The book is organised around a series of features of mountaineering--glaciers, summits, unknown ranges--and each chapter explores the scientific, artistic and cultural discoveries and fashions that accompanied exploration. The contributions of assorted geologists, romantic poets, landscape artists, entrepreneurs, gallant amateurs and military cartographers are described with perceptive clarity. The book climaxes with an account of Mallory's fateful ascent on Everest in 1924, one of the most famous instances of an obsessive pursuit. Macfarlane is well-placed to describe it since it is one he shares.
MacFarlane's own stories of perilous treks and assaults in the Alps, the Cairngorms and the Tian Shan mountains between China and Kazakhstan are compelling. Readers who enjoyed Francis Spufford's masterly I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination will enjoy Mountains of the Mind. This is a slighter volume than Spufford's and it loses in depth what it gains in range, but for an insight into the moody, male world of mountaineering past and present it is invaluable. --Miles Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Macfarlane writes, as many others have said, like an angel, and if you have any interest in mountains then this tour of the rise of interest in mountains and why they exercise a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by johnh
Wonderful. I never thought I would find a book about mountaineering fascinating but I did. Beautifully written.Published 3 months ago by Foyenne
I have read and re-read this book so many times at so many different place for some many different reasons - for references for studies into glaciers and landscape - into artists... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Aroha
I must admit that I skipped through some parts (because the actual part in history did not interest me), but the parts I read in full I really liked. I learnt a lot too.Published 3 months ago by Ms Virginia Newbold
Bought for my ex-climber husband, but also read by me for the wonderful, poetic, philosophical prose that pours off the pages of all Robert Macfarlane books - whatever the subject.Published 3 months ago by Jane Jazz - writer