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The Maverick Mountaineer


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A fond and fascinating tribute to George Finch (1888-1970), mountaineer, scientist, inventor and polymath, who pioneered the use of the artificial oxygen that enabled Everest to finally be conquered thirty years after his own attempt.

About the Author

Robert Wainwright has worked as a journalist for thirty years and is the author of nine books, including most recently Sheila: The Australian Ingenue who Bewitched British Society. He lives in London.


[A] compelling biography... As a study of a man whose greatness we would do well to remember and applaud, it sparkles. * Independent *
Finch emerges from the pages of Robert Wainwright's The Maverick Mountaineer as a keen explorer of geographical, professional and romantic terrain... Wainwright chronicles it all with aplomb... Wainwright has done a fine job of rescuing his protagonist from the footnotes of climbing history. He has restored the reputation of a man whose achievements were frequently overshadowed by the romantic fate of Mallory and the later triumph of Edmund Hillary. We rediscover a climber who, as Finch phrased it, had "the craft at his finger-ends". * Daily Telegraph *
Finch was the best technical climber of his time, and he reached farther up Everest than anyone had done before - stopping only to carry a novice companion to safety. Few Western climbers have contributed as much...The best passages... are those that describe the battle of scientific progress against entrenched snobbery - a fight that may have cost Finch the chance to stand on top of the world, but ought to be remembered. * The Economist *
Robert Wainwright has conjured up the rasp of crampons on sheet ice, the taste of peaches eaten from the tin, and the bitchiness endemic among the frozen-bearded tribe of climbers and explorers * Spectator *
Fascinating * Sydney Morning Herald *
Tells the story of a difficult, brilliant man whose remarkable achievements were overshadowed by those of the better-known Mallory and Sir Edmund Hillary. * Daily Mail *
A marvellously entertaining story that at times resembles a glossy television period drama. * Daily Express on Sheila *
The charm of Wainwright's biography is that he makes us see what an engaging, admirable and sometimes heroic quality it is to be a life-enhancer like Sheila. -- Jane Shilling, Daily Mail on Sheila
This splendid biography evokes the glamour of a vanished age. * Mail on Sunday on Sheila *
Wainwright's extremely readable style is largely linear, with tantalising references to future events. * Yorkshire Post *
The Maverick Mountaineer is a skilfully written books which contains much assiduous research. The narrative is thoughtfully enhanced by the use of diaries and letters from the Finch family archive. * Climb Magazine *

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