The heart and the abyss: The life of Felice Benuzzi -- Rory Steele

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The heart and the abyss - The life of Felice Benuzzi

Rory Steele

Foreword by Tim Fischer

Binding:  Paperback
Pages:  316 pages
ISBN:  9781925501049
Retail Price:  $39.95
Release Date: May 2016

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 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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