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Everest 1953 Audiobook

Everest 1953: The Epic Story of the First Ascent

On the morning of 2 June 1953, the day of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, the first news ebbed through to the British public of a magnificent achievement: Everest had finally been conquered. Drawing on first-hand interviews and unprecedented access to archives, this is a groundbreaking new account of that extraordinary first ascent. In a thrilling tale of adventure and courage, Mick Conefrey reveals that what has gone down in history as a supremely well-planned attempt was actually beset by crisis and controversy, both on and off the mountain.
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Publisher's Summary

On the morning of 2 June 1953, the day of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, the first news ebbed through to the British public of a magnificent achievement: Everest had finally been conquered.

Drawing on first-hand interviews and unprecedented access to archives, this is a groundbreaking new account of that extraordinary first ascent. In a thrilling tale of adventure and courage, Mick Conefrey reveals that what has gone down in history as a supremely well-planned attempt was actually beset by crisis and controversy, both on and off the mountain.

From funding panics to Sherpa rebellions, hostile press to menacing weather, John Hunt and his team had to draw on unimaginable skill and determination, as well as sheer British ingenuity, to succeed. An intimate insight into the forgotten personalities behind the ascent including Eric Shipton, the enigmatic Mr Everest, and Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, who came within 100 metres of being first to the summit. Everest 1953 recounts a bygone age of self-sacrifice and heroism, using letters and personal diaries to reveal the immense stress and heartache the climbers often hid from their fellow team members.

©2012 Mick Conefrey (P)2013 Audible Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Groundbreaking... a magnificent book that deserves to become the definitive version. We cannot hope for a more human, funny or meticulous account of what was a very British expedition" (Independent)

"An exciting, moving account... a fascinating piece of documentary writing, as readable and poignant as Into Thin Air or Touching the Void." (Spectator)

"Conefrey describes this frenetic scramble for ownership of the mountain brilliantly... I often found myself deeply moved." (Observer)

"Mick Conefrey painstakingly studied the vast volume of detail surrounding the British expedition and can claim to have filled in some significant blanks on the map." (The Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (144 )
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4.4 (128 )
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4.4 (129 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jack 11-28-13
    Jack 11-28-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "I've read many too"
    What would have made Everest 1953 better?

    I've read many mountaineering stories and can remember vividly reading Edmund Hillary's account of the assault on Everest; it literally gave me the chills and made my palms sweat.

    I really wanted to like this book and was hoping for a similar thrill. Sadly, the book doesn't include much description of the climb (about 45 minutes 3/4 of the way through the book). I could almost never "see" the action from the description and overall the book left me wanting.

    I would recommend Hillary's "High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest" (not on audiobook). On audiobook I'd strongly recommend "Into the Silence" by Wade Davis which gives an excellent historical account of Mallory's attempt at climbing the mountain or for a later description of climbing Everest, two modern-day thrillers like Anatoli Boukreev's "The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest", or Krakauer's "Into Thin Air". On the whole Conefrey left me wanting much more than he delivered.

    Finally, the narrator did a credible job of portraying quoted passages of the characters in the book (English, French, New Zealander, and Asian) although there really wasn't a great deal of that in the book.


    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 04-22-16
    Michael 04-22-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    1
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    Story
    "Stuffy British account of meetings and memos"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing - it's not the narrator, it's the material.


    Any additional comments?

    If you enjoy detailed accounts of memos, stuffy British gentleman's clubs, meetings, and committees, then this book is for you. But if you want a story about Everest, it is not. It is all the bureaucratic stuff that happened before the ascent. Dull dull dull.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John S MA 11-27-13
    John S MA 11-27-13 Member Since 2014

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "When men were men"

    It's hard to forget that only 60 years ago there were places on earth that were not explored by man. Today you can see everywhere with google earth. You can see all the approaches to the mountain in 3D.

