Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sir Edmund Hillary: Mount Everest and Beyond, by Sue Muller Hacking

Mount Everest and Beyond is a young readers' biography of Sir Edmund Hillary by Sue Muller Hacking. The book covers Hillary's life from his birth up to the book's publication in 1997, and spends a large part of the book focusing on the work Hillary did to benefit the Sherpa people after his successful ascent of Mount Everest. The language is appropriate for grade-school kids, and the author mixes photographs into the prose from her own collection as well as those of the Royal Geographical Society.

Hacking gives a short introduction to Hillary's early life, and then dives into her passion, the Himalayas. She presents the book as a intertwined story of Hillary and the Sherpa people, and talks about their pre-Everest introductions, their climb together on Everest, and then their working together to improve the Sherpas' quality of life. As a result, she does not spend much time on some of Hillary's other adventures or his early life; it is likely that Hillary's work with the Sherpa people will be his lasting contribution to humanity and therefore deserves such attention.

I think Hacking occasionally writes underage for her audience, but I think for the most part she does a great job with this book. Mount Everest and Beyond focuses on the work Hillary spent most of his life doing, and shows that his life is so much greater than climbing a single mountain. I enjoyed this book.


  1. I so appreciate your insights and thoughtful review! This was my first published book, and the one of which I am most proud, despite its flaws! The Himalayas and Sherpa people are still my family's passion.

    I just found your fantastic blog today, and have added it to my Favorites!
    Sue Muller Hacking

  2. Glad you like it! Thanks for your contribution to the Everest literature!