Freedom Climbers
by Bernadette McDonald
Release Date: 15/10/2011
ISBN 9781926855608
6 x 9 inches
352 pages
$32.95 (CAD)


Winner! 2012 American Alpine Club Literary Prize (USA)

Winner! 2011 Munday Award, Banff Mountain Festival (CANADA)

Winner! 2011 Boardman Tasker Prize, Kendal Mountain Festival (UNITED KINGDOM)

Freedom Climbers—the most honoured book of mountaineering literature published in Canada—tells the story of a group of extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the world's leading Himalayan climbers. Although they lived in a dreary, war-ravaged landscape, with seemingly no hope of creating a meaningful life, these curious, motivated and skilled mountaineers created their own free-market economy under the very noses of their Communist bosses and climbed their way to liberation. At a time when Polish citizens were locked behind the Iron Curtain, these intrepid explorers found a way to travel the world in search of extreme adventure—to Alaska, South America and Europe, but mostly to the highest and most inspiring mountains of the world. To this end, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nepal became their second homes as they evolved into the toughest group of Himalayan climbers the world has ever known.

Also available in paperback.

Freedom Climbers
by Bernadette McDonald
BISAC: SPO029000
BISAC: HIS010010


"amazing, captivating and gripping." -from the blog, Katiclops  Click here for more

This is certainly McDonald's best book. Her writing is more nuanced and complex, and she is less of a cheerleader for her subjects than she has been in the past. She deserves great credit and I have to admit to envy here for bringing this subject to a wider public. Pursuing the same aim, editors told me that there wasn't a market for this kind of thing. It seems McDonald is proving them wrong.勇d Douglas, UK Climbing

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Hard to put down, Freedom Climbers is expertly and engagingly penned by Bernadette McDonald, the author of a number of prize-winning books on mountaineering. This time she has painstakingly pieced together a story of the over two decades of Himalayan exploits of Polish climbers, women as well as men, many of whom she knew personally. The figures and events of the glory days of Polish mountaineering are brought vividly to life. Both story and book are fully deserving of the years of attention lavished on them.猶atrice M. Dabrowski, The Cosmopolitan Review

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McDonald succeeds in bringing together all the elements of what is an epic tale.憂ohn Appleby, Footless Crow Blog

McDonald痴 greatest gift remains her ability to tap into the complexities of her characters. Freedom Climbers is a versatile text, but it is at its strongest when it plays up the human drama at hand: nothing rings truer or hits harder than the euphoric triumphs or the crushing defeats these characters face along their respective arcs, from their first moments at the peak of Mount Everest to the very edge of doom.佑raig Manning, Independent Publisher

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Freedom Climbers gives some much-needed attention to several of the under-recognized superstars of high-altitude climbing.... I highly recommend this book.勇verest Book Report

  Click here for more incredible book that celebrates climbing's highest ideals.Gripped

It was felt, according to this year's judging panel, to be one of the most important mountaineering books published in the English language for many years.有indsay Griffin,

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The book offers an unflinching examination of the psychology of risk, the extent to which one痴 personality is shaped by one痴 time and place, the connection between nature and spirituality, and the danger of egotism. McDonald ... shows the lengths to which these climbers went to imbue their lives with meaning, and then asks: was it worth it?輸ngie Abdou, Quill and Quire

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A gripping read, bound to become a classic of mountain literature.柚aria Coffey, author of Explorers of the Infinite

A brilliantly crafted tale of mountain and political adventure that reveals a golden era in Himalayan climbing that was as glorious as it was tragic.祐ir Chris Bonington, author of Chris Bonington痴 Everest

McDonald deserves special praise for bringing to light the stories of these remarkable men and women, and doing so in a manner that does honour to their memory.邑ade Davis, author of Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest

This important book is about the significant Polish contribution to Himalayan mountain climbing made during a period that, paradoxically, was one of adversity for our nation. It is the story of how Poles, in their quest for freedom, challenged others with the new standards they set預ll the while carrying the Polish flag to the world's highest summits.揖rzysztof Wielicki, renowned Polish alpine and high-altitude climber

With this fourth mountain history book, McDonald climbs right up into the ranks of the best mountain chroniclers. Freedom Climbers builds around the elements that have made all of McDonald's books so good superb research, deep access to the climbers themselves, even deeper passion for and understanding of the mountain world and then becomes so much more: this is a history of a nation, a time, and a very unique tribe whose story is finally told, and told very, very well.宥eoff Powter, author of Strange and Dangerous Dreams

Page turning accounts of suffer-fests on bold new routes, many of them done "fast and light" in winter, from the golden age of Polish mountaineering in the Himalaya and Greater Ranges. Heart-wrenching tales of friends and families who were abandoned to their dreary Soviet era lives when the mountains claimed their loved ones. Best of all, this book lays bare the complex mix of patriotic fervor and ravenous egos that led to a legacy of insanely difficult climbs on the 7 and 8000ers unmatched by any other nation before or since.猶at Morrow, mountaineer, photographer and author of Beyond Everest

Talk about labour of love! A book like this takes years. Writing with authority from inside mountaineering, and also as a woman in a fiercely male world, Bernadette McDonald has crafted a real-life page-turner about dangerous heroics and obsessive derring-do. This work is built to last.揖en McGoogan, author of Fatal Passage, Ancient Mariner, Lady Franklin痴 Revenge, and Race to the Polar Sea

Painstakingly researched and well crafted, this remarkable book acknowledges the significance of Polish mountaineers during the Golden Age of Himalayan exploration. Resourceful, stoic and visionary, these climbers seem to draw strength from the adverse political system they find themselves in. Fascinating.輸ndy Cave, author of The Thin White Line and Learning to Breath

For many years, we in the climbing community have stood in awe of the accomplishments of Polish climbers. Relatively late into the Himalyan game due to political and monetary restrictions enforced onto them within their own country, the Poles sought the mountains as their escape. It was in fact the hardships they endured within Poland that hardened them physically and emotionally to seek out and endure the toughest climbs in the world. Freedom Climbers is a very enlightening and captivating look at the Polish climbing superstars, what drives them, their amazing accomplishments and their continuing role in pushing the limits in the mountain arena.勇d Viesturs, author of No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks and K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain

This well-researched book fills a big gap in mountain writing and will be a revelation to many afficianados of alpine literature. In describing how Polish climbers outwitted their Communist leaders and came to dominate Himalayan mountaineering in the 1980s, Bernadette McDonald introduces us to the country's key mountaineers, taking the reader from deep within Communist controlled Poland and into the lonely, dramatic landscapes of the world's most formidable mountain ranges.憂im Curran, artist, climber and author of High Achiever: The Life and Climbs of Chris Bonington, K2: The Story of the Savage Mountain and The Nameless Tower

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