Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

YETI: An Abominable History

  • Written by  Jules Stewart
  • Published in Books
YETI YETI
15 Aug
2018
by Graham Hoyland• William Collins • £20 (hardback)

Author and Everest summiteer Graham Hoyland found the inspiration to write this entertaining book on a climbing expedition to Gangar Punsum, the world’s highest unclimbed peak, which rises in Bhutan on the Tibetan border.

After having reached 16,400 feet, Hoyland spotted a set of footprints in the snow, larger than human size. ‘Was some large predator lurking behind one of the huge boulders that were scattered around the Lost Valley?’ he wonders. ‘Could this be the mythical beast that is spoken of all along the Himalaya: the Abominable Snowman, or yeti?’

There is no scientific proof that such a beast exists, despite photos of strange 12-inch-long tracks in the snow taken in 1951 by climbers Eric Shipton and Michael Ward. Hoyland decided to disentangle myth from reality. Eminences such as Sir David Attenborough have given credence to the possible presence of such an undiscovered beast.

"After all, we have only identified some 20 per cent of the estimated ten million living species on our planet"

Reinhold Messner was likewise convinced of the yeti’s existence.

Alas, readers expecting Hoyland to come up with sensational evidence of a 12-foot-tall monster roaming the Himalaya will come away disappointed. The author takes the less dramatic view that the sightings of yetis are of bears, not apes. But as he points out in this delightful romp through the history of yeti-spotting, mythical beasts have always exercised a fascination on the human mind, from Grendel in the Old English poem Beowulf, to fanciful creatures in Alice in Wonderland and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Hoyland explains that even in our day, people are all too often reluctant to allow facts to stand in the way of a more appealing version of reality. The yeti is more to do with the appetite for a good story, often mixed with tribal legend, than finding the truth. This is something which the author, taking it right to the present, rightly states we now call fake news.

Click here to purchase YETI by Graham Hoyland on Amazon

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

DurhamBath Spa600x200 Greenwich Aberystwythherts

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

Journalist, author and humanitarian Tara Kangarlou spent four years reporting…

Books

Jonathan Drori CBE FRGS is the author of the international…

Books

Explore the month's best nonfiction reads 

Books

by Jonathan Drori, illustrated by Lucille Clerc • Laurence King Publishing

Books

Your monthly dose of recommended nonfiction reads for June

Books

by Jemma Wadham • Allen Lane

Books

Read on for all of Geographical’s May book reviews