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Stones of Silence: Journeys in the Himalaya Paperback – November, 1988

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr (T) (November 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226736466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226736464
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,447,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Judy Smith VINE VOICE on April 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
The mountains of the Himalaya, from the lushly forested slopes of Nepal to the barren ranges of Central Asia, offer solitude, enlightenment, and incredible beauty, as well as the brutal reality of barren peaks and wind-torn slopes and glaciers. They are a lost world of nameless valleys, of people living in the Middle Ages, of travel by yak caravan. To field biologist George Schaller, the Himalaya is all this, and yet it is more, forming as it does the habitat of the world's greatest variety of whild sheep and goats....markhor, urial, bharal, and other spectacular animals...as well as the elusive snow leopard.
This is a story of high adventure, introspection, observation, and discovery. It is primarily about the Himalaya and the people and the animals that live in it. It is a story told in the words of a poet, yet seen through the eyes of a scientists, as he struggles to save this mountain world from turning to stones of silence.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Winifred Robinson on July 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am known as Bina Robinson rather than my legal name of Winifred. It just so happens that Bina is a fairly common name in this area making it
more approriate as well as more recognizable. So "I'd apreciate it if you'd make this change.

After reading Judy Smith's review, which skillfully captured the essence of this book in so few words, I decided not to comment. On thinking it over, however, it seems my personal experience of two treks, one lasting over a month, in Nepal gives me the background to add that the book should be of interest to anyone who has ever trekked or even dreamed of traveling on foot through the majestic Himalayas. I went for the mountains but came away with a love of the remarkable people who inhabit them, laughing and cheerful even when heavily burdened and barefoot in the snow.

George B. Schaller tells a well-rounded tale branching off at times into centuries of local history at various locations and philosophizing as when "Resting tranquilly near the bharal, I know also that animals are wild only because man made them so." He is concerned with the effects of overgrazing by domestic livestock causing slopes to be eroded leaving "shrubs perching on pedestals of soil, clutching the last fragments of fertility."

His description of village men "accustom(ing) the yaks to being handled again after a feral existence all winter" by talking gently to them and feeding them salt by hand reminded me of how other travelers passing a yak train reached out to give each animal an affectionate pat.

The purpose of the book is to present the notes of wildlife observations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This naturalist accompanied Peter Matthiessen on his trek chronicled in "The Snow Leopard." What George Schaller adds to the account is much more about not only the leopard, which eludes his sight even as he tracks its traces. but the varied wild sheep and goats of high peaks and dry ravines. The Nepalese border with Tibet attracts him but so do the horned and hoofed hidden animals among the Hindu Kush, the Karakorum, the Nilgiri Hills and High Range, Chitral, and the Salt and Chiltan Ranges of the subcontinent. The scope is wider than the subtitled "journeys in the Himalaya." Six years' study results in a book that will entice both armchair travelers and those intrigued by wildlife.

While the detail of the animals studied may be more than a casual reader expects, this is not a travel account so much as the tale of an encounter with such animals, and what they convey to the one watching and waiting for them in such desolate and threatened realms.

It's often a sobering account. Free of most of the spiritual tinge of his comrade's eloquent version, Schaller prefers a stoic, more stolid perspective. He admits when at the Shey monastery where Matthiessen sought to see the snow leopard his own moment of transcendence: "There is no ultimate knowing. Beyond the facts, beyond science, is a domain of cloud, the universe of the mind, ever expanding as the universe itself." (243) Yet, this passes too, and he knows how "such reflections recur in high and lonely places."

These gain his greatest attention. Those more populated and dessicated elicit more disdain. He wearies of his fellows, and seeks solitude. "The character of a region has much to do with the character of the person describing it, for we see our own heart in a landscape.
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