Cover image for Tenzing : hero of Everest : a biography of Tenzing Norgay
Tenzing : hero of Everest : a biography of Tenzing Norgay
Douglas, Ed.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society, [2003]

Physical Description:
xix, 299 pages, 4 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV199.92.T46 D68 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In 1953, Tenzing Norgay was at the heart of the successful British Everest expedition as leader of the Sherpas whose hard work brought victory and as one of the two lead climbers to reach the top. But behind Tenzing’s radiant smile is an untold story of courage, tragedy, and ambition, of a man who overcame incredible odds just to reach the bottom of the mountain. Born in a sacred Tibetan valley in the shadow of Everest, Tenzing’s long journey led him from life as an illiterate yak herder to become the friend of Nehru, feted by monarchs and presidents all over the world. Set against the backdrop of one of the greatest chapters in the history of exploration, Tenzing: Hero of Everest recounts the jubilant moments at the summit: “Tenzing was effusive, putting an arm around Hillary’s shoulders, and thumping him on the back with infectious delight. Hillary joined in.... Now all below them...the valleys where Tenzing had grown up. ‘It was such a sight as I had never seen before,’ he said, ‘and would never see again—wild, wonderful, and terrible. But terror was not what I felt. I loved the mountains too well for that. I loved Everest too well.’” Mountaineering historian Ed Douglas reveals for the first time Tenzing’s long climb from obscurity. Drawing on extensive interviews with family members, climbing partners, and members of the Sherpa community in Darjeeling and Nepal, the book chronicles his rise to fame and the aftermath of his triumph. The result is a wealth of new material about a man who made his people famous and whose life was the stuff of legend.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

U.K.-based writer, editor and mountaineer Douglas has written what his publisher is touting as "the first full biography of Tenzing Norgay," the Sherpa leader who accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953 on their pioneering 29,028-foot climb to the top of Mt. Everest. Douglas follows in the snow-covered path of last year's books by Tenzing's son, Jamling Tenzing Norgay (Touching My Father's Soul) and grandson Tashi Tenzing (Tenzing Norgay and the Sherpas of Everest). An illiterate yak herder, Tibetan-born Tenzing grew up in the shadow of Chomolungma (the Sherpa name for Everest), and in 1935 was chosen for his first expedition, although "he couldn't yet speak a word of English and had to gesture that he had no certificate from the Himalayan Club." When he reached the summit in 1953 he became "a role model for ordinary people, someone of humble birth who had made headlines around the world." Douglas weaves numerous Everest adventurers into this tapestry of Tenzing's life, and the author's extensive mountain-climbing experience gives the book an authoritative solidity. He enumerates tragic deaths, compares contradictory passages in various written accounts and examines cultural misunderstandings, commenting on political issues triggered by Tenzing's triumph. He also covers Tenzing's later years, which were darkened by drinking and depression. This is an honest, inspiring look at one of history's great adventurers. Map and photos not seen by PW. (Mar.) Forecast: Everest will be a hot subject next year, as 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of the mountain. There will undoubtedly be much crossover marketing for this book within the National Geographic universe, including ads in the magazine and Web site promos. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Jan Morris
Introductionp. XI
Prologue: Behind the Maskp. XV
Chapter 1 The Sherpas of Darjeelingp. 1
Chapter 2 The Lap of his Motherp. 25
Chapter 3 Life as a Khambap. 47
Chapter 4 To Everestp. 63
Chapter 5 Triumph, War, and Lossp. 87
Chapter 6 Return to Darjeelingp. 105
Chapter 7 The Brink of Famep. 129
Chapter 8 I Have Brought a Bearp. 149
Chapter 9 A Tall White Dream in the Skyp. 173
Chapter 10 The Jackals of Famep. 207
Chapter 11 Tiger of the Snowsp. 229
Chapter 12 Dakup. 249
Endnotesp. 275
Bibliographyp. 287
Indexp. 291
Glossaryp. 295
Acknowledgmentsp. 297