Wade Davis

The tallest peak in the world has inspired a mountain of books, and Wade Davis now adds a suitably massive new volume to the stack. Thought you already knew everything about climbers George Mallory and Sandy Irvine, who perished on Everest in 1924? Wrong! In his massively researched new Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest (Knopf, $32.50), Davis delves far back before the two ill-fated British expeditions of the 1920s. That means colonial history, as the Brits and Russians dispatch reconnaissance men (aka pundits) to map and survey the subcontinent, World War I, in which most of the future expedition members served, and sundry domestic details. (Over 12 years, Davis appears to have read every letter and diary entry from his 26 main players.) But it's fall, and climbing season is over in the Northwest. Now is the season for reading climbing books—preferably before a raging fire, dressed in period tweeds, while nursing a glass of brandy. (On which subject, armchair alpinists should take note that the less verbose local Everest veteran Ed Viesturs, author of The Will to Climb, will appear at Town Hall, 7:30 p.m. Thurs.) Running 650 pages, including notes, Into the Silence may keep you occupied until summer climbing season begins. (Also: Eagle Harbor, 3 p.m. Sun.) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Oct. 28, 7 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 30, 3 p.m., 2011

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