Author Topic: Consolation in the time of coronavirus  (Read 881 times)

Offline David Rose

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 718
Consolation in the time of coronavirus
« on: March 24, 2020, 01:25:40 pm »
The ending of W.H. Murray's great classic Mountaineering in Scotland, written when he was a POW of the Nazis, provides some consolation just now.


Offline paul

  • Global Moderator
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 4474
  • Orpheus CC, NPC
    • Orpheus Caving Club
Re: Consolation in the time of coronavirus
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2020, 03:48:07 pm »
Excellent book. Even more poignant when you read about the history if the writing of the book:

Quote
He then spent three years in Prisoner of War camps in Italy (Chieti), Germany (Moosberg, Brunswick) and Czechoslovakia (Marisch Trubeau Oflag VIII-F). While imprisoned, Murray wrote a book entitled Mountaineering in Scotland. The first draft of the work was written on the only paper available to him – rough toilet paper. The manuscript was found and destroyed by the Gestapo. To the incredulity of his fellow prisoners, Murray's response to the loss was to start again, despite the risk of its loss and that his physical condition was so poor from the near starvation diet that he believed he would never climb again. The rewritten work was finally published in 1947 and was followed by the sequel, Undiscovered Scotland, in 1951. Both concentrate on Scottish winter climbing and were widely credited with helping to inspire the post-war renaissance in the sport.


And the story of his capture:


Quote
He was captured south of Mersa Martruh during the Western Desert Campaign in a retreat to El Alamein in June 1942 by a tank commander from the 15th Panzer Division who was armed with a machine-pistol. A passage in Mountain magazine (#67, 1979) describes the moments after his capture:
Quote
To my astonishment, he [the German tank commander] forced a wry smile and asked in English, 'Aren't you feeling the cold?' ... I replied 'cold as a mountain top'. He looked at me, and his eyes brightened. 'Do you mean – you climb mountains?' He was a mountaineer. We both relaxed. He stuffed his gun away. After a few quick words – the Alps, Scotland, rock and ice – he could not do enough for me.

 
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline Fred

  • addict
  • **
  • Posts: 117
Re: Consolation in the time of coronavirus
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2020, 02:45:37 pm »
For a wartime/POW mountaineering adventure I think "No Picnic on Mount Kenya" by Felice Benuzzi is a great read.

Obviously couldn't condone such actions in the current situation but quite a while was spent in planning.

PS I'd also echo recommend buying the kit from a reputable retailer rather than doing as as Felice did  :)
The one thing to remember about an adventure is that if it turns out the way you expect it to, it has not been an adventure at all.

Offline crickleymal

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1039
Re: Consolation in the time of coronavirus
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2020, 03:58:08 pm »
I read No Picnic as well. Excellent book
Malc
Rusted and ropy, dog-eared old copy.
Vintage and classic or just plain Jurassic:
all words to describe me.

Offline mikem

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3637
  • Mendip Caving Group
Re: Consolation in the time of coronavirus
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2020, 06:00:02 pm »
Thread title does sound like a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez...

Offline Franklin

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Consolation in the time of coronavirus
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2020, 10:32:12 am »
I have a copy of the Benuzzi book though not read it yet, now that I have a little more time on my hands I will. Murray's books are excellent, thanks for the reminder, Dave. I've just finished Wade Davis's Into the Silence about the Everest expeditions of the early 1920s - culminating in the 1924 trip with Mallory and Irvine's deaths. What a fine book, I feel bereft now that it's finished! The climbers may not have experienced imprisonment (one had) but Davis's accounts of their experiences in the trenches of the First World War are incredible. Such experiences shape each of the expeditions, the climbers relationships, their attitudes to Tibet and Tibetan people, to Everest, to climbing and ultimately to death.

Offline David Rose

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 718
Re: Consolation in the time of coronavirus
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2020, 12:52:03 pm »
I agree - Wade Davis's book is superb.

Offline droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2337
  • WMRG
Re: Consolation in the time of coronavirus
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2020, 02:26:35 pm »
Rather different tack: The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger.

I found it unputdownable, if that's a word...
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline mikem

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3637
  • Mendip Caving Group
Re: Consolation in the time of coronavirus
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2020, 05:37:07 pm »
The funny thing is the book states that it will not speculate on the fate of the crew - whilst that was all the film did!

 

Main Menu

Forum Home Help Search