by Wade Davis (2012). Highly absorbing, detailed and compelling account by the reliable Davis, the anthropologist and ethnobotanist, about the psychological roots of mountaineering, climbing and exploration, in the context of the World War I. Part thriller, part careful academic study and part grand history. It makes the case that the slaughter of WWI – each month the British army (and this is an account solely focused on British climbers) required 10,000 new officers of the lower ranks simply to replace the rosters of the dead, with the recruits in the first years coming from the elite universities and schools; in 1914, the chances of any British boy aged 13 – 24 surviving the war were 1 in 3 – led some of the participants on a desperate search for redemptions that they sought and found in the, ultimate unsuccessful, assault on Mount Everest. It details the encounter between two utterly irreconcilable cultures – the British upper classes that needed to go to lonely, cold and inhospitable places to find some measure of contentment and solace – and Tibetan monks (including the 13. Dalai Lama, the predecessor of the current 14. Dalai Lama). The book concludes with the heroic tale of Mallory and Irvine who reached heights not scaled again until 30 years later, who felled to their death and whose bodies were not recovered until 1999. To quote “He (i.e. Mallory) would have walked on, even to his end, because for him, as for all of his generation, death was but a “a frail barrier” that men crossed “smiling and gallant, every day.” They had seen so much of death that life mattered less than the moments of being alive.”