WINNER: Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature 2011
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Banff Mountain Book Competition 2011
The story of the extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the world's leading Himalayan climbers. Freedom Climbers weaves a passionate and literary tale of adventure, politics, suffering, death and – ultimately – inspiration.
Freedom Climbers tells the story of the 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 war-ravaged landscape, with seemingly no hope of creating a meaningful life, these curious, motivated and skilled mountaineers built 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 Himalayan climbers the world has ever known.
In her most engaging book to date, renowned and award-winning author Bernadette McDonald weaves a passionate and literary tale of adventure, politics, suffering, death and – ultimately – inspiration.
Bernadette McDonald is the author of eleven books on mountaineering and mountain culture, including Art of Freedom (2017), Freedom Climbers (2011), Alpine Warriors (2015), Keeper of the Mountains (2012), Tomaž Humar (2008) and Brotherhood of the Rope (2007). McDonald has won numerous awards, including her second Boardman Tasker Prize and the Banff Award for Mountain Literature for Art of Freedom in 2017. She won her first Boardman Tasker Prize and the Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize for Freedom Climbers in 2011. She has also won Italy’s ITAS Prize for mountain writing (2010) and is a three-time winner of India’s Kekoo Naoroji Award for Mountain Literature. In 2012 the American Alpine Club awarded her their highest literary honour for excellence in mountain literature. She was the founding Vice President of Mountain Culture at the Banff Centre and director of the Banff Mountain Festivals for twenty years. She has also received the Alberta Order of Excellence (2009), the Summit of Excellence Award from the Banff Centre (2007), the King Albert Award for international leadership in the field of mountain culture and environment (2006), and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). Bernadette has degrees in English Literature and Music, with specialisation in performance and analytical theory. When not writing, she climbs, hikes, skis, paddles and grows grapes.
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