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.
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 *