Catalogue


Fallen giants : a history of Himalayan Mountaineering from the age of empire to the age of extremes /
Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver ; with maps and peak sketches by Dee Molenaar.
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2008.
description
xii, 579 p.
ISBN
0300115016 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780300115017 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2008.
isbn
0300115016 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780300115017 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6601037
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
National Outdoor Book Awards, USA, 2008 : Won
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-01-01:
Successful climbs of the highest Himalayan peaks began midway through the 20th century. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's ascent of Everest in 1953 is the most famous, but others preceded and followed it. In the half century since Hillary's climb, the nature of these expeditions evolved from efforts that had almost military organization and logistics to small-group efforts without named leaders and even solo climbs. In the 21st century, Himalayan climbs sometimes resemble either athletic stunts by extremely well-trained, competent climbers or commercial ventures in which novice climbers pay to be guided to the top. Isserman (Hamilton College) and Weaver (Univ. of Rochester), who are history professors and enthusiastic climbers, provide an excellent history of this evolution. The book is very well written, and it contains numerous stories and a wealth of information about seminal climbs that had a lasting effect on the sport of high-altitude mountaineering. As might be expected given the authors' backgrounds, the book presents an interesting analysis of the cultural evolution of mountaineering. The illustrations are excellent, as is the bibliography. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers, all levels. A. Spero formerly, University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Reviews
Review Quotes
"This survey history establishes base camp for readers interested in the history of Himalayan climbing expeditions. Its strength lies in the way it puts each undertaking within the context of evolving styles of high-altitude mountaineering."Booklist
"It''s difficult to find fault with this exceptionally well-written tome, a must-read for any fan of climbing literature."Kathleen A. Ervin, Failure
"It''s difficult to find fault with this exceptionally well-written tome, a must-read for any fan of climbing literature."Kathleen A. Ervin,Failure
"It's difficult to find fault with this exceptionally well-written tome, a must-read for any fan of climbing literature."�Kathleen A. Ervin, Failure
"This book fills a void in the history of mountaineering, and it will appeal not only to climbers but also historians. The authors have done a prodigious amount of research."�John T. Reilly, Mount Saint Mary College
"This book fills a void in the history of mountaineering, and it will appeal not only to climbers but also historians. The authors have done a prodigious amount of research."John T. Reilly, Mount Saint Mary College
"This survey history establishes base camp for readers interested in the history of Himalayan climbing expeditions. Its strength lies in the way it puts each undertaking within the context of evolving styles of high-altitude mountaineering." Booklist
"This survey history establishes base camp for readers interested in the history of Himalayan climbing expeditions. Its strength lies in the way it puts each undertaking within the context of evolving styles of high-altitude mountaineering."�Booklist
"This will be the definitive history of mountaineering in the Himalaya, clear, free of jargon, and readable, and so thorough that it will not be worth anyone''s time to repeat this effort."Nick Clinch, leader, 1958 American Hidden Peak expedition, and past president, American Alpine Club
�This will be the definitive history of mountaineering in the Himalaya, clear, free of jargon, and readable, and so thorough that it will not be worth anyone's time to repeat this effort."�Nick Clinch, leader, 1958 American Hidden Peak expedition, and past president, American Alpine Club
"A deeply researched and comprehensive treatment of mountaineering in the Himalaya that is an engaging narrative and an illuminating analysis of larger themes."--Mark Harvey, Journal of American History
"A deeply researched and comprehensive treatment of mountaineering in the Himalaya that is an engaging narrative and an illuminating analysis of larger themes."--Mark Harvey,Journal of American History
" Fallen Giantscaptures the spirit of Himalayan climbing. It is wonderfully written and will become an indispensable reference."Charles S. Houston, co-author of K2: The Savage Mountain
"Fallen Giantscaptures the spirit of Himalayan climbing. It is wonderfully written and will become an indispensable reference."Charles S. Houston, co-author of K2: The Savage Mountain
�Fallen Giants captures the spirit of Himalayan climbing. It is wonderfully written and will become an indispensable reference.��Charles S. Houston, co-author of K2: The Savage Mountain
