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Behind Everest (Hardback)

Ruth Mallory's Story - First British Expeditions

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > Explorers & Adventurers > Mount Everest P&S History > Social History Women of History World History > UK & Ireland

By Kate Nicholson
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 25 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781036115432
Published: 1st May 2024



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In Behind Everest, the author embarks on a captivating exploration that intertwines the remarkable life of Ruth Mallory, wife of legendary Everest climber George Mallory, with her own parallel journey a century later. As Kate delves into Ruth's life, a profound revelation emerges — the Mallorys' connection to the aftermath of the First World War and Ruth's unwavering commitment to the League of Nations. Ruth's role in this global organisation is a lens through which Kate examines the evolving attitudes towards universal experiences of risk and responsibility.

Using two decades of meticulous research, the author unveils the real story behind Ruth and George Mallory's marriage, shedding light on George's relationships with women such as Jelly d'Aranyi, Mary Ann O'Malley, and Stella Cobden-Sanderson. Stella, like Ruth, hailed from Arts and Crafts 'royalty', and both women were daughters of strong feminists. However, Ruth, uniquely, chose to climb, eventually becoming a founder member of the Pinnacle Club, the first all-female rock climbing club in the UK.

Kate's quest to understand Ruth takes her through archives, interviews with Ruth's friends and relatives, and private collections. It is a journey that leads her to the precise routes her husband climbed and, ultimately, those she climbed herself with the Pinnacle Club experts. As Kate experiences the challenges and triumphs of rock climbing, she discovers not only the elusive 'key' to George Mallory but also an inspiring and resilient companion in Ruth.

This book transcends the confines of Everest and 1924, offering readers a profound glimpse into the 'real' story of the Mallorys. Through Ruth's lens, the book explores the complexities of marriage, the indomitable spirit of early female climbers, and the enduring impact of historical events on individual lives. This is a non-fiction masterpiece that intertwines personal and historical narratives, inviting readers to scale the heights of human experience and resilience.

This captivating story intertwines the remarkable life of Ruth Mallory, wife of legendary Everest climber George Mallory with a parallel journey a century later, and explores our evolving attitudes towards risk and responsibility. Kate's quest to understand Ruth takes her to forgotten corners of archives in the UK and USA, and into private recollections and collections. She explores the complexities of marriage, the indomitable spirit of early female climbers and the enduring impact of the First World War, the League of Nations and Empire on individual lives

Royal Scottish Geographical Society

‘You have unearthed some wonderful, compelling material. I was deeply impressed with all you have found out and you have brought life and meaning to a powerful and important character ...’

Peter Gillman co- Author of 'Wildest Dream'

‘The key to George Mallory is his beloved wife Ruth, and yet until now Ruth has remained a great mystery. Kate Nicholson’s biography is both vital and long overdue ...’

Wade Davis Author of 'Into the Silence'

‘[Ruth] is in the shadow when she should share the light. She lost [George] towards death four times; once to war and three times to the mountain. To know only George’s side of things, to see only through his eyes and those of the men who accompanied him, is to see an incomplete Everest, a partial myth, and to further confirm the heroic-tragic male mountaineering/exploration paradigm.’

Robert MacFarlane, author of ‘Mountains of the Mind’

About Kate Nicholson

Kate Nicholson is a historian, writer and has learned to rock climb in order to get perspective on Ruth’s life. Her husband climbed Everest by Mallory’s route when their three children were the same age as the Mallorys' children were in 1921 on his first attempt. Kate’s husband returned safely. George Mallory died on his third attempt. Kate began this project in an attempt to find out what Ruth did next.

Death of George Mallory

8th June 1924

English mountaineer George Mallory died on 8th June 1924 during his third expedition to Everest.

View all events View all anniversaries

Perfect Partner

Mallory, Irvine and Everest The Last Step But One (Hardback)

The last climb of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, towards the summit of Mount Everest on 8 June 1924, has been shrouded in mystery for a century. Were they the first humans to stand at the highest point in the world? The discovery of Mallory's body in 1999 did nothing to resolve the mystery. Until now, accounts of their climb have been driven by speculation and preconceived narrative. In this book, which marks the 100th anniversary of the fateful climb, Dr Robert Edwards brings the fresh and original perspective of a mathematician to the story of Mallory and Irvine. Dr Edwards has assembled…

By Robert H Edwards

Click here to buy both titles for £47.00
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