Brotherhood of the Rope: The Biography of Charles Houston with DVD Bernadettle McDonald Mountaineers Books 1st editionNov 28
Charles Houston, author of mountaineering classic K2: The Savage Mountain and now in his nineties, was plagued with feelings of failure even as he excelled in a number of daunting roles: medical doctor, university professor, Peace Corps director and legendary mountain climber. This novel-like biography explores the complicated man behind the myth, from his privileged upbringing through almost a century of adventure and achievement. A man of big ideas and big ambitions, Houston began experimenting in 1946 with altitude chambers, developing the first method for inoculating against hypoxia, in order to conquer Everest. Ten years later he was building, in his garage, the first “crude designs” for the artificial heart. There are fascinating asides into Houston’s “bouillabaisse” of careers, including work for the U.S. Army, medical practices in Exeter and Aspen, and his reluctant stint as a Peace Corps director in India, an eventful tenure. Author and climber McDonald (I’ll Call You in Kathmandu) deepens Houston’s legacy by providing a view of his inner struggles with depression, revealing this larger-than-life figure in very human terms, making Houston a pleasure to spend time with; as one of hiss fellow climbers would say of Houston, years later, “his accomplishments are nothing compared the greatness of his soul.”
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Charles Houston is a fascinating individual. Most people are considered accomplished if they excel in one aspect of life. Houstonmountain climber, physician, peace activist,researcher, and teacherexcelled in so many areas that it is hard to believe he is not a household name. He climbed in Alaska and India and scouted an approach to Everest, but gave up serious climbing when one member of their party died during an attempt to scale K2. During World War II, he combined his medical knowledge with his climbing expertiseto conductresearch for the army intopilots’ reactions to high altitudes. Houston was alsoa small-town doctor, an innovator in the making ofartificial hearts,director of the newly established Peace Corps operation in India, a teacher in medical school, and an ongoing researcher. His adventurous spirit and strong personality were bothassets andliabilities for most of his life as heserved as an inspiration and mentor to many. Despite McDonald’ssomewhat wooden writing style, thisbiography is a wonderfulintroduction to a many-talented mandeserving of attention. Hoover, Danise
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It was a failed summit attempt and a failed rescue in the Himalaya that brought Charles Houston, M.D., fame and adulation in the mountaineering world. His leadership of the K2 expedition of 1953 is still celebrated as the embodiment of all that is right and good in the mountains.
In Brotherhood of the Rope, Bernadette McDonald traces the development of an American hero. Houston is a mountaineer whose groundbreaking medical experiments on altitude and the human body helped calibrate the nation’s WWII air-assault strategy and shorten the war. This is the man personally recruited by Sergeant Shriver to lead the first Peace Corps programs in India; the friend whom Bill Moyers credits with saving his life; the physician who built some of the first artificial-heart prototypes in his garage. Today, at age 93, Houston is still a leading authority in high-altitude medicine, and serves as a mentor for troubled teens. Includes DVD documentary–with historical film footage–of the epic American attempt of K2 in 1953, and the resulting rescue that remains one of mountaineering’s most harrowing stories
Beyond the Mountain
“[Beyond the Mountain is] a rare and profoundly personal glimpse of the drive, dedication and focus behind today’s light-and-fast ascents.” –Michael Kennedy, editor-in-chief, Alpinist
House’s Beyond the Mountain is raw, funny, and tragic, but never forced. Above all else, this is a story of goals fueled by energy, rewards, and triumphs meshed with soul-baring confession. The Daily Camera
Winner of the 2009 Boardman Tasker Prize for mountain literature
Winner of the 2009 Banff Mountain Literature ” Best Book” Award
Winner ofthe 2009 Boardman Tasker Prize for mountain literature and the Banff Mountain Literature Award! What does it take to be one of the world’s best high-altitude mountain climbers? It takes raising funds for an expedition, negotiating some of the world’s most dangerous countries, suffering freezing-cold bivouacs and enduring the discomforts of high altitude. It also means learning the hard lessons the mountains teach. This book explores those lessons. He has been dubbed by Reinhold Messner as “the best high-altitude climber in the world today.” Steve House’s story chronicles his experiences in the worlds highest mountains, each chapter revealing a different aspect of mountaineering.