" Fallen Giantsis the book of a lifetime . . . an awe-inspiring work of history and storytelling. . . . Armchair mountaineers will give the book pride of place in their collections."Bruce Barcott, New York Times Book Review
"Fallen Giants is the book of a lifetime . . . an awe-inspiring work of history and storytelling. . . . Armchair mountaineers will give the book pride of place in their collections."�Bruce Barcott, New York Times Book Review
"Fallen Giantsis the book of a lifetime . . . an awe-inspiring work of history and storytelling. . . . Armchair mountaineers will give the book pride of place in their collections."Bruce Barcott,New York Times Book Review
". . . Filled to bursting with lively accounts, prodigious research, and a welcome dash of dry humor, this essential volume makes clear that the saga of mountaineering is, as the authors say, ''more than the record of one damn peak after another.''"The Atlantic Monthly
"This would be a great first book to expose a reader to the amazing stories and sacrifices held within the body of mountaineering literature. Additionally, the historian, scholar, and collector will delight in the unique, in-depth look at the evolution of climbing, and its driving factors, in the Himalaya."Greg Glade, owner, Top of the World Books
"Isserman and Weaver, both unassuming wanderers of high hills, have pulled off a great first ascent: a scholarly, grippingly readable history of Himalayan mountaineering that not only captures the tenuous essence of great successes and failures, but places the accounts of these climbs into historical context."Tom Hornbein, author of Everest: The West Ridge
�Isserman and Weaver, both unassuming wanderers of high hills, have pulled off a great first ascent: a scholarly, grippingly readable history of Himalayan mountaineering that not only captures the tenuous essence of great successes and failures, but places the accounts of these climbs into historical context.��Tom Hornbein, author of Everest: The West Ridge
"Heroism, death, and drama abound. . . . The author''s thoroughness and range make this hefty volume nearly encyclopedic in scope; the details on the ''how'' of climbing, the no-margin-for-error experience, and the bonus of Vittorio Sella''s unmatched photographs make for a great book."Foreward Magazine(Outstanding University Press Books 2008)
"Heroism, death, and drama abound. . . . The author's thoroughness and range make this hefty volume nearly encyclopedic in scope; the details on the 'how' of climbing, the no-margin-for-error experience, and the bonus of Vittorio Sella's unmatched photographs make for a great book."�Foreward Magazine (Outstanding University Press Books 2008)
"In Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes, Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver share unforgettable stories of the history of the world's highest peaks and the climbers who challenged their lofty summits. Their in-depth research gives us unique insights into previously unknown controversies, mysteries, and dramas. This thoughtful book, from a scholarly perspective, introduces us to the greatest peaks and personalities of mountaineering. The new information, intriguing details, insightful interpretations and dry humor make this a must read for armchair mountaineers as well as all who aspire to the heights."Arlene Blum, author of Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life
"Heroism, death, and drama abound. . . . The author''s thoroughness and range make this hefty volume nearly encyclopedic in scope; the details on the ''how'' of climbing, the no-margin-for-error experience, and the bonus of Vittorio Sella''s unmatched photographs make for a great book." Foreward Magazine(Outstanding University Press Books 2008)
". . . Filled to bursting with lively accounts, prodigious research, and a welcome dash of dry humor, this essential volume makes clear that the saga of mountaineering is, as the authors say, 'more than the record of one damn peak after another.'"�The Atlantic Monthly
"InFallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes, Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver share unforgettable stories of the history of the world's highest peaks and the climbers who challenged their lofty summits. Their in-depth research gives us unique insights into previously unknown controversies, mysteries, and dramas. This thoughtful book, from a scholarly perspective, introduces us to the greatest peaks and personalities of mountaineering. The new information, intriguing details, insightful interpretations and dry humor make this a must read for armchair mountaineers as well as all who aspire to the heights."Arlene Blum, author ofBreaking Trail: A Climbing Life
�In Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes, Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver share unforgettable stories of the history of the world�s highest peaks and the climbers who challenged their lofty summits. Their in-depth research gives us unique insights into previously unknown controversies, mysteries, and dramas. This thoughtful book, from a scholarly perspective, introduces us to the greatest peaks and personalities of mountaineering. The new information, intriguing details, insightful interpretations and dry humor make this a must read for armchair mountaineers as well as all who aspire to the heights.��Arlene Blum, author of Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life
