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The Vast Unknown
America’s First Ascent of Everest
by Broughton Coburn
- Publisher: Crown
- Language: english
- ISBN: 9780307887146 (0307887146)
- Release date: April 28, 2013
- Genres: adventure, mountaineering, travel, history, climbing, historical, nature, outdoors
- Format: hardcover, 320 pages
- Author: Broughton Coburn
About The Book
By the author of the bestseller Everest: Mountain Without Mercy , this chronicle of theiconic first American expedition to Mt. Everest in May1963 — published to coincide with the climb’s 50thanniversary — combines riveting adventure, a perceptive analysis ofits dark and terrifying historical context, and unprecedentedrevelations about its secret motivation. In the midst of the Cold War, against the backdrop of the Bayof Pigs fiasco, the space race with the Soviet Union, and thequagmire of the Vietnam War, a band of iconoclastic,independent-minded American mountaineers set off for Mt. Everest,aiming to restore America’s confidence and optimism. Theirobjective is to reach the summit while conducting scientificresearch, but which route will they take? And, mysteriously, whowants the results of the scientific tests, and for what purpose? The Vast Unknown is, on one level, a harrowing,character-driven account of the climb itself and its legendary teamof alternately inspiring, troubled, and tragic climbers who sufferinjuries, a near mutiny, and death on the mountain. It is also anexamination of the profound sway the expedition had over theAmerican consciousness and sense of identity during a time when thecountry was floundering. And it is an investigation of theexpedition’s little-known secret motivation: to reconnoiter theregion for the placement of a CIA surveillance device on theHimalayan peak of Nanda Devi, to spy into China where DefenseIntelligence believed a nuclear facility was being built.
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