One of Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 Sports Books of All Time: A gripping firsthand account of one of the most daring climbing expeditions in history.
Annapurna I is the name given to the 8,100-meter mountain that ranks among the most forbidding in the Himalayan chain. Dangerous not just for its extreme height but for a long and treacherous approach, its summit proved unreachable until 1950, when a group of French mountaineers made a mad dash for its peak. They became the first men to accomplish the feat, doing so without oxygen tanks or any of the modern equipment that contemporary climbers use. The adventure nearly cost them their lives.
Maurice Herzog dictated this firsthand account of the remarkable trek from a hospital bed as he recovered from injuries sustained during the climb. An instant bestseller, it remains one of the most famous mountaineering books of all time, and an enduring testament to the power of the human spirit.
“Those who have never seen the Himalayas, those who never care to risk an assault, will know when they finish this book that they have been a companion of greatness.” —The New York Times Book Review
“The most influential mountaineering book of all time.” —National Geographic Adventure
“It is a thrilling story, a gallant and moving story.” —New York Herald Tribune Book Review
Maurice Herzog (1919–2012) was one of the foremost mountaineers in history. He gained international fame in 1950 as the leader of the expedition that summited Annapurna I, the first eight-thousand-meter peak ever climbed by man. Born in France, Herzog distinguished himself in World War II, winning the Legion d’Honneur and Croix de Guerre, two of his nation’s highest military honors. After the war, he took to adventuring, where he found his calling climbing the highest mountains in the world. After leading the Annapurna expedition, which cost him his toes and most of his fingers, he dictated his account of the experience from his hospital bed. His mountaineering days finished, Herzog turned to politics, serving his country as a minister of sport.
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