�This would be a great first book to expose a reader to the amazing stories and sacrifices held within the body of mountaineering literature. Additionally, the historian, scholar, and collector will delight in the unique, in-depth look at the evolution of climbing, and its driving factors, in the Himalaya.��Greg Glade, owner, Top of the World Books
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, September 2008
Choice, January 2009
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa teammate Tenzing Norgay is a familiar saga, but less well known are the tales of many other adventurers who also came to test their skills and courage against the world's highest and most dangerous mountains. In this lively and generously illustrated book, historians Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver present the first comprehensive history of Himalayan mountaineering in fifty years. They offer detailed, original accounts of the most significant climbs since the 1890s, and they compellingly evoke the social and cultural worlds that gave rise to those expeditions. The book recounts the adventures of such figures as Martin Conway, who led the first authentic Himalayan climbing expedition in 1892; Fanny Bullock Workman, the pioneer explorer of the Karakoram range; George Mallory, the romantic martyr of Mount Everest fame; Charlie Houston, who led American expeditions to K2 in the 1930s and 1950s; Ang Tharkay, the legendary Sherpa, and many others. Throughout, the authors discuss the effects of political and social change on the world of mountaineering, and they offer a penetrating analysis of a culture that once emphasized teamwork and fellowship among climbers, but now has been eclipsed by a scramble for individual fame and glory.
Bowker Data Service Summary
The first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay is a familiar saga, but less well known are tales of the many other adventurers who came to test their skills and courage against the world's highest and most dangerous mountains.
Author Comments
A conversation with Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver Q: What distinguishes your book from the many others on mountains and mountaineering? A: Fallen Giantsis the first comprehensive history of Himalayan mountaineering to appear since the mid-1950s. It is also the first attempt to tell the story of Himalayan mountaineering "from the bottom up," which is to say understanding mountain climbers as the products of particular times and particular cultures. Q: What do you mean by "fallen giants"? A: The title is, on one level, meant to be ironic. After climbing Nanda Devi in the Indian Garhwal region of the Himalaya in 1936, the British climber Bill Tilman wrote regretfully that the first time a great mountain is ascended, some of its "mystery and grandeur" are diminished. He added that a book recounting "the fall of one of the giants" would be bought--or by mountaineers more likely borrowed--"with misgiving and read with loathing." We hope our book will inspire feelings other than misgiving and loathing, even though it describes the fall of many such giants. But the title has another meaning, because in Fallen Giantswe are chronicling the rise and fall of a set of values and norms that once nurtured a strong sense of fellowship and responsibility to others among mountaineers. In the later decades of the 20th century, such attitudes faltered on the slopes of high peaks, as the ideal of a "brotherhood of the rope" succumbed to self-seeking commercialism and a reckless indifference to others. So we are not just recording the "falling" of mountain giants in our book; we are also paying tribute to admirable and endangered values, embodied in mountaineers like Tilman and his longtime climbing partner Eric Shipton, as well as such American climbers as Charlie Houston and Bob Bates, among others. Q: Are either of you mountaineers yourselves? A: Not like the ones we write about. We share a love of mountains and have spent a lot of time climbing and trekking, including in the Himalaya. But we cannot, alas, claim the ascent of a single 8,000-meter peak between us. Our hope is that as historians we bring other useful abilities to bear on telling the story of Himalayan mountaineering.
Table of Contents
Preface: A Fallen Giantp. ix
When Men and Mountains Meetp. 1
The Age of Empire, 1892-1914p. 33
"Because It Is There": George Mallory and the Fight for Everest, 1921-1924p. 83
"A Random Harvest of Delight," 1929-1933p. 127
"Himalayan Hey-Day," 1934-1939p. 165
The Golden Age Postponed, 1940-1950p. 223
"Don't Be a Chicken-Hearted Fellow": Everest, 1950-1953p. 254
The Golden Age of Himalayan Climbing, 1953-1960p. 295
New Frontiers, New Faces, 1961-1970p. 350
The Age of Extremes, 1971-1996p. 398
Notesp. 455
Bibliographyp. 539
Indexp. 565
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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