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Shipton and Tilman [Hardcover]

Jim Perrin
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
Price: 17.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Mar 2013

Using unpublished diaries, Jim Perrin, the acclaimed author of The Villain and Menlove, tells the story of the greatest exploring partnership in British history. In the 1930s Tilman and the younger Shipton pioneered many routes in Africa and the Himalayas and found the key to unlocking Everest. They crossed Africa by bicycle, explored China with Spender and Auden, journeyed down the Oxus River to its source and, with no support, opened up much of the Nepalese Himalaya. In the words of Jim Perrin, 'The journeys of discovery undertaken through two decades by this pair of venturesome ragamuffins are unparallelled in the annals of mountain exploration.'

Jim Perrin writes of his source-material: 'These unpublished diaries, journals, and extensive correspondence have not previously been used to present a portrait of the most productive friendship in the history of mountain exploration. What they reveal is, in Shipton's phrase, "a random harvest of delight" gathered by two uniquely bold and engaging characters from the great mountain ranges of the world during the golden era of their first western exploration. Between geographical excitement, the nature of arduous travel in difficult and uncharted terrain throughout a lost epoch, and the quirkiest and most stimulating of friendships, the theme is a gift, and one that has long been waiting for adequate treatment'.

Frequently Bought Together

Shipton and Tilman + Snowdon - The Story of a Welsh Mountain: Biography of a Mountain
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (7 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009179546X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091795467
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Required reading" (The Alpine Journal)

"This is witty, literate, erudite and committed writing, and I'll be surprised if this anniversary year sees a better mountaineering book." (Geographical Magazine)

"A fascinating portrait of a friendship that pushed the boundaries of knowledge and endeavour" (Sunday Times)

"The author's great strength is his knowledge of climbing, which gives him an insight into the psychology and practice of mountain exploration" (Guardian)

"This comprehensive and important book, the result of 30 years of research, deserves to be read to the end. It gets better and funnier, as it progresses and it leaves even those such as me, for whom mountaineering has always been something of a mystery, beginning to understand and respect what drives true climbers" (Country Life)

Book Description

The award-winning author of The Villain tells the extraordinary story of two British mountaineers who single-handedly mapped out much of the Himalayas - including Everest - and the mountains of Africa.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious Perrin 13 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Biographies already exist for Eric Shipton and Bill (H W to my generation) Tilman, and this pair of legendary mountaineers themselves produced numerous autobiographical accounts of their expeditions and explorations. It is important for readers to appreciate Jim Perrin's `Shipton & Tilman' is what it subtitles itself - `The Great Decade of Himalayan Exploration'. It focuses on the 1930's and it is largely about the combining of Shipton and Tilman into an inspired partnership, with their revolutionary approach bequeathing an adjective to mountain literature whereby `Shipton and Tilman style' with exactitude defines small, self-reliant, lightweight, low impact expeditions.

In addition to his exhaustive examination of Shipton's and Tilman's books Perrin has had personal contact with the mountaineers and families, and he has accumulated a large amount of original and sometimes unknown material in the form of letters, notebooks, journals etc. `Shipton & Tilman' quotes this fresh material extensively and uses it to expose jokes between the mountaineers as well as writer and reader. There are glimpses into their early lives, together with commentary on later circumstances such as Shipton's treatment over the 1953 Everest expedition, his consular duties in Kashga, yeti hunting etc, or Tilman's return to war, sailing exploits etc. However Perrin relies heavily on already well recorded quotations and exerts from his protagonists' books to present an in-depth account of their adventures, which perhaps only lacks a few more detailed maps or diagrams.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
‘Shipton & Tilman’ has not proved to be an easy read for me. Perrin’s style of prose and liberal use of footnotes , much of which seem rather more aimed at polishing the author’s ego than at enriching the text, became increasingly irritating as I worked through the book.

Within its 392 pages there are indeed a few new observations about Shipton, drawn from the private collections of his family. Sadly and perhaps inevitably there is nothing new about Tilman other than a few fanciful anecdotes based on ‘fireside conversations’ between the author and his subject. The frequent references to Tilman’s ‘potent home brewed beer’ probably account for the level of elaboration in the record of these ‘conversations’ and the misleading and inaccurate character traits that are consequently documented as fact.

Bod Owen beer was hardly potent , being a light and hoppy brew with an alcohol content somewhere between 3.6 and 3.8% alcohol. That Perrin believed it to be ‘potent’ is either a deliberate twisting of the facts or a reflection on the author’s ability to ‘hold his ale’! I also drank it and enjoyed it regularly, along with Tilman’s home baked wholemeal bread and a strong cheddar, and for many years used to brew it myself from Tilman’s own recipe.

Interestingly, Tilman’s perception of these ‘fireside conversations’ was less complimentary to the author, suggesting that the friendship was perhaps a little one sided.

(For the record, in my youth I sailed with ‘the Skipper’ for more than 10,000 miles over the course of two high latitude voyages in 1970 and 1971. As one of several ‘eccentric’ crew members who returned for a second voyage, I do actually know the subject)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have 2 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whilst in later life Shipton & Tilman went their seperate ways the ten or so years that they were exploring together was so spectacular that it must go down as one of the greatest periods of exploration in British history. I'm sure that some people will use the words "imperialistic" - ignore them and live for the moment, they weren't doing this for their country, they were doing it for the world.
Oddly neither of them were knighted! How things change - today they would have received that for a hundreth of what they did!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As an aficionado of mountaineering before the age of mobile phones on the top of Everest, I enjoyed this retelling of the Shipton and Tilman story. As usual Jim Perrin gives us an in depth analysis of what made these two men tick - he has the advantage of having known Tilman in his later years in Wales. I particularly enjoy Perrin's extended footnotes.

A must for any serious student of pre-war Himalayan expeditioning.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Erudition 6 Sep 2013
By rhodie
I enjoyed the book especially as Shipton and Tilman are among the adventurers I most admire. However, the author has spoilt the text by the frequent inclusion of highfaluting words eg impaludistic when alternatives would still give the same meaning. Perhaps, I am not as erudite as Jim Perrin. I think his book on Don Whillans ' The Villain' was much better written.
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