Sunday, March 8, 2009

Scaling Mt. Everest

I picked up this Jeffrey Archer book having no idea of the content but because I like his writing. I could not put it down and spent the afternoon reading the story of Englishman and mountaineer George Mallory, who dreamed of being the first to scale Mt. Everest. In the early to mid 1920's he along with other climbers funded by the Royal Geographical Society attempted and perhaps reached the summit (the real mystery is if he did or not.)

The story, however, is not so much if he reached the peak but about his love of climbing, his zest for life, his enthusiasm and courage for trying not once but several times in the face of daunting odds, the tug of family ties and his code of honor. It's not about Mallory the climber so much as Mallory the man. Archer does such a wonderful job of making Mallory live in these pages that the reader feels the Englishman’s passion for admission to Cambridge, his need to stand for Britain in the Great War, and even the cold harsh wind he encounters on Mt. Everest. It is the closest most of us will ever come to scaling a mountain and Archer makes sure we understand the commitment, dedication and sheer joy of the trek. What a way to spend the afternoon. I have absolutely no interest in rock climbing or mountaineering but this book is about finding your talent and doing what you love. Romantics will appreciate the letters he writes to his wife and anyone who appreciates good writing will be pleased with this book.