Saturday, March 10, 2012

It's True! Everest Kills, by Kim Wilson

Kim Wilson writes about climbing Mount Everest for young readers in It's True! Everest Kills. She covers both the mechanics of climbing the mountain and its history, highlighting the macabre, such as Maurice Wilson's reappearing remains, stepping over dead bodies, and Somervell's hacking up the lining of his larynx. She tells her readers what to expect on a modern commercial expedition, including preparation, cost, effort, risks, expedition life, and terrain. The history is generally accurate, with occasional mistakes. She focuses on the first ascent, but includes some of the early climbs (1922, 1924), the 1996 disaster, Miura's ski descent from the South Col, and youngest and oldest records (published when Miura was oldest and Temba Tsheri was youngest). There's humor in addition to the sick thrills, especially at the expense of the British, as the book is Australian. Andrew Plant provides amusing illustrations throughout the book, with a Yeti as a running gag. The book has an Australian focus, mentioning Mike Groom, Brigitte Muir, the heroism of Peter Madew in 2004, and notes several Australian records, such as Tim Macartney-Snape's sea-to-summit climb. Though there are several factual errors in this book, it's about average for what's out there on Everest for kids. At least this one's amusing!

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