Friday, September 20, 2013

Wo die Schneeloewen Tanzen, by Peter Meier-Huesing

Peter Meier-Huesing writes about the unlikely adventure of a solo flight from England to India and an attempt on Everest in 1934 in Wo die Schneeloewen Tanzen: Maurice Wilsons Vergessene Everest-Besteigung. Meier-Huesing (writing in German, of course) takes Maurice Wilson's story and weaves it into a palatable narrative, adding dialogue within the history and providing background and a sense of place using the writings of earlier Everesters. The author quotes from Wilson's diary and letters, giving a good feeling for who he was and a bit of his personality. The book covers Wilson's upbringing, war experiences, his nomadic young-adulthood, his illness, and his quest to fly to Everest and climb to the summit to show the world the great power of faith, prayer, and fasting. Meier-Huesing shows that Wilson's war experiences had a profound effect on his future, as well as the overbearing expectations of a successful father.

The book is distinctive not only for its being in German. Meier-Huesing's use of dialogue, though interpretive rather than historical, adds quite a bit of flavor to the story and sorts out the attitude and determination within one of Everest's stranger suitors, such as in the back-and-forth between Wilson and the Abbot of Rongbuk. Also, of the three available book-length accounts (See Dennis Robert's I'll Climb Mount Everest Alone or Ruth Hanson's A Yorkshireman on Everest for the other two.), Meier-Huesing goes the farthest in describing the potential intimacy between Wilson and Enid Evans. Oppositely, he seems the least interested in the pre-history of his great conversion to his strange faith. This isn't my favorite of the three accounts, but it's a strong telling and a pleasant read. Hope you like it!

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