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The View from the Summit

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  464 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
"Somewhat vigorous activity" is how Sir Edmund Hillary summarises the first 79 years of his life, and that modest and gentlemanly appraisal sets the tone for this most understated of memoirs. It's nearly half a century since Hillary became an integral part of the last real gasp of British Commonwealth pride, when the news of his ascent of Mount Everest, with Sherpa Tenzing ...more
Hardcover, 319 pages
Published August 17th 1999 by Doubleday
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Sir Edmund Hillary is a pseudonym for anything connected with the worlds highest mountain-Mt. Everest. This book was written in 1999 when the author was 79 years old. Sir Edmund Hillary died of heart failure in Jamuary 2008 in New Zealand. The book covers the years of preparation and his personal life in his native New Zealand as well as the actual conquest of Everest in 1953 with sherpa Tenzing Norgay very well. But it also covers the personal tragedy of losing his wife and one of his children ...more
Lukasz Pruski
"View from the Summit" is an autobiography of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person who, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, climbed Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth. I am not a climber as I suffer from vertigo and am unusually clumsy, yet I love reading mountaineering books. With my wife, we have hiked in the mountains a lot and one of our friends 30+ years ago in Poland was the famous woman climber Dobroslawa "Mrufka" Wolf (by coincidence born in the same year, 1953, that Hillary and ...more
Now I'm an honorary Kiwi, I picked this up from the Hermitage Hotel at Mt Cook after climbing some hills and checking out the Ed Hilary Alpine Centre. I have the Corgi edition with the famous photo of Norgay on the summit but it's not on GR yet.

It starts off well, discussing the famous summit of Everest and a little of the controversy around it, but when we move to the Antarctic things slow down a lot. I have finite patience for reading about the tractor getting stuck yet again in a crevasse, Hi
Daniel Magner
Aug 24, 2015 Daniel Magner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a gripping read- there's high adventure galore, set in all corners of the globe. Sir Edmund Hillary is quite a rousing story teller, has frequent moments of candid reflection and the prose is full of his dry wit and no-nonsense attitude. While there are points at which the technical jargon becomes a bit heavy and the occasional sense of rambling, neither of these detracted from the overall experience. The entire book had a wonderfully reminiscent feel to it, as though the whole thing was ...more
I wanted something to read whilst trekking that related to what I was seeing around me. I picked this up in Namche Bazaar on the way to Tengboche Monastery. The writing is straightforward. He strikes me as someone quite odd, particularly in his younger days. There is no doubt however that the things he has achieved were incredible. Everest, the South Pole, various other expeditions, but most importantly his work for the Sherpa people. When you trek you see the work of his Foundation - the contri ...more
Jul 25, 2011 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mountaineering
The autobiography of the first man to summit Everest with his sherpa Norgay. Includes stories of other great expeditions such as his trek to the South Pole in farming tractors and even a brief flight to the North Pole with Neil Armstrong! By no means a gripping book but you really feel you've got to know the man a bit better having read this book. His iron will and deep self belief carries him through any obstacles during his career as an explorer. A born leader whose life story should be read b ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read and a fascinating man, his stories of the South Pole, and jet boats on the Ganges add to the legend of this great adventurer. It would have been a great experience to have heard him speak. This book does not have the the kind of climbing Mt. Everest details that you'll find in Krakauer, after reading Into Thin Air, I wondered what kind of nut would ever climb Mt. Everest, but after reading View from the Summit I was left with a great sense of respect for this awesome mountain ...more
May 24, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five years ago, I joined the thousands that queued to see Sir Ed lie in state before his funeral. That so many people waited so many hours to pay tribute to him shows how highly regarded he was.

