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Dougal Haston: The Philosophy Of Risk Paperback – 20 Dec 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (20 Dec. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841953407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953403
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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* It's a fascinating book about a fascinating man, and is certainly the book on Haston. If you have even a passing interest in Haston or the British climbing/mountaineering scene from the 50's to the 70's, of which Haston was undoubtedly one of the biggest characters, this book is worth every penny Customer review, Amazon.co.uk * This biography does not pull any punches. Great for the armchair climber Customer review, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author

Jeff Connor was born in Manchester and was educated at Bury Grammar School where his studies lost out to sport at the age of 15. A retired ruby player at both codes of union and league he is also a former champion professional hill runner, a keen skier and a five-days-a-week gym addict. He is divorced, lives in Edinburgh and is the rugby correspondent for Scotland's leading Sunday newspaper, Scotland on Sunday. His previous books include 'Wide Eyed and Legless: Inside the Tour de France' and 'Creagh Dhu Climber' (short listed for the Boardman/Tasker and Banff Mountain Festival prizes for mountain literature in 1999/2000).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`The Philosophy of Risk' is Jeff Connor's second biography of a talented Scottish climber - the first subject was John Cunningham with a forthright and straightforward account, but this concerns a more evasive and complex character: Dougal Haston. The book is based on careful and comprehensive research with sources including many contemporary climbers and commentators as well as Haston's own notes, diaries, journal articles and books. It sets out the life of Dougal Haston from his unruly childhood in Currie to his final chaotic years in Switzerland. Though Dougal lost many friends to the mountains, he himself was regarded as the `ultimate survivor' even though as a risk-taker his death was not a universal surprise. Matching the title of the book the author refers repeatedly to the weighing up of risks - from describing Dougal's realisation on his first ever route, Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor, that "this was an environment of overt risk and yet reassuring security", to the skiing accident above Leysin that killed him at age 36 years when he reckoned confidently "he could outrun any small slides" and proceeded in spite of avalanche warnings.

Though assisting the reader to assess mindset and motives of Dougal Haston there is a slightly worrying degree of speculation in some of Connor's writing, but between the initial rock climb in Scotland and the final snow slope in Switzerland are all desired elements of a good mountaineering book. There are accounts of many fine achievements including both phenomenal successes as well as failures in Britain, the Alps, the Himalaya and elsewhere. These embrace rock and ice in Scotland, ascents of Alpine North faces, Annapurna, Everest, Mount McKinley and much more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Carr on 28 May 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dougal Haston was a legendary climber, but his own writings are blighted by over-philosophising the smallest details, and read more like Nietzsche than a lad from the borders of Edinburgh. However, this is a finely detailed and well-written book from Jeff Connor, practically Haston's official biographer. As is the norm it follows the life of Haston from climbing the hills near Currie to becoming Scotlands, and eventually one of the Worlds finest mountaineers. What this book does brilliantly however, is attempt to unravel Haston as a man, not a climber. What inspired and drove him, his relationships, and why he was the way he was. There are excerpts from interviews with many of his closest friends, climbing partners and relationships, which paint far more of a picture than Connor's prose ever could.

It's a fascinating book about a fascinating man, and is certainly the book on Haston. If you have even a passing interest in Haston or the British climbing/mountaineering scene from the 50's to the 70's, of which Haston was undoubtedly one of the biggest characters, this book is worth every penny.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By royjo71@hotmail.com on 4 Feb. 2002
Format: Hardcover
Dougal haston was a hero of mine. Still is to an extent. However this book appears to be factually accurate and consequentially has changed my opinion.
This is a warts n all rundown of Dougals life fromclimbing on railway bridges in currie, to climbing himlayan giants with bonington and co.
He was far more of a nutcase than I originally gave him credit for. The reason why he was so good at altitude was his preparedness to go out on a limb. His achievements with scott and whillans were exceptional.
However, I did not know he served 60 days in Barlinnie Jail, glasgow, for Causing death by drink driving. Probably forgivable if it wasnt for the fact that he drank and drove again afterwards. Idiot.
A good read, that has changed my opinion of one of my heroes. I am not disappointed that I read it all the same
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Robson on 10 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
The book was an exceptional bit of writing bringing Dougal Haston the man, the climber, the person ... into real life. Having read different accounts from a variety of authors regarding Dougal Haston you develop a picture of a person and the type of lifethey lead. However, The Philosophy of Risk managed to portray the real image of Dougal Haston and how he came to be the climber/mountaineer he deeloped into. Good stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Colin McDougall on 1 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
I only found out about this book a few weeks ago and - having read both "In High Places" and "Eiger Direct" - decided that I'd like to read this too. It is presented in a very interesting fashion and is difficult to put down. The book gives great insight into the complicated character who was Dougal Haston. A great read, especially - but not only - for climbers or those who like to read about climbing.
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