Diederik Vandewalle, Associate Professor of Government

I’ve been reading Wade Davis’ Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest, about British attempts in the early 1920s to reach the top of Mount Everest. Relying largely on the letters of the expeditions’ members, the book is vivid account of what climbing was like in the early 20th century, before modern climbing gear was available. The book also contains a wonderful tribute to Sir Charles Bell, the British local envoy and tibetologist whose friendship with the 13th Dalai Lama ensured British climbers’ access to Everest.