Crown Publishing Group
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By the author of the 250,000+ copy bestseller Everest: Mountain Without Mercy, this chronicle of the iconic first American expedition to Mt. Everest in May 1963published to coincide with the climb's 50th anniversarycombines riveting adventure, a perceptive analysis of its dark and terrifying historical context, and unprecedented revelations about its secret motivation.
In the midst of the Cold War, against the backdrop of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the space race with the Soviet Union, and the quagmire of the Vietnam War, a band of iconoclastic, independentminded American mountaineers set off for Mt. Everest, aiming to restore America's confidence and optimism. Their objective is to reach the summit while conducting scientific research, but which route will they take? And, mysteriously, who wants the results of the scientific tests, and for what purpose?
The Vast Unknown is, on one level, a harrowing, characterdriven account of the climb itself and its legendary team of alternately inspiring, troubled, and tragic climbers who suffer injuries, a near mutiny, and death on the mountain. It is also an examination of the profound sway the expedition had over the American consciousness and sense of identity during a time when the country was floundering. And it is an investigation of the expedition's littleknown secret motivation: to reconnoiter the region for the placement of a CIA surveillance device on the Himalayan peak of Nanda Devi, to spy into China where Defense Intelligence believed a nuclear facility was being built.
LANDMARK EXPEDITION: Everest '63 was the first summit by Americans and, as this book illustrates, it had the kind of impact on the American consciousness that the 1969 moon landing did.
UNTOLD STORY: The expedition was chronicled by two of its participants four and a half decades ago. The Vast Unknown is the first full, objective account of this epic.
BESTSELLING/EVEREST EXPERT AUTHOR: Coburn's Everest book reached #16 on the Times list (and his cowritten Touching My Father's Soul reached #24). Most of Coburn's other books deal with aspects of Everest or the Himalayas.
About the Author
BROUGHTON COBURN is the author or editor of seven books, including two national bestsellers, Everest: Mountain Without Mercy and Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to The Top of Everest (Collaboration with Jamling Tenzing Norgay). He has worked in environmental conservation and development in the Himalaya of Nepal, Tibet, and India for the past 25 years. He lives in Wilson, Wyoming with his wife and two children.