Regions of the Heart: The Triumph and Tragedy of Alison Hargreaves

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By any standard, Alison Hargreaves was a world-class mountaineer. In May 1995, she reached the summit of Mount Everest without support or bottled oxygen. No other woman and few men had climbed the mountain in such a strong style, and the accomplishment made Hargreaves an international climbing star. Less than three months later she was dead, killed by a sudden, violent storm shortly after struggling to the top of K2, second in height to Everest but a more dangerous challenge. In the emotional public reaction to ...
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Overview

By any standard, Alison Hargreaves was a world-class mountaineer. In May 1995, she reached the summit of Mount Everest without support or bottled oxygen. No other woman and few men had climbed the mountain in such a strong style, and the accomplishment made Hargreaves an international climbing star. Less than three months later she was dead, killed by a sudden, violent storm shortly after struggling to the top of K2, second in height to Everest but a more dangerous challenge. In the emotional public reaction to this tragedy, her triumphs were suddenly eclipsed by controversy.

Instead of eulogies, her death was greeted by anger: How dare the mother of two young children risk her life and her family's future on so deadly anundertaking? Was her lifelong passion for climbing a badge of courage or the mark of supreme irresponsibility? Should she be remembered as a superlative mountaineer or as an immature and selfish woman? It was a bitter end to an extraordinary and misunderstood career.

In Regions of the Heart, David Rose and Ed Douglas set the record straight, presenting a thoughtful, compelling portrait of Hargreaves that restores her reputation while acknowledging her shortcomings and lapses of judgement. They show us a woman who found freedom and fulfillment on the steep faces of some of the world's most forbidding mountains, a wife trapped in an increasingly troubled marriage, and a mother who sought literally to climb her way to financial security -- a desperate gamble for which she would ultimately pay with her life.

Short-listed for the prestigious Banff Mountain Literature grand prize, Regions of the Heart is a story of unparalleled adventure and a vividglimpse of the intensely competitive, always perilous world of men and women who are never more than a single step away from death. Readers will finish this book both saddened and inspired, with a new understanding of Alison Hargreaves and the true challenges she struggled bravely to overcome.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Uninitiated readers might suspect that, having climbed Mount Everest alone and without using oxygen in 1995, Hargreaves's determination to reach the summit of K2, the second highest peak in the world, was fuelled solely by a desire for further fame. However, as British journalist Rose (the Guardian and the Observer) and Douglas (editor, Alpine Journal) reveal, Alison continued the climb that would ultimately kill her because she was desperate to dissolve an unhappy marriage. Climbing was the only real talent Hargreaves possessed, and the money she would have received from speaking engagements and endorsements would have enabled her to leave her husband and support her two children. This multifaceted account of her tragic life details her climbing and peripheral activities, and the authors deserve considerable credit. This book, which was shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Literature Festival grand prize, will appeal to climbing and outdoors enthusiasts.--Robert E. Greenfield, formerly with Baltimore Cty. P.L. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Rebecca Stephens
This book sets the record straight.
The Daily Mail (London)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792276951
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 6/1/1901
  • Series: Adventure Press Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 4.06 (w) x 5.96 (h) x 0.53 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2001

    Not Very Interesting

    I think that Hargreaves emerges from the pages of this book as a selfish and egotistical woman who climbed for others not for herself. Her poor decisions in life and in the mountains can serve as a good object lesson. This was probably the best job that could be done with the subject without being more blunt about how shallow and senseless this woman was as a person and a climber. The authors seem hung up on the issue of whether she should have continued climbing or taken care of her children and seem to suggest that since many men who were fathers continued to climb that she was no different. This may be true but it doesn't help her position if she is proved as selfish as some men. I wouldn't read this book looking for anything uplifting or positive, and overall I found it boring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2000

    Follow your heart

    I really enjoyed this book. I found it hard to belive that one person, her husband, could control her so much. Even though she had trementous spirit and determation. I will recommend this book to a number of my climbing and none climbing freinds.

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