The plan was outrageous: A small team of four climbers would attempt a new route on the East Face of Mt. Everest, considered the most remote and dangerous side of the mountain and only successfully climbed once before. Unlike the first larger team, Mimi Zieman’s team would climb without using supplemental oxygen, porter support, or chance for rescue. She would accompany the climbers as the doctor—and only woman—although she was still in her third year of medical school. Full of self-doubt, Zieman grappled with whether to go but couldn’t resist the call of the mountains. On Everest, when three climbers disappeared during their summit attempt, she reached the knife edge of her limits and dug deeply to fight for the climbers’ lives and to find her voice.
Sparkling with suspense and vulnerability, Tap Dancing on Everest is a coming-of-age story about the risks we take to become our truest selves. Zieman weaves her childhood as the daughter of immigrants raised in 1970’s New York City, her father a Holocaust survivor, with adventure and medicine, capturing the curiosity and awe of a young woman as she faces down messages to stay small and safe and ventures into the unknown.
Mimi Zieman, MD is the author of Tap Dancing on Everest: A Young Doctor’s Unlikely adventure about the risks we take to become our truest selves. Her play, The Post-Roe Monologues, has been performed in New York City, Atlanta, New Mexico, and Cleveland. A board-certified OB/GYN specialized in Complex Family Planning, she’s co-authored sixteen editions of Managing Contraception with over one million copies distributed. Her writing has appeared in The Sun, Ms. Magazine, Newsweek, Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, NBC NewsTHINK, The Forward, and other publications. She’s spoken nationally and internationally and has been interviewed by major media outlets. Ranking high on her list of favorite things are a good adventure, dancing, animals, and a rich cup of coffee. Above all she treasures her family which includes her husband, three grown children, bonus daughter, granddaughter, and rambunctious pup.
“Tap Dancing on Everest” is gorgeous. It is so full of joy, zest and fun and yet with some profound thoughts. Once started you cannot put it down.”
~Sir Chris Bonington, author of Everest the Hard Way, knighted for his services to mountaineering
~Katie Ives, author of Imaginary Peaks: The Riesenstein Hoax and Other Mountain Dreams
“Mimi Zieman’s book is an ideal alchemy of grit and grace. The lessons Zieman learns on the mountain are important lessons for us all. A wild and deeply satisfying journey.”
~Emily Rapp Black, author of The Still Point of The Turing World
“Mimi Zieman is brave, tough, and impressive when on Everest, and lively, engaging, and funny when on the page. After returning from her climb, she says she was “very grateful for ceilings.” I myself, am grateful for her vivid recounting of all her journeys.”
~Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings
“The story takes place on a frozen summit but is bound to melt your heart. The courage that drove her to this unlikely adventure permeates her candid recounting of her breathtaking tale.”
~Etgar Keret, author of The Seven Good Years
“The small band that formed the Everest ’88 team will be remembered as free spirits who went to the unknown and embraced the true spirit of adventure, a far cry from today’s narrative on Everest, and an essential addition to mountain literature. In Tap Dancing on Everest, expedition doctor Mimi Zieman brings to life the toll experienced by non-climbers on an expedition, what it was truly like not knowing if her teammates would return, and ultimately, what it took to heal their wounds. While recalling her tap-dancing days, this book is also a metaphor of a different kind of tap dance, that of survival on the roof of the world.”
~Norbu Tenzing Norgay, Vice President of the American Himalayan Foundation, and son of Tenzing Norgay
“Tap Dancing on Everest is that rare book that manages to capture the adrenaline rush of a thrilling adventure and the gut-wrenching pathos of an epic tragedy. Mimi Zieman is telling a story that readers will be unable to put down—not just about life and death on the world’s most dangerous mountain, but about how we, as human beings, too often have to put ourselves in extreme danger to feel fully alive. I was utterly captivated by this story. You will be, too.”
~Steve Almond, author of All the Secrets of the World
“[This] story touched me deeply.”
~Dr. Tom Hornbein, Author of Everest: The West Ridge, and high-altitude medicine researcher
~Ann Hood, author of Comfort: A Journey Through Grief
“The best ascent of Everest in terms and style of pure adventure.”
~Reinhold Messner, the first man to solo Everest, and the first to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen along with Peter Habeler
“From page one, Tap Dancing on Everest draws you into the heart-stopping world of mountaineering. An engaging narrative rich in details and vulnerability, the story captures the adventure in reaching beyond one's comfort zone and into the unknown."
~Johanna Garton, Author, Edge of the Map: The Mountain Life of Christine Boskoff
“A captivating story, seldom told, about what it’s like to take care of Everest climbers from the perspective of a feisty expedition doctor. This page-turner is a must-read for real and armchair adventurers everywhere.”
~Stephen Venables, author of Alone at the Summit and first British man to summit Everest without oxygen
“Climbing Everest was not on Mimi Zieman’s bucket list. But after a lifetime of trying—and often failing-to “follow the rules” of growing up a good Jewish girl with the right body, the right boyfriend and the right personality, the challenge of the vast mountain calls her…By turns gripping and charming, tragic and joyful, Zieman’s rocky, ultimately revelatory journey shows how the true triumph of the summit is the discovery of her calling.”
~Allison K Williams, author of Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book
“Mimi Zieman's compelling and very personal memoir recounts with warmth and insight how her father survived the holocaust, her challenging childhood, her courage and determination in the face of continued obstacles, and the passion and persistence that bring her to the roof of the world. "
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