by Roberta (Los Ranchos): I have read many books about mountain climbers on Everest and this is the first time I ever heard of Maurice Wilson who decided to try to fly a plane to Everest, land it somewhere on the mountain and then climb to the top. The Moth and the Mountain is an account of Wilson’s daring attempt.

The action takes place in the 1930s and after Mallory and Irvine’s attempt to reach the summit. Being the highest peak in the world, climbing Everest is an obsession for many mountain climbers and in the early part of this century it was especially so for British climbers. In fact, the mountain was named for a Brit, Sir George Everest.

Maurice Wilson was one of those people obsessed with climbing Everest, but his attempt might have been the craziest. He had no mountaineering experience and didn’t know how to fly an airplane. He was determined to climb solo and without oxygen. He wanted to promote his belief that fasting and faith in God would cure all the world’s ills.

He flew his airplane (known as the Moth) from Britain to India and all along the way the British establishment tried to prevent him from doing it. He ended up having to abandon the airplane idea when he was not allowed access to his airplane. After that he surreptitiously entered Tibet in disguise and finally got to Everest. He succeeded in climbing as high as 22,703 ft (amazing), but died in his attempt. His body was found the following year by a British expedition.

The author does a good job detailing Wilson’s attempt as well as his crazy personal life.

It is a fascinating story and the book is well written.