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Brotherhood of the Rope

The Biography of Charles Houston

ISBN:
978-1-898573-71-5
Author:
Format:
Hardback (250pp)
Publication:
  • Hardback £16.99
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‘Is it not better to take risks than die within from rot? Is it not better to change one’s life completely than to wait for the brain to set firmly and irreversibly in a way of life and one environment? I think it is ... taking risks, not for the sake of danger alone, but for the sake of growth, is more important than any security one can buy or inherit.’ – Charles Houston

It was the failed summit attempt and a failed rescue in the Himalaya that brought Charles Houston MD fame and adulation in the mountaineering world. His leadership of the American K2 expedition of 1953 is still celebrated as the embodiment of all that is right and good in the mountains.

Houston, a doctor from New England, became a leading authority in high altitude ailments and artificial heart research, advising the US government, military and academia. He made an unparalleled contribution to mountain medicine, building some of the first artificial heart prototypes in his garage and playing a key part in Kennedy’s 1960s Peace Corps initiatives in India.

In Brotherhood of the Rope, Boardman Tasker Prize winning author Bernadette McDonald traces the development of an American hero. This is the biography of a well-heeled New England medical man who excelled at expedition leadership and whose experience in the mountains helped his research into high altitude medical matters during his long and varied career as a doctor. Houstons’s mountain adventures, the ups and downs of his varied medical career and the associated challenges of family life are related in a candid biography that touches on many aspects of twentieth-century affairs.

Bernadette McDonald is the founding vice president of Mountain Culture at The Banff Centre in Canada and author of seven books on international mountaineering, including: Tomaž Humar (Random House UK, 2008); Brotherhood of the Rope: The Biography of Charles Houston (The Mountaineers Books, 2007) and I’ll Call You in Kathmandu: The Elizabeth Hawley Story (The Mountaineers Books, 2005). In addition to the prizes presented to Freedom Climbers, McDonald is the winner of numerous awards, including Italy’s ITAS Prize for mountain writing (2010) and is a two-time winner of India’s Kekoo Naoroji Award for Mountain Literature (2009 and 2008). She has also received the Alberta Order of Excellence (2010), the Summit of Excellence Award from The Banff Centre (2007), the King Albert Award for international leadership in the field of mountain culture and environment (2006), and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).

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- See more at: http://www.v-publishing.co.uk/books/categories/biographies/freedom-climbers.html#sthash.yF5Tfp6Y.dpuf

Bernadette McDonald is the founding vice president of Mountain Culture at The Banff Centre in Canada and author of seven books on international mountaineering, including: Freedom Climbers (Vertebrate Publishing, 2012); Tomaž Humar (Random House UK, 2008); Brotherhood of the Rope: The Biography of Charles Houston (Baton Wicks, 2007) and I’ll Call You in Kathmandu: The Elizabeth Hawley Story (The Mountaineers Books, 2005). McDonald is the winner of numerous awards, including Italy’s ITAS Prize for mountain writing (2010) and is a two-time winner of India’s Kekoo Naoroji Award for Mountain Literature (2009 and 2008). She has also received the Alberta Order of Excellence (2010), the Summit of Excellence Award from The Banff Centre (2007), the King Albert Award for international leadership in the field of mountain culture and environment (2006), and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).

  • Title: Brotherhood of the Rope
  • Sub-title: The Biography of Charles Houston
  • Author: Bernadette McDonald
  • Imprint: Bâton Wicks
  • ISBN: 978-1-898573-71-5
  • Rights: UK & Commonwealth
  • Publication date: June 2007
  • Edition: First
  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 235mm x 155mm
  • Extent: 250 pages; B&W text, colour plates
  • Weight: 570g
  • Retail price: £16.99

'Charlie Houston achieved fame as both a physician and a mountain climber. His contributions to the medical profession and his expeditions to K2 and Nanda Devi are the outstanding highlights of his career. I know him as a person who radiates curiosity, joie de vivre and compassion, that characteristic described by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as “the foundation of our unity”. Charlie Houston is an extraordinary human being, whose life story will inspire all who read it.’ – Reinhold Messner

'The author’s extensive use of Charles Houston’s own spoken words makes the book serve as an oral as well as a written history. By the end, we feel as though we’ve taken part in a long, deeply affectionate and honest conversation between friends, who, like all good storytellers create a world that somehow seems richer – both brighter and darker – than our everyday life.’ – Katie Ives, Alpinist

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