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The Moth and the Mountain (Paperback)Ed Caesar (author)
With great storytelling verve Ed Caesar delivers a terrifically engaging account of Maurice Wilson's eccentric plan to conquer Everest by crash landing a plane on its lower slopes.
Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2021
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2021
Winner of the Telegraph Sports Book Awards Best Sports Writing of the Year 2021
The untold story of Britain's most mysterious mountaineering legend - Maurice Wilson - and his heroic attempt to climb Everest. Alone.
In the 1930s, as official government expeditions set their sights on conquering Everest, a little-known World War I veteran named Maurice Wilson conceived his own crazy, beautiful plan: he would fly a Gipsy Moth aeroplane from England to Everest, crash land on its lower slopes, then become the first person to reach its summit - all utterly alone. Wilson didn't know how to climb. He barely knew how to fly. But he had pluck, daring and a vision - he wanted to be the first man to stand on top of the world.
Maurice Wilson is a man written out of the history books - dismissed as an eccentric and a charlatan by many, but held in the highest regard by world class mountaineers such as Reinhold Messner. The Moth and the Mountain restores him to his rightful place in the annals of Everest and in doing so attempts to answer that perennial question - why do we climb mountains?
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 202 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 17 mm
'One of the best books ever written about the early attempts to conquer Everest. A fine, fine slice of history by a truly special writer who proves time and time again that he is among the best of his generation' - Dan Jones
'Ed Caesar has written a slim, ravishing chronicle that is absolutely bursting with life - doomed romance, the dread of the battlefield, the lure of adventure, hair-raising tales of amateur aviation, and, above all, the beauty and madness of the quest to ascend Earth's tallest summit. Maurice Wilson is as rich and full of surprise and contradiction as a character in a novel, and through painstaking historical research, Caesar brings his hero back to vivid life in all his messy, inspiring, ultimately tragic glory. A major feat of reporting and elegant storytelling' - Patrick Radden Keefe, author of the Orwell Prize-winning Say Nothing
'The Moth and the Mountain is gripping and exquisite. A mad, magnificent, and moving tale' - Philippe Sands
'Maurice Wilson was an amazing human being. Passionate, heroic, hilariously deluded, inspired, brave to the point of lunacy, determined, war damaged, lovelorn and gloriously unhinged. The Moth and the Mountain is a wonderful, elegiac account of an extraordinary life written with a wry, compassionate humour. It is clear that Ed Caesar loves his hero. I think I do too' - Joe Simpson
'This bonkers ripping yarn of derring-don't is a hell of a ride ... scrupulously researched ... Maurice Wilson was a one-off, quite outside the ordinary run of people, and The Moth and the Mountain is a "sorry, beautiful, melancholy, crazy" tribute to a man who, like a leaf in autumn, burnt brightest just before he fell' - John Self, The Times
'An urgent and humane story that invites not mockery of a madman, but pity and admiration. A small classic of the biographer's art' - James McConnachie, The Sunday Times
'Caesar is a journalist with a novelist's eye for character ... Wilson's story is bonkers, but also beautiful. The profile Caesar builds is compelling, colourful and warm - of a complex, contradictory man with admirable self-belief and a healthy disregard for class boundaries and national borders' - Sam Wollaston, The Guardian
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