'A truly astonishing account of suffering and fortitude... the narrative acquires an irresistible force, carrying all before it.' -- The Sunday Times on Touching the Void. Mountaineer Joe Simpson wrestles with the perplexing nature of aggression and violence -- their eruption in himself, in others, in societies, in nature. He recalls the terrifying avalanche that nearly wiped out his base camp on Gangchempo in the Himalayas. While climbing on Cho Oyo, he meets a band of Khampas fleeing from the brutality of Chinese oppression in Tibet. On Huascaran, Peru's highest mountain, he learns of the earthquake which buried eighteen thousand people -- reminding him of his boyhood visit to the Nazi concentration camp at Belsen.
In "Storms Of Silence," Joe Simpson presents a thoughtful, funny, moving account of his maverick life as a mountaineer. But behind the rich tapestry of adventures lies a dark and brooding disquiet. Simpson recalls the terrifying avalanche that nearly wiped out his base camp during an attempt on the unclimbed north face of Gangchmpo in the Himalaya. While climbing on Cho Oyo he meets a band of Khampas, including a four-year-old boy, fleeing over the high Nangpa La pass from the brutality of Chinese oppression in Tibet. Simpson's love of Himalayan life contrasts with the ruthless Chinese destruction of the Tibetan culture and people. A violent brush with a skinhead in his home town of Sheffield is mirrored in his chilling encounter with the Peruvian police. On Huascaran (Peru's highest mountain) he hears unnerving ghostly voices and learns of the earthquake which buried 18,000 people and wiped out the town of Yungay below him. It reminds him of his boyhood visit to the Nazi concentration camp at Belsen. "Storms Of Silence" ends with the trauma of reliving, in quite unexpected circumstances, the dance with death he had encountered before and recorded in his previous book "Touching the Void". "Storms Of Silence" will be eagerly greeted by anyone who has read Simpson's earlier works such as "This Game of Ghosts". He writes with a vivid engagement rarely equaled, and never surpassed in tales of true adventure mountaineering and exploration.
Midwest Book Review, June 1997