I of course knew that he was the first to climb Mount Everest, I knew that he'd been the New Zealand High Commissioner to India, and had heard something about him driving a tractor to the South Pole. But I didn't really know much of the detail around any of that, and I wanted to. To read it in his own wo
Oct 09, 2012 Allyson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first and last chapter were the best. I had to do a lot of skimming through a lot of it. Interesting in parts, scary in some parts (why did they take such risks?!) but an amazing life to be sure. To conquer everest and be among the first to go the north and the south poles, he did have quite the expeditions. And did a lot of good work among the himalayan people. But all in all, it was a hard and sometimes very boring read.
Jun 26, 2015 shuya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting read. more like a report than an actual story-telling feel, it lacks warmth at time and the writing is not very good, quite sterile. Hillary also sounds like a bit of an egoistic jerk at times...!
but it is always delightful to read about such great deeds and adventures and go on dreaming :)
While I found the account of his climb up Everest with Tensing interesting, I felt the rest of the book fell pretty flat, hence the low star rating. I don't feel we really get into Hillary's head or see him as a real person, instead seeing an image that he decided to portray. I do admire the man and his achievements but this book doesn't really do him justice.
Michael Harris
Dec 08, 2012 Michael Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Friends of the HHI Library find. A well written autobiography of a fascinating individual who used his fame for great purposes. I did not know that he was also the first New Zealander to reach the South Pole. Later in life he visited the North Pole, by plane and became the only living person at that time to have been on the "top" of the World and both Poles.
Feb 23, 2011 Braden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book if you're into the subject. Hillary was a great man, but from humble beginnings. The book is an inspiration that an ordinary person can do amazing things. My only concern in that the author may have been losing interest in writing come the last few chapters. Or that he was just trying to wrap the story up.
Feb 07, 2010 Rodney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nothing to really add. Hillary is a very accomplished man from a modest background. He does come though the pages as someone who also knows he's accomplished a great deal.

It was difficult for me thought he book to understand if the self adulation of the book got in the way of enjoying the biography.
Osen Akkemik
Clearly Hillary was an amazing man and what he achieved with Tenzing and his team absolutely outstanding achievement. However even when I am in the middle of 3peaks challenge training this book didn't inspire me much. Much respect to Edmund,what he achieved in his life and the legacy he left behind for all the mountaineers.
Helen Savin
Interesting start with details about the Everest expo, but as someone else mentioned, a bit slow going over the Antarctic. A very admirable life with lots of positive motivations - must have been quite a difficult character to work with though & that shows through in the writing. Really highlights how much luck plays a part in who gets where.
Feb 05, 2008 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm officially done with my Everest obsession. This book was more of an autobiography, not so much about his Everest experience. I was particularly interested in learning more about Sir Ed after hearing people's memorials after his death. Not a bad read, but not great either.
Sep 12, 2007 Puguh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story on attemp to conquer Everest. Even bigger story on what happened afterward. It was wonderful that Tenzing and Hillary can be friends despite temptation to spit out who was the first summiter.
Elijah Oyekunle
Apr 18, 2016 Elijah Oyekunle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"View from the Summit" is an autobiography of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person who, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, climbed Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth. Really packed with adventures.
Oct 27, 2014 Zoe marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Stefan Sakurai
Jul 23, 2014 Stefan Sakurai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inspiring book by an impressive human being...not necessarily because of his conquest of Mt. Everest, but more because of his character and impressive life.
Apr 23, 2012 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edmund Hillary is such a cool dude. The first person to conquer everest, travelled to the South Pole by tractor, and is totally humble about all it. Great adventure book.
Nancy Lewis
Really interesting life story, but I got tired of Hillary saying how great he was & how much everyone else sucked. I guess you have to be that way to achieve what he did, though.
Mark Sobralske
Loved reading about Sir Hillarys' adventures. I Appreciated his dry humor and his often use of the word, 'formidable.'
Nov 13, 2010 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific memoir. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the extraordinary life of Edmund Hillary.
Jun 23, 2009 Carrie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think you must really be interested in the kind of adventures Hillary had to enjoy this book. Otherwise, a little dry.
Carol Ann
Jul 31, 2008 Carol Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by Sir Edmund on the 50th anniversary of his climb. He died in 2008, but was a gentlemen throughout his life.
Mar 03, 2008 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great, fascinating mountaineer; not an exceptional writer. He'd bring in references to things and not complete them. Frustrating read at best!
This is a slow read. I am having to force myself to read it, but I love this topic so I will drudge on. I hope it picks up.
Interesting life. Although, luck and competitiveness played a bigger role in his success than emotional intelligence or leadership.
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Sir Edmund Hillary was born and grew up in Auckland, New Zealand.
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“As a youngster I was a great dreamer, reading many books of adventure and walking lonely miles with my head in the clouds.” 11 likes
“I have been seriously afraid at times but have used my fear as a stimulating factor rather than allowing it to paralyse me. My abilities have not been outstanding, but I have had sufficient strength and determination to meet my challenges and have usually managed to succeed with them.” 8 likes
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