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The Ascent of Rum Doodle

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The Ascent of Rum Doodle

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Author: W. E. Bowman
Publisher: Random House, 2001
Vanguard Press, 1956

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Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
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First published in 1956, The Ascent of Rum Doodle quickly became a mountaineering classic. As an outrageously funny spoof about the ascent of a peak in the Himalayas, many thought it was inspired by the 1953 conquest of Everest. But Bowman had drawn on the flavor and tone of earlier adventures, of Bill Tilman and his 1937 account of the Nandi Devi expedition. The book's central and unforgettable character, Binder, is one of the finest creations in comic literature.

The Ascent of Rum Doodle was included as one of the '1000 Novels Everyone Must Read' in the Guardian in January 2009.

As Bill Bryson explains in his Introduction:

There is Binder, the kindly, dogged, reliably under-insightful leader of the party; Jungle the route finder who cannot find his way to any assembly point and is forever cabling apologies from remote and inappropriate locales; Wish, the scientist, who passes the sea voyage by testing his equipment and discovers that the ship is 153 feet above sea level; Constant, the language expert who, through errors of grammar and syntax, constantly provokes to fury the Yogistani porters; and the terrifying cook Pong, whose arrival at each camp spurs the men on to ever greater heights.


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