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Snowdon - The Story of a Welsh Mountain: Biography of a Mountain [Hardcover]

Jim Perrin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 July 2013
The story of Snowdon in Jim Perrin's words. The secrets within its fractured rocks and its shy flora, its folk tales echoing an older race and its beliefs, travelers' chronicles, industry, sport and an anthology of literature all contribute towards our understanding of the mountain.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Gomer (12 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843235749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843235743
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going 16 April 2013
This is a good, informative book, but I found it heavy going. The prose is dense.
The writer grew up in Manchester, and not in Wales, but has adopted Welsh culture and language. He writes knowledgeably about the mountain. As someone else wrote below, it's not for anyone who wants a quick introduction to the Snowdon area. Also,
I just don't get why he has to include Welsh poems with no translations, when it's an English language book, for heaven's sake. It's very interesting to see the poems but also to know what they mean if you don't speak Welsh.
Worth reading if you are really interested in mountain literature.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perrins Best Book? 16 Oct 2013
Firstly, this is not a 'guidebook' to Snowdon, but there are plenty of those already. I would describe it as a book for people who already know and love the mountain (and it is about Snowdon, not Snowdonia) and either want to enhance their knowledge of it or to reminisce about days spