One of the most compelling international dramas of the 20th century and an unforgettable saga of survival, technological innovation, and breathtaking human physical achievement-all set against the backdrop of a world headed toward war.
While tension steadily rose between European powers in the 1930s, a different kind of battle was raging across the Himalayas. Contingents from Great Britain, Nazi Germany, and the United States had set up rival camps at the base of the mountains, all hoping to become recognized as the fastest, strongest, and bravest climbers in the world.
Carried on across nearly the entire sweep of the Himalayas, this contest involved not only the greatest mountain climbers of the era, but statesmen and millionaires, world-class athletes and bona fide eccentrics, scientists and generals, obscure villagers and national heroes.
Centered in the 1930s, with one brief, shining postwar coda, the contest was a struggle between hidebound traditionalists and unknown innovators, one that featured new techniques and equipment, unbelievable courage and physical achievement, and unparalleled valor. And death. One Himalayan peak alone, Nanga Parbat in Kashmir, claimed twenty-five lives in less than three years.
Climbing the Himalayas was the Greatest Generation's moonshot--one shrouded in the onset of war, interrupted by it, and then fully accomplished. A gritty, fascinating history that promises to enrapture fans of Hampton Side, Jon Krakauer, and Laura Hillenbrand, THE WORLD BENEATH THEIR FEET brings this forgotten story back to life.
Praise for The Secret Game
As a member of the Duke community, I have long been aware and proud of the secret game. Now Scott Ellsworth has brought it to light. The true story behind this extraordinary, long-buried game goes beyond any one school or any one state. The Secret Game is a triumphant look at how basketball has broken down barriers, and helped create a new kind of America. Every citizen needs to know this story--and to know it now. - head coach of Duke Men's Basketball
There is a basketball on the cover, but this is much more than a story about basketball. Yes, there was a ground-breaking basketball game played in Durham, N.C., seven decades ago, and it is recounted in great detail by Scott Ellsworth. But what we really have here is indispensable social history. White people need to read this book. People of color need to read this book. Whoever you are, you need to read this book. - Boston Globe, ESPN, author of Scribe: My Life in Sports
A fascinating new work of cultural and sports history.... Through a mixture of oral history and archival research, Ellsworth captures the rich human details of a whole generation of largely forgotten basketball players. - Boston Globe
A historian with the soul of a poet, Ellsworth offers a remarkably nuanced, vibrant, and eloquent account of life in the South during WWII, and his portraits of the principal players in this secret drama are multitextured and complex. - Booklist (starred review)