Wade Davis’s, Into the Silence, evokes powerful metaphors…

Perhaps one of my fabourite books. As a teacher-librarian and avid reader I have read 30-60 books a year. This thoroughly researched historical narrative is in my top ten. As a hiker and mountaineer, it struck an emotional chord. As a historical report it provoked further readin. As a tale during a turbulent era, it reminded me that other people experienced strain, grief and insecurities far worse than we perceive our current times to be. 


Mount Baker, 2012

 After the insanity of WWI and many climbing tragedies, British climbers, especially George Mallory, who died at Everest in 1924, evoked passion, patriotism and obsession to highlight the human spirit. Wade Davis’s book, Into the Silence, thoroughly narrates a classic human tale. Profound storytelling that will be a classic. I should have read it in 2011! 

“they had so much of death that life mattered less than the moments of being alive.” 

  As an unskilled mountaineer, who loves the mountains, I can relate to the peace experienced by the physical and mental push into the majestic alpine. It humbles one to feel the relentless wind in your face and to witness nature through your feet. The scale of rock and snow is always such a reminder of how precious our temporal lives really are. Mallory is famously quoted as having replied to the question “Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” with the blunt reply, “Because it’s there”, becoming the famous words in mountaineering”. Whether a climber or not, Davis’s book is detailed and evocative tale. The tale of adventurers, during the madness of WWI and the interwar years, highlights the waning of British imperialism while portraying dimensions of the human spirit.  is 5 stars! 

“Even now I am haunted by the touching look of the young, bright, anxious eyes as we passed along the rows of sufferers. There, all around us, lying maimed and battered and dying, was the flower of Britain’s youth.” ― Wade Davis, Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest

Anecdote… Davis thanks the librarians, curators and archivists for their efforts and skills preserving data for his thorough inquiry. Managing our human record for future generations is no trivial matter. Bravo!


Davis, Wade. Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Print.

 “George Mallory Quotes.” George Mallory Quotes (Author of Climbing Everest). N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2015. <https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3348511.George_Mallory&gt;.


About LiterateOWL

photographer, outdoorsman, bird watcher, dog lover, amateur artist and retired teacher-librarian...
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