Wildest Dream: The Biography of George Mallory

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An in-depth, well-rounded portrait of George Mallory, offering insight into the man behind the myth and the controversy.Chronicles all three of Mallory’s Everest expeditions Illuminates how Mallory reconciled his ambitions on Everest with his unquestioned love for his wife and family The mystery of George Mallory continues to capture the public’s imagination

Since the discovery in 1999 of George Mallory’s body on Everest, controversy has raged over whether Mallory and Andrew ...

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Wildest Dream: The Biography of George Mallory

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Overview

An in-depth, well-rounded portrait of George Mallory, offering insight into the man behind the myth and the controversy.Chronicles all three of Mallory’s Everest expeditions Illuminates how Mallory reconciled his ambitions on Everest with his unquestioned love for his wife and family The mystery of George Mallory continues to capture the public’s imagination

Since the discovery in 1999 of George Mallory’s body on Everest, controversy has raged over whether Mallory and Andrew Irvine could have summitted the mountain. Every detail of the climb has been dissected and Mallory’s skill as a mountaineer has been hotly debated. Observing the debate, Peter and Leni Gillman felt that the essence of who Mallory was as an individual had been lost. In The Wildest Dream they offer the most comprehensive biography ever written about one of the twentieth century’s most intriguing personalities.

Exploring Mallory’s early years, the Gillmans take the reader to Cambridge and Bloomsbury where Mallory consorted with some of the most colorful literary and artistic figures of Edwardian England: Rupert Brooke, James and Lytton Strachey, Maynard and Geoffrey Keynes, and Duncan Grant, among others. The Wildest Dream moves on to examine exactly what Mallory accomplished as a climber, evaluating the quality of his routes and skills within the context of climbing in the early 1900s.

At the heart of this biography, and of Mallory’s life, is his wife, Ruth. The letters they exchanged during the many separations caused by World War I and three Everest expeditions reveal the depth of their commitment to each other and the unwavering support and strength Ruth offered George. The Everest expeditions are also insightfully rendered, offering perspective on criticisms levied at Mallory after the 1921 and 1922 attempts. The authors examine how Mallory, a dedicated husband and father, arrived at his fateful decision to participate in the doomed 1924 expedition and why he continued to press for a summit attempt when the odds seemed stacked against him. As Mallory once declared, a climber was what he was, and this is what climbers did; this was how they fulfilled their wildest dreams.

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Editorial Reviews

Outside Magazine
Much has been written about Mallory's mysterious end, but this graceful, meticulous biography should revive appreciation for his achievement as a philosopher of mountaineering, the man who wrote of one Alpine summit, Have we vanquished an enemy? None but ourselves.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Why did George Mallory, his 1924 expedition in treacherous straits, nevertheless make a last-ditch attempt to go for the summit of Mt. Everest--a decision that cost the lives of this seasoned climber and his young climbing partner, Andrew Irvine? To the Gillmans, British journalists and mountaineers who together retraced Mallory's 1921 reconnaissance expedition, the answer is plain: he hoped to resolve the conflict at the core of his marriage, to obviate the need for further expeditions and further separations from his beloved wife, Ruth. This vivid, illustrated biography is both a moving tribute to Mallory and a fresh reappraisal of the man and the legends surrounding him. While the authors take no position on whether or not Mallory and Irvine reached Everest's acme--a controversy intensified by the discovery of Mallory's body in 1999--they provide a useful summary of the ongoing debate. Drawing liberally on letters between Mallory and his wife, the Gillmans chart the highs and lows of a marriage strained by his periodic absences. While mountain climbing was for decades an imperialist's sport, Mallory did not fit the mold. A rector's son, he became a Fabian socialist and agnostic at Cambridge, making friends with poet Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves and Bloomsbury painter Duncan Grant, and indulging in a brief homosexual affair. Mallory's literary output includes a study of Boswell and an intense love sonnet to fianc e Ruth. Among the spate of recent books on Mallory's Everest expeditions, this biography stands out for its well-rounded, sensitive portrait of a restless, thoughtful adventurer. Photos. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Booknews
Investigative reporter Peter and outdoor writer Leni, husband and wife, journeyed through Tibet, retracing the steps of Mallory's 1921 Everest reconnaissance expedition. They draw also on newly discovered letters and documents, and reminiscences of his children to explore the youthful radical socialist and teacher of Robert Graves, his entanglements with the Bloomsbury set, his homosexual infatuation,. and other aspects. They reveal the true identity of Stella, the mysterious women whose letter was in his pocket when his body was found high on Everest in May 1999. No one knows whether he made it to the top in 1924. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780898867411
  • Publisher: Mountaineers Books, The
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Edition description: 1 NO AMER
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7
Prologue 11
Chapter 1 A Taste for Risk 19
Chapter 2 The Charming Mallory 35
Chapter 3 L'Affaire George 51
Chapter 4 Fresh Pleasures 65
Chapter 5 Dear Cottie 79
Chapter 6 A Strange Thrill 93
Chapter 7 Immortal Love 111
Chapter 8 The Pity of War 133
Chapter 9 Any Aspirations? 155
Chapter 10 The Opportunity of a Lifetime 167
Chapter 11 A Desperate Game 195
Chapter 12 A Sacrifice Either Way 215
Chapter 13 Vanishing Hopes 243
Epilogue 261
Appendices
1 Who Was Stella? 270
2 The Survivors 273
3 Climbing Grades 276
4 Bibliography and Sources 277
Photo Credits 282
Index 283
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