After seeing the documentary with the same title and loving it, I was excited to receive this book as a Christmas gift. It's much more than your typical coffee table book.
- The text portion is basically a narrative on the past, present, and future of our environment, told within the netting of climbing a peak in Patagonia. It's both casual and alarming.
- The pictures are stunning and capture the people, places, and emotions of the people involved. These are not stock photos!
- The running concept of "conquerors of the useless" is explained well and becomes meaningful and acceptable. As Yvone points out, it isn't about the view from the top, it's about the climb and what you discover about yourself on the way up.
- The book itself is beautiful- the slip cover, the binding, and the quality of paper.
- Personally, I really feel that the work Yvone Chouinard and Doug Tompkins have done for environmental protection and reform is amazing. At times, though, I became a little frustrated with what they were saying versus their vantage point. These men are very wealthy, whether they live like it or not. They talk about eliminating our dependency on cars as a whole- I'm sorry but John Smith who works fifteen hours a day at two jobs to take care of his family does not want to start biking in, nor does he have his own Cessna like these gentleman. And I agree with roads being a horrid ecological interruption, but, let's face it, we need to get places and until jetpacks are invented I'm not sure what we can do about it (and jetpacks will probably be bad for the environment with their jet fuel and all...)
- It's not a glamorous book, if that's what you're looking for, and there is a decent amount of text that should be read in order to truly read the illustrations. I consider that a good thing, but if you're looking for a purely glossy book of scenic pictures you won't find it here.
See the movie, read the book. I really don't understand why this book isn't more popular.