Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Man of Everest, by Kenneth Moon

Kenneth Moon writes an early (1962) young readers' biography of the first person to stand on the summit of Everest in Man of Everest: The Story of Sir Edmund Hillary. Written back when publishers believed kids were perfectly capable of having an imagination and an attention span, the unillustrated, 100-page book reads like a classic boys' adventure novel (and almost is one!). Moon's own imagination played an important role in the narrative, as many facts are jumbled, or just plain wrong. The story is dramatic and fun, but there's not much else to be said for this book. The author covers Hillary's early life and climbs, his initial Himalayan adventures, his climb of Everest, his return for the yeti, and a jaunt to the South Pole. He passes off the Silver Hut expedition as some kind of science thing, and he prefers not to mention Makalu at all (just substitute "Barun Glacier," and it take less explaining, right?). He poses Hillary's Everest experience as a hero's quest against the "White Giant," showing how Hillary led the team through the Khumbu Icefall, and all the way to the summit. If you don't mind a bit of historical absurdity, this one can actually be a bit of fun.

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