Editor Clint Willis collects some of mountaineering's finest writing in these tales from storied expeditions to grails like Everest and K2. Included are classic accounts of early American attempts on K2, by consensus the most daunting and ruthless peak to summit. Frank Smythe's telling of his 1933 attempt and Charles Houston and Robert Bates's from 1938 typify the wooly-knickered bravado of pre-war climbing. As counterpoint, Willis serves up Galen Rowell's sad and unadorned journal from the tempestuous 1975 failed expedition.
But there are other angles as well. Tucked in the middle of High is a gem told by an Everest widow, Maria Coffey, who traveled to the base of the mountain that took her husband and his partner: "I could pick out the ridge where Joe and Pete were last seen. The image blurred, tears were washing down my face and collecting in the jacket collar pulled tightly around my chin." In a collection of writing that soars it is a moving--and grounding--reminder of mountaineering's risks. --Tipton Blish
From School Library Journal
YA-A collection of excerpts from mostly real-life experiences that will leave even the most jaded armchair adventurers gasping for air and thoroughly waterlogged. Both titles depict humans at their most physically challenged in environments that they sought out but for which they were not necessarily completely prepared. High features Jon Krakauer, David Roberts, and Chris Bonington. An excerpt from Matt Dickinson's The Other Side of Everest is also included. A touching narrative is taken from Maria Coffey's Fragile Edge, in which the author recounts her visit to Tibet to find some closure over the death of her sweetheart, who disappeared from Everest's Northeast Ridge. Many of the writers in Rough Water describe such dire straits out on the open sea that one wonders how they ever survived to tell their tale. Memorable moments from maritime literature include a selection from F. A. Worsley's Shackleton's Boat Journey, in which the South Pole explorer and his men rowed 14 days across 800 miles of some of the earth's most treacherous seas in a small boat. Another classic excerpt depicting a heartless captain is taken from Richard Henry Dana, Jr.'s Two Years before the Mast. Readers who still have not gotten enough of the Titanic stories will be intrigued by yet another viewpoint from The Loss of the S. S. Titanic. And there's more. Bibliographies lead readers to the rest of the stories.Cynthia J. Rieben, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.