    I read Into Thin Air about an ascent in the 1980s and it was shocking how things have changed. No gps receivers, high tech fabrics, etc. Now that Everest is climbed by teenagers it's great to read a story where the likely outcome was death. The same could be said about Lindbergh and first flight across Atlantic.

    I wish there was some unexplored place on earth that I could conquer. There will never be one for my generation. This was the last one.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    samiam76249 05-19-16
    samiam76249 05-19-16 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    Story
    "Great story, bad impressions"

    Great story, campy impressions. I mostly just laughed at the bad impressions, but it did take away from the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MetzenJSR 05-18-16
    MetzenJSR 05-18-16
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    "So much more to the first ascent."

    Wow. I never realized how much more there was to the first ascent. Good read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. ostanin san francisco, usa 05-10-16
    V. ostanin san francisco, usa 05-10-16 Member Since 2015

    oss

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    2
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    Story
    "A glorious story of the amazing team work"

    A thrilling piece describing the complex story of the first successful Everest's ascend of 1953. The book is full of great personalities with their triumphs and dramas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KZ 04-27-16
    KZ 04-27-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    13
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    "Extremely entertaining"

    very interesting book, makes the story of the first ascent of mount Everest chime alive. Author also provides a nice historical and geopolitical context behind the British expedition. Very well read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Huber 04-21-16
    Matt Huber 04-21-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Overall enjoyable account of Everest"

    I enjoyed listening to the book. It's a factually account of Everest, not a Tom Clancy thriller. Just level set your expectations accordingly :) If you enjoy history and/or mountaineering you should give this book a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 04-20-16
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 04-20-16 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Great History and a Great Narrator"

    I have been enthralled with the various tales of success and failure that accompany the history of men and women on Mt.Everest.

    Although this book does not paint the same vivid portrayal of the actual climbing in the same way as say, The Climb, or Into Thin Air, this book does offer a fascinating look inside the events before and after the British 1953 "National' expedition to the mountain.

    Mick Conefrey gives the listener a wonderful understanding of the fragile post-WWII British psyche and the national need to conquer "their mountain. " This may seen trivial, but it is vital to gaining a full understanding of the politics and national pressures of the early British Everest expeditions.

    If you have ever wondered how it was that Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first to summit Everest ? Conefrey lays out all the events, politics, and good and bad luck that placed these two me at the top of the world.

    Barnaby Edwards' narration is simply pitch perfect and adds to the overall texture of this wonderful book.

    Step back in time when there were no sat phones, no reliable hand held radios, no Gortex and other modern clothing materials - just wool, leather and canvas. Here were men against the mountain in a fierce struggle of wills. This is a truly great true adventure story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark MURRINDAL, Australia 03-13-14
    Mark MURRINDAL, Australia 03-13-14

    new here

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nice Book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Everest 1953 to be better than the print version?

    The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest" (not on audiobook). On audiobook I'd strongly recommend "Into the Silence" by Wade Davis which gives an excellent historical account of Mallory's attempt at climbing the mountain or for a later description of climbing Everest, two modern-day thrillers like Anatoli Boukreev's "The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest", or Krakauer's "Into Thin Air". On the whole Conefrey left me wanting much more than he delivered.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest" (not on audiobook). On audiobook I'd strongly recommend "Into the Silence" by Wade Davis which gives an excellent historical account of Mallory's attempt at climbing the mountain or for a later description of climbing Everest, two modern-day thrillers like Anatoli Boukreev's "The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest", or Krakauer's "Into Thin Air". On the whole Conefrey left me wanting much more than he delivered.


    Which character – as performed by Barnaby Edwards – was your favorite?

    I wish there was some unexplored place on earth that I could conquer. There will never be one for my generation. This was the last one.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?


    Any additional comments?

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • carrosvoss
    London
    9/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Man! That story is epic!"
    Any additional comments?

    This book can be divided into three parts. First is the history of discovery and attempts to summit the Everest. I found it fascinating how late Europeans actually got anywhere near the mountain, not to mention the summit.
    Second part is about the British attempts. There are moments when you think that, surely, author is joking, creating caricatures of men in power, grandiose characters with outdated racial, national and cultural attitudes. But than you realise, that it really was like that. And you just love it.
    Third part is about 1953 attempt itself. It's a story of experience, preparation, racial and cultural tensions and the hell a lot of good luck.
    If I wasn't obliged to go to work I would have listened it to it non-stop it was so good.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • GORDON
    United Kingdom
    2/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "tremendous"
    If you could sum up Everest 1953 in three words, what would they be?

    engaging, interesting, frightening


    What other book might you compare Everest 1953 to, and why?

    it's an adventure book, which really held my interest, despite my knowing the outcome. it included loads of details which didn't hinder the telling of the story at all. i also found myself becoming really involved with the story and wondering how the mountaineers held their nerve.


    What does Barnaby Edwards bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    he kept my interest - he included a few varied accents, etc., but generally played a straightforward game. really good.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    (like the book): epic


    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Steven Feeney
    Northants, UK
    9/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic narration!"

    A truly excellent look at the 53 Everest expedition with some of the best narration I have heard.

    Pacy, historical, authentic and well written.

    Fantastic lines such as "Tenzing Norgay stood atop the summit and gazed upon the topography of his life - Khumbu, Darjeeling and the plains..."

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Rathgar, Ireland
    9/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Page turner"

    A wonderfully thorough and well written account of a landmark in human achievement.

    The writing brings the whole expedition and its many personalities to life. I was sorry to reach the end. Highly recommended.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    UK
    4/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thorough telling of the '53 ascent and since"

    Obviously any book about the 1953 accent to the peak of Everest is read knowing it was successful.

    The author sets the scene well, covers in detail the preparations for the ascent (previous expeditions and the '52 training) and the eventual success. He also makes to create a sense of time and place - the motivations of the team, the political environment, the privations, mistakes and upsets along the way. This gives the listener a better appreciation for the experiences of the team and done of the post decent turmoil.

    I found it very interesting, well narrated and edited and didn't feel like I was listening to 11 hours.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Joy
    HengeloNetherlands
    1/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Once you've reached the top the only way is down!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes - I've already done so. It is an excellent account for a famous event. It gives a lot of insight into the before and after reaching the top. I had no idea about how poor the equipment was and how Hunt, Hillary and Tenzing had suffered personally after the euphoria very quickly died down.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tenzing Norgay. He demonstrates that non-Europeans can also be global heroes.


    Any additional comments?

    Even if you aren't interested in mountain climbing (I've not got a head for heights!) this book is sill worth listening to. It is an amazing story which many people know the event but maybe not the details of overcoming odds, poor equipment and prejudices. It is well written - even though we know they made it to the top the author still keeps the suspense going. I found what happened afterwards fascinating and also very sad - particularly Tenzing who had once been tea-total but died an alcoholic possibly because of the strains of fame and the behaviour of politicians.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Dave Bolton
    Manchester
    1/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boys-Own Adventure."

    Top performance by Mick Conefry reading this 1950's boys own adventure. Of course, we all know the basics of this story, or think we do, but this book adds meat to the gristle and there was so much new to me to make it a very worthwhile listen. At times I found myself holding my breath as the climbers progressed higher and higher. Wonderful stuff!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Rachel
    NORWICH, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Facinating history"

    This is a facinating history of the first ascent of Everest. It gives the build up to the exbitition, including details of the previous year's exbiditions, and also the fall out of the sucessful ascent. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it. It is well written and is an easy listen, not just a dry history book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • John
    St Leonards on Sea, United Kingdom
    10/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not bad at all. I enjoyed this."

    it's not my typical thing. but it was on a daily deal and only £1.50 so I thought if try it. glad I did. it kept me entertained for a while, and I felt I learned some history too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • John Lake
    10/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Everest 1953"

    A very good book very informative all in all worth a listen and if one is interested in the history of climbing a good reference.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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