New Book: Freedom Climbers by Bernadette McDonald

In her most engaging book to date, renowned and award-winning author Bernadette McDonald weaves a passionate and literary tale of adventure, politics, suffering, death and – ultimately – inspiration.

Freedom Climbers Book Cover Image, 157 kb
One of the most important mountaineering books to be written for many years.

Winner, 2011 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature

Committed climbers everywhere have much to learn from this bold, tragic, ultimately magnificent

Grand Prize Winner, 2011 Banff Mountain Book Festival

Painstakingly researched and well crafted, this remarkable book acknowledges the significance of Polish mountaineers during the golden age of Himalayan exploration.

Andy Cave

Freedom Climbers is the multi award-winning book by Bernadette McDonald, published this week in the UK in paperback and ebook from Vertebrate Publishing. First published in September 2011 by Rocky Mountain Books of Canada, fewer than 100 copies were sent to the UK.

A review by Ed Douglas will appear on UKC shortly.

Freedom Climbers tells the story of the extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the world's leading Himalayan climbers. Although they lived in a war-ravaged landscape, with seemingly no hope of creating a meaningful life, these curious, motivated and skilled mountaineers built their own free-market economy under the very noses of their Communist bosses and climbed their way to liberation.

At a time when Polish citizens were locked behind the Iron Curtain, these intrepid explorers found a way to travel the world in search of extreme adventure – to Alaska, South America and Europe, but mostly to the highest and most inspiring mountains of the world. To this end, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nepal became their second homes as they evolved into the toughest Himalayan climbers the world has ever known.

Hear excerpts, read an author interview, order the book:

  • Listen to author Bernadette McDonald read an excerpt from the book here.
  • Read an interview with Bernadette on the National Geographic website here.
  • Order Freedom Climbers direct from Vertebrate Publishing here.
  • Also available as an ebook for Amazon Kindle, and Apple iOS devices: here on Amazon and here on Apple.

Wanda Rutkiewicz at K2 Base Camp.
© Individual Photographers/Vertebrate Publishing
Voytek Kurtyka, Jerzy Kukuczka and Alex MacIntyre at Makalu, 1981.
© Individual Photographers/Vertebrate Publishing
Jerzy Kukuczka on the summit of Shishapangma, his fourteenth 8000m peak.
© Individual Photographers/Vertebrate Publishing
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For more information visit Vertebrate Publishing
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