant, Pugh designed almost every aspect of the survival strategy for the expedition, the acclimatisation programme, the oxygen- and fluid-intake regime, the diet, the clothing and the high altitude boots. A spirit of gentleman-amateurism had prevailed previously and this new scientific professionalism ensured the success of the expedition and opened the way for a stunning stream of mountaineering successes. Within five years climbers had scaled nearly all of the world's highest peaks in relative safety. Dr. Pugh became known as one of the fathers of altitude medicine, saving the lives of several members of Hillary's expedition to Mount Makalu, and pioneering safety techniques for mountaineers and hill walkers.This is also the story of Griffith Pugh, the man, a troubled and eccentric person who had difficulties in sustaining personal relationships in both his personal and professional lives. His daughter and author of this biography, Harriet Tuckey, did not discover the extent of her father's role in the success of the climb until he was honored late in life at the Royal Geographical Society. His story shines a necessary and fascinating light on one of mankind's greatest achievments.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this illuminating and well-researched portrait of an eccentric, brilliant scientist, Tuckey demonstrates Pugh's important contributions to the British success on Everest, while also openly addressing his faults and her own troubled relationship with him" - Library Journal"Harriet Tuckey's gripping account finally establishes her father's role as the difference between triumph and failure, and the man himself as the real hero of the expedition."- The Daily Mail (UK)"Marvelously enjoyable and exciting...poignant." - The Times"Remarkable...complex and multi-dimension...intensely compelling." - High Altitude Medicine & Biology"Terrific, a priceless gift. Harriet Tuckey's journey to find her dad is a beautiful, no-holds-barred bit of writing that tells not only about physiologist Griffith Pugh but also a big hunk of Everest history that has somehow stayed discreetly under wraps for six decades. As the story of Pugh's seminal but under-recognized contribution to the success of Everest '53, it fills in a big blank on the map and is a window on the interpersonal dynamics and politics surrounding that first ascent." - Tom Hornbein, US Mountaineer, Emeritus professor of anesthesiology and physiology and author of Everest: The West Ridge"Shines an entirely new light on the great expedition - a riveting read, full of surprises" - Sir Chris Bonington"A most remarkable work about a perfectly extraordinary man. I much admire it." - Jan Morris"The most important addition to the story of Everest" - Doug Scott'Superb...this compulsively readable and data-rich book is a tribute to a very distinguished applied physiologist of extraordinary vision, ability, energy and tenacity" - Craig Sharp, Emeritus Professor of Sports Science, Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance, Brunel University"Moving...meticulously researched...New insights that will set many people thinking again of the great achievement...This book should help to set the record straight...Superb..." John West, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Physiology, University of California, San Diego
Library Journal
In this combination of biography and mountaineering history, Tuckey examines the life and work of her father, British physician Griffith Pugh, who was among the first scientists to undertake in-depth research on the physiological aspects of climbing, including acclimatization, oxygen use, and hypothermia. Pugh's groundbreaking findings on the impact of extreme high altitude on human physiology were eventually put into practical use during the triumphant 1953 expedition that saw Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay make history as the first to summit Everest. However, Pugh's essential role in this first conquest of Everest was largely downplayed at the time and is little known today. Now, in this illuminating and well-researched portrait of an eccentric, brilliant scientist, Tuckey demonstrates Pugh's important contributions to the British success on Everest, while also openly addressing his faults and her own troubled relationship with him. VERDICT Best suited to general readers or researchers interested in Mount Everest, the history of mountaineering, or the origins of high-altitude medicine and modern sports science, who may also consider Edmund Hillary's High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest.—Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762791927
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/21/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Harriet Tuckey is the daughter of Dr. Griffith Pugh. She has a first class honors degree in Literature and an MA in the sociology of literature (University of Essex). She has worked as a researcher for the Fabian Research Institute and worked on the first national surveys commissioned by the British Government into race relations and unemployment. She joined the Civil Service in 1976 but left three years later when the first of her children was born. When all three of her daughters were at university she joined them, reading for a postgraduate diploma in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, London specializing in Gothic Architecture and Northern Renaissance painting. She began work on this biography in 2004. It has already been awarded a prize by the Biographer's Club (judged by Margaret Drabble, John Guy and Anne de Courcy).

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    Posted June 10, 2014

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