Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest

Wade Davis
Vintage Canada
October 2012

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When I was sixteen years old, I flew to Winnipeg to attend a pan-Canadian convention on multiculturalism. The keynote speaker for the event was Canadian-born anthropologist, ethnobotanist, and National Geographic magazine photographer Wade Davis. Fourteen years later, I was browsing in Chapters one day and his name caught my eye on the paperback cover of "Into the Silence". Not knowing entirely what to expect, I decided to buy it and headed for the checkout. As it turns out, Davis had spent over a decade (the majority of the time since I saw him in Winnipeg!) meticulously researching primary resources and visiting Nepal and Tibet to recreate in a historically accurate yet fictional recreation of the life of Sir Mallory and the first conquest of Mount Everest.


The first few attempts (by the British) to climb to the top of Everest were made between 1921 to 1924. Rather than beginning his story at the base camp in 1921, Davis spends the first third of the novel describing the earlier experiences of the climbers as soldiers in the Great War (World War I) from 1914 to 1918. The result is a fantastic juxtaposition of two heroic yet at the same time raw and harrowing environments - the trenches of the front lines in France and the challenging peaks of Everest. Who exactly was Sir Mallory? Did he make it to the top of Everest? These are two questions best answered by picking up a copy of the book yourself! The paperback version includes many photographs that were the first images ever taken near the top of Mount Everest.


Similar to the book we reviewed Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, "Into the Silence" has many lesson on leadership, teamwork, and perseverance that can be related back to management.