A rediscovered mountaineering classic and the extraordinary true story of a daring escape up Mount Kenya by three prisoners of war.
When the clouds covering Mount Kenya part one morning to reveal its towering peaks for the first time, prisoner of war Felice Benuzzi is transfixed. The tedium of camp life is broken by the beginnings of a sudden idea - an outrageous, dangerous, brilliant idea.
There are not many people who would break out of a P.O.W. camp, trek for days across perilous terrain before climbing the north face of Mount Kenya with improvised equipment, meagre rations, and with a picture of the mountain on a tin of beef among their more accurate guides. There are probably fewer still who would break back in to the camp on their return.
But this is the remarkable story of three such men. No Picnic on Mount Kenya is a powerful testament to the human spirit of revolt and adventure in even the darkest of places.
"The history of mountaineering can hardly present a parallel to this mad but thrilling escapade" - Saturday Review
"A most extraordinary prisoner-of-war and escape story" - New Yorker
"A mad venture and a gallant tribute to man's deep yearning for freedom" - Kirkus Reviews
"The book crackles with the same dry humour as its title. It contains the prison-yard bartering and candlelight stitching that mark a classic jailbreak yarn; the encounters with wild beasts in Mount Kenya's forest belt are as gripping, and the descriptions of sparkling glaciers as awe-inspiring, as any passage in the great exploration diaries of the early 20th century" - The Economist
Felice Benuzzi was born in Vienna in 1910 and grew up in Trieste, doing his early mountaineering in the Julian Alps. He studied law at Rome University and represented Italy as an international swimmer in 1933-35. Following the conclusion of the war he worked as a diplomat, including with the United Nations. He died in Rome in 1988.
Felice Benuzzi's tale is a real joy. An extraordinary adventure written with a light, deft, humorous touch that makes it irresistibly readable. And it certainly shows that the British don't have a monopoly of eccentricity. — Michael Palin
Benuzzi's sketches and his glorious writing and humour make this an incomparable tribute to camaraderie and daring. — Jane Manaster, San Francisco Book Review