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Moments of Doubt: And Other Mountaineering Writings
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book of essays is one of the finest of its type I have read. They cover a time span from 1968 - 1986, and though most are on mountaineering, one of the best is on white water rafting. Mr. Roberts has divided the book into three sections: Adventures, Profiles and Reflections. I confess I wasn't looking forward to "Reflections." Most climbers are not at their best at "reflecting" on anything. They find it difficult to achieve that fine balance between false modesty and arrogance. Dave Roberts is a happy surprise. He pulls no punches and has a reporter's eye for the absurd. One of the intriguing Reflections, "Boulders and Gunks" compares young climbers in the mid-80's to youngsters of his own era, the late `60's.
In the Adventure section, "Rafting with the BBC" tell us the differences between the actual hair-raising exploit and what you see on the TV-sometimes funny, sometimes maddening. I have read other accounts of sponsorship by the BBC; it must be like finding out your roommate is a strong-minded elephant. "Kilimanjaro: A Third World Adventure" is a perceptive writing of a mountain, not often mentioned by climbers because it is not considered "difficult." Now, to you and me, the thought of climbing Kilimanjaro might be right up there with bull riding, but to climbers, "difficult" is something like K-2. Also, the only way the local government allowed you to climb was with a guide and as part of a group, a somewhat embarrassing outing for a world-class climber.
My favorite Profile "The Mechanical Boy Comes Back," is the story of Hugh Herr, a brilliant, but obsessed 18-year old climber, who with a friend became lost in the New Hampshire mountains and spent three days and three nights in the below zero temperatures. Hugh subsequently lost his leg up to the thigh due to frostbite. His comeback was miraculous. He refused to quit because of his disability and designed various prostheses so he could climb again, which he did with great success. I was so taken with the account, I had to find out what became of Hugh after 1983 when the article was written. Checking out the Internet, I found Hugh is now Dr. Herr, a PhD who is well known in his field and has a business designing prosthetic devices.
This is not just a book for climbing wannabes, or adventure junkies; all the writings stand on their own, are thought provoking and enjoyable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
By chance, I started reading mountaineering literature with this book. I would recommend it to anyone, climber or not. It is the single best book I have found on the subject. Its only rival, in my opinion, is the volume combining Roberts' two memoirs of Alaskan expeditions, "Deborah" and "The Mountain of My Fear."
Roberts' prose is elegant and compact; his essays set an insightful standard to which no other climbing writer has risen. I have read most of them several times, and will read them again. I read other climbing books in the hope that I will find them as powerful as I did this book.
Royal Robbins did not design the book, of course, but he did write the introduction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Although written more than 20 years ago, David Robert's Moments of Doubt is still applicable to the many nuances of mountaineering today and the issues that make the headlines.

He doesn't hesitate in sharing his inner most feelings and his opinion of others. His analysis of his own climbing adventures and the mishaps of others to laid bare for the reader to analyze and come to their own conclusions.

If not for the pure enjoyment of adventure reading, Moments of Doubt provides a good resource of popular climbing epics.

Having recently read Robert's On the Ridge Between Life and Death, I found Moments of Doubt to be a more global look at climbing, yet with the passion that Robert's is so adept at sharing with the reader.
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Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
great book, recommend to anyone who treasures the mountains. it tells how challenging they can be.
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