The Heart and The Abyss: The Life of Felice Benuzzi: Steele, Rory
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The Heart and The Abyss: The Life of Felice Benuzzi

Author(s): Steele, Rory

Copyright: 2016, US
Specifications: 8vo, pp.322, 15 bw photos, wraps
Condition: new

In 1943 Felice Benuzzi broke out of a POW camp to scale the second highest mountain in Africa, with no maps and only hand-made gear, passing through a jungle up to the ice-capped top. Seventeen days later he broke back into the camp and reported to the astonished commandant. His book of this escapade, ‘No Picnic on Mount Kenya’, has become a classic of mountaineering literature.

His life was extraordinary from start to finish. He lived through fascism, married a Berlin-born Jewess, served as a colonial administrator and was decorated for bravery in combat. Later as a diplomat he was consul in Berlin during the Cold War, ambassador to Uruguay and twice visited Antarctica. He was a colourful writer, a deep thinker and an attractive personality.

Mountaineering was his passion. He began when some peaks were unnamed and many had never been climbed, and continued into the modern era when better access and equipment gave everyone the chance. He was a founder member of the environmental group Mountain Wilderness.

This biography was written with full help from the Benuzzi family including access to their archives and thousands of letters written by Felice. Rory Steele lived in Liguria and Tuscany in 1954-55, taught in Naples in 1964-65 and was Australia's ambassador to Italy 1997-2001.

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