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Reviews

  • 'Ed Caesar has written a slim, ravishing chronicle that is absolutely bursting with life - doomed romance, the dread of the battlefield, the lure of adventure, hair-raising tales of amateur aviation, and, above all, the beauty and madness of the quest to ascend Earth's tallest summit. Maurice Wilson is as rich and full of surprise and contradiction as a character in a novel, and through painstaking historical research, Caesar brings his hero back to vivid life in all his messy, inspiring, ultimately tragic glory. A major feat of reporting and elegant storytelling'

    Patrick Radden Keefe, author of the Orwell Prize-winning Say Nothing
  • 'The Moth and the Mountain is gripping and exquisite. A mad, magnificent, and moving tale'

    Philippe Sands, author of East West Street
  • 'Maurice Wilson was an amazing human being. Passionate, heroic, hilariously deluded, inspired, brave to the point of lunacy, determined, war damaged, lovelorn and gloriously unhinged. The Moth and the Mountain is a wonderful, elegiac account of an extraordinary life written with a wry, compassionate humour. It is clear that Ed Caesar loves his hero. I think I do too'

    Joe Simpson, author of Touching the Void
  • 'The adventurer Maurice Wilson was a forgotten figure until Ed Caesar's brilliantly written book restored him to his rightful place in the annals of exploration... Caesar's book received enormous praise on publication last year and rightly so. This splendid tale is every bit as exciting as any adventure novel and deeply moving'

    Alex Larman, Observer
  • 'This bonkers ripping yarn of derring-don't is a hell of a ride ... scrupulously researched ... Maurice Wilson was a one-off, quite outside the ordinary run of people, and The Moth and the Mountain is a "sorry, beautiful, melancholy, crazy" tribute to a man who, like a leaf in autumn, burnt brightest just before he fell'

    John Self, The Times
  • 'An urgent and humane story that invites not mockery of a madman, but pity and admiration. A small classic of the biographer's art'

    James McConnachie, The Sunday Times
  • 'Caesar is a journalist with a novelist's eye for character ... Wilson's story is bonkers, but also beautiful. The profile Caesar builds is compelling, colourful and warm - of a complex, contradictory man with admirable self-belief and a healthy disregard for class boundaries and national borders' (Book of the Week)

    Sam Wollaston, Guardian
  • 'A riveting tale of trauma, spiritual awakening and postwar derring-do ... a gem of a book ... meticulously researched' (Book of the Week)

    Observer
  • 'An outstanding book . . . The Moth and the Mountain returns readers to a romantic era when Everest was terra nova rather than an experience to be bought . . . the author, a contributing writer for the New Yorker, is a talented storyteller with a flair for detail. . . Wilson's story is an entry less in the annals of mountaineering than in the Book of Life. That such an extraordinary person even existed is cause for celebration'

    Wall Street Journal
  • 'A wonderful adventure story, beautifully told. Based on years of painstaking archival research, Ed Caesar's The Moth and the Mountain brings us a modern-day myth with a beguiling, impossible hero from a vanished era of empire, one man on an epic quest that is by turns gripping and heartbreaking'

    Adam Higginbotham, author of Midnight in Chernobyl

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