Book Reviews

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Rating 3 out of 5

Author: Alan Hinkes
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Monday, 17 February 2014
Publisher: Cicerone
8000 Metres: Climbing the World's Highest Mountains
8000 Metres: Climbing the World's Highest Mountains

Alan Hinkes’ account of how he became the first Briton to climb all fourteen of the 8,000-metre peaks was the big seller of late 2013, despite being published some eight years after his final summit. Its appeal rests more perhaps in its photographs, which are well reproduced and printed, than its somewhat dry account, but is a testament to Hinkes’ enduring popularity.

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Rating 4 out of 5

Author: Frank Westerman
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Monday, 1 December 2008
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Ararat
Ararat

Ararat is one of those books that shows the boundary between mountain  and mountaineering literature. There's not much climbing done, but there's a real sense of physical and intellectual exploration, with some excellent, atmospheric travel writing thrown in, as Westerman investigates one of the world's most sacred mountains.

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Rating 3.5 out of 5

Author: Ken Crocket & Simon Richardson
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Friday, 20 November 2009
Publisher: SMT
Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis

An excellent overview and history of Britain's highest mountain, with a full account of its development as a climbing venue, as well as more general information about the peak. Beautifully illustrated, this is a book climbers with an interest in Scottish winter climbs will want to own.

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Rating 4 out of 5

Author: Steve House
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Friday, 12 February 2010
Publisher: Vertebrate Graphics
Beyond The Mountain
Beyond The Mountain

In the summer of 2005, Steve Hosue and Vince Anderson climbed a major new line on the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, perhaps the greatest high-alitude ascent of the last ten years. House\'s climbing memoirs reveal what such a gruelling and dangerous climb demanded of him. Uncompromising, dedicated and single-minded, House is also a capable writer, and Beyond The Mountain was a popular winner of the 2010 Boardman-Tasker Award.

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Rating 3.5 out of 5

Author: Bernadette McDonald
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Thursday, 19 November 2009
Publisher: Bāton Wicks
Brotherhood of the Rope: The Biography of Charles Houston
Brotherhood of the Rope: The Biography of Charles Houston

Charles Houston seemed to belong to a more courtly era of mountaineering, whose principles stood far above the kind of competitive commercialism that characterises the modern era. He climbed with H. W. Tilman and Noel Odell, led a mythical expedition to K2 and was an admired research scientist. But as this biography shows, beneath it all was a complex and often troubled man struggling to make sense of his life.

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Rating 3 out of 5

Author: John Allen
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Thursday, 19 November 2009
Publisher: Sandstone Press
Cairngorm John: A Life In Mountain Rescue
Cairngorm John: A Life In Mountain Rescue

Mountain rescue memoirs are nothing new – think Hamish MacInnes – but John Allen adds a fresh take on the genre, exploring some of the more dramatic call-outs from his long career and giving his perspective on the challenges facing the modern rescue service. Also reviewed, offering a contrast with a French perspective, is Emmanuel Cauchy's book Hanging By A Thread, published by Constable.

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Rating 4 out of 5

Author: Paul Pritchard
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Saturday, 12 December 1998
Publisher: Bāton Wicks
Deep Play
Deep Play

A collection of essays  published in climbing magazines, but reworked and improved, Deep Play was the first of Pritchard's books to win the Boardman Tasker, in 1997. The prize money funded a trip around the world during which, in Tasmania, he suffered the near-fatal accident described in his second award-winning book, The Totem Pole. Pritchard is a thoughtful and energetic writer, and was one of the great climbers of his generation. One of the best climbing books from the 1990s.

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Rating 3.5 out of 5

Author: Jeff Connor
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Tuesday, 31 December 2003
Publisher: Canongate
Dougal Haston: The Philosophy Of Risk
Dougal Haston: The Philosophy Of Risk

Dougal Haston was the closest British mountaineering has had to a cult figure. He was high-altitude’s Mr Cool. A key player on two of Chris Bonington's landmark expeditions to Annapurna and Everest, he was also the focus of a legendary scene based at Leysin in Switzerland. Jeff Connor's fast-paced biography, however, reveals  Haston to have been vain, selfish and insecure.

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Rating 3 out of 5

Author: Maurice Isserman & Stewart Weaver
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Publisher: Yale University Press
Fallen Giants
Fallen Giants

A comprehensive overview of the history of Himalayan mountaineering. There are some important reassessments in the first part of the book, and the opening chapter is a geographical tour de force, but modern climbing is less thoroughly analysed with some crucial ommissions. Despite their academic historical credentials, the authors show a clear preference for what they see as mountaineering's more romantic past.

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Rating 3.5 out of 5

Author: Julie Summers
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Monday, 16 November 2009
Publisher: Phoenix
Fearless On Everest
Fearless On Everest

Andrew Irvine formed half of the most famous mountaineering partnership in history and yet until this biography surprisingly little was known about his short life. Fearless on Everest has brought him to life, revealed his scandalous affair with the wife of a steel magnate and solved a few climbing controversies in the process.

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