The Book Club: one man’s failed attempt to climb Everest

December 18, 2020 | 12:15 am

In this week’s Book Club podcast, Sam Leith’s guest is the journalist Ed Caesar, whose new book The Moth and the Mountain tells the story of a now forgotten solo assault on Everest that ended in disaster. But as Ed argues, the heroic failure can be a richer and more resonant story than any triumph — and as he painstakingly excavated the story of Maurice Wilson, it was just such a rich and resonant story he discovered: of a character who became fixated on the mountain as a means of redeeming wartime trauma and a chequered and at times disgraceful romantic history, of getting his own back on hated authority figures, and — just possibly — of finding a safe space for his darkest secret of all.

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