UKC

Mountain Literature Classics: Annapurna by Maurice Herzog

New Topic
Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
 UKC Articles 15 Jun 2022

"Himalayan climbing books are a bit like bad video games" says Ronald Turnbull. "Plodding uphill, in a snowstorm, not really knowing where you are; and then pouf! You're dead. What is it about this one that has sold 11 million copies, making it the Number One mountaineering book of all time?"

Read more

 Doug 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC Articles:

Pity you couldn't find a few more lines to add more about David Robert's book & the reaction to it in France. Maybe another article ?

1
 GrahamD 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC Articles:

This book is such a gripping read.

 Mick Ward 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC Articles:

Can totally understand you going over your word count!

Will always have a plethora of mixed emotions about this book. 

Isn't there a rumour that either Nea Morin and Janet Adam Smith wrote the brilliant last line?

Mick 

P.S. Can we have Janet Adam Smith and Nea Morin in this series?

 Mick Ward 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Doug:

What was the reaction (or reactions?) in France? 

I had even more mixed emotions about this one!

Mick 

 VictorM 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC Articles:

I read it a couple of years ago back to back with Mick Connefrey's Everest 1953 and the difference between those two ascents, only a couple of years apart, really struck me. The French returned with frostbitten hands and feet all over the place and seemed to wing important parts of the expedition. By comparison the 1953 Everest expedition was almost boring in its efficiency!

Both great reads though. 

 Mick Ward 15 Jun 2022
In reply to VictorM:

Very different mindsets between the leadership of the two expeditions. 

Herzog should never have gone for the top. He put Lachenal in an untenable position. Fair enough if he was prepared to sacrifice his life for a moral victory for France. But - entirely understandably - that's not how the other expedition members viewed it.  

It would certainly have been better for Lachenal and very probably better for Terray and Rebuffat if they'd simply walked away. The price was too high. 

Mick 

In reply to Mick Ward:

> Herzog should never have gone for the top. He put Lachenal in an untenable position.

Yes, I was horrified by that episode. How could he put his mate in that position?

 Mick Ward 16 Jun 2022
In reply to BusyLizzie:

I've gone over it in my mind so many times, trying to justify it from his point of view - still can't. 

But... France being ripped apart in the First World War. So many lives dreadfully lost. The horror and ignominy of the occupation. The prevailing nationalism of Himalayan mountaineering back then (e.g. Everest as 'the British mountain', Nanga Parbat as 'the German mountain'), the condition whereby no 8,000 metre peak had yet been climbed. Maybe he regarded Lachenal as unfortunate 'collateral damage' if the worst happened - just one more life when so many had already been sacrificed. 

In my mind Annapurna is always linked with Bien Dien Phu. The latter a deadly cocktail of nationalism and arrogance. And then, as on Annapurna, the sheer, unbridled heroism shining through.  

But still the age-old question, "Is it worth it?" And so often the answer is, "No... it's not."

Mick 

 Sean Kelly 16 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC Articles:

That cover design. It's the Vertical Limits, isn't it?

 Iamgregp 16 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC Articles:

A fantastic book, one of the best mountain books I've ever read, but should probably best approached for the new reader with couple of caveats:

a) Herzog has a loose relationship with the truth (though this probably makes it a more gripping yarn)

b) Has some very dated attitudes towards race, and Herzog's descriptions and attitudes are somewhat unpalatable  


New Topic
Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Loading Notifications...