This is the official autobiography of Tenzing of Everest, and is being published at a moment when the dispute raging over the unofficial Malartic book, Tenzing of Everest (Crown -- reviewed P. 719-1954) has been withdrawn. And in this very personal record a great many subjects in conflict are brought into the open and clarified. One has no sense of it being an apologia, but rather a somewhat simple, almost naive, and very direct statement of ""This is exactly what happened"". And somehow one believes him. He insists on the unimportance of the differences between Sherpas and Englishmen that Malartic and the unfriendly press exaggerated. He shows how what differences there were came about because the English attitudes were fixed by tradition- and they differed from the ever-popular French and Swiss mountaineers. He explains the pressures put upon him as the expedition returned, weary but triumphant, to Nepal -- and puts much of the blame on his own people. But he does take issue with Hillary's account, which seemed to indicate that he, Tenzing, had needed help repeatedly -- and says that throughout it was a matter of give and take, perfect teamwork. He answers the question of who first put foot on top of Everest by saying it was Hillary, at that chance moment the leader on the rope, a position they took turn and turn about. He gives full credit to the generosity of the expedition members in sharing with him -- and the English in including him fully. And he explains the points at which his own actions were open to misinterpretation. Above all he wants to settle forever any bitterness of misunderstanding that might persist- the Conquest of Everest, while it had its petty difficulties, emerged as much bigger than the minor issues. This is the story not only of Everest, but of the years of training and experience and aspiration that went into the final triumph. This is the story of his own fixed goal- and the steps to its achievement. The minutiae of the ascent itself he leaves to others to tell-to Hunt, to Noyce. But the Sherpas emerge from his story as integral to the success of adventure rooted in the contributions of all who have challenged the mountains. James Uliman has proved himself the ideal collaborator, a man who knows and loves the mountains- and he has let Tenzing tell his own tale.
Pub Date: June 3, 1955
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1955
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