The Boys of Everest: Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing's Greatest Generation

Overview

Clint Willis’s book tells the story of a band of climbers who reinvented mountaineering during the three decades after Everest’s first ascent. It is a story of tremendous courage, astonishing achievement and heart-breaking loss. Their leader was the boyish, fanatically driven Chris Bonington. His inner circle — which came to be know as Bonington’s Boys — included a dozen who became climbing’s greatest generation. Bonington’s Boys gave birth to a new brand of climbing. They took increasingly terrible risks on ...

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Overview

Clint Willis’s book tells the story of a band of climbers who reinvented mountaineering during the three decades after Everest’s first ascent. It is a story of tremendous courage, astonishing achievement and heart-breaking loss. Their leader was the boyish, fanatically driven Chris Bonington. His inner circle — which came to be know as Bonington’s Boys — included a dozen who became climbing’s greatest generation. Bonington’s Boys gave birth to a new brand of climbing. They took increasingly terrible risks on now-legendary expeditions to the world’s most fearsome peaks. And they paid an enormous price for their achievements. Most of Bonington’s Boys died in the mountains, leaving behind the hardest question of all: Was it worth it?

The Boys of Everest, based on interviews with surviving climbers and other individuals, as well as five decades of journals, expedition accounts, and letters, provides the closest thing to an answer that we’ll ever have. It offers riveting descriptions of what Bonington's Boys found in the mountains, as well as an understanding of what they lost there.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786720248
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 536
  • Sales rank: 1,448,213
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Clint Willis has published more than forty books, including anthologies on topics such as adventure, politics, relgion, and war. His work has appeared in hundreds of publications, including Men's Journal, Outside, and the New York Times. His work has also been nominated for the American Society of Magazine Editors' National Magazine Award.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 3, 2009

    There are better books than this if you are interested in this period of climbing/mountaineering and the characters involved

    I have a problem with Clint Willis. The fact that not a single person for whom he purports to speak graced the dust jacket with so much as a mention should be proof enough (Al Alvarez notwithstanding).
    He makes an apologist's excuse in the introduction for speaking on behalf of the likes of Bonnington, McInness, Haston and Whillans, and then proceeds to barge ahead nonetheless, peppering the text with suppositions about what they were feeling at the time.
    This book is a fictionalized (though well researched) book about the period. Anyone accustomed to reading first-hand accounts and biographies by and about mountaineering and climbers will feel duped.
    Having said that, he does it well. Non-climbers can get a glimpse inside the heads of the greatest mountaineers of their generation, albeit filtered through the limited experience of Clint Willis the climber/author. He seamlessly blends explanations of basic techniques with a climber's sensibility to what it feels like to be utterly exposed on the side of a mountain.
    I find this period in climbing history to be utterly compelling, but for every time I lose myself in the events of the text, I am also rolling my eyes about his writing style.

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