Tiger of the Snows. The Autobiography of Tenzing of Everest with James Ramsey Ullman. 294 pages, 26 illustrations, 5 maps and sketches. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1955. Price $4.50.
This is a remarkable book. Mr. Ullman has succeeded in seeing the mountains and life among them through the eyes of Tenzing. The result is a fascinating revelation of a way of life and thought far remote from ours, which can give us much to think about in comparison with our own lives and ideals.
The book begins with Tenzing’s memories of his childhood in Sola Khombu, before either Western or Hindu influences had penetrated that cloistered land, recounts his early love of the mountains and particularly of Mount Everest, and his painful efforts to qualify as a high altitude porter so that he might reach the great summits.
There are brief accounts of his many climbs and some interesting (and charitable) opinions of the European climbers by whom he was employed, and a simple and delightful account of the Great Ascent of Everest itself. Then follows the story of the party’s return to civilization and the simple and straightforward way in which Tenzing avoided being used as a pawn in the political game between India and Britain. In this reviewer’s opinion this book should have a place in every mountaineering library.
Oscar R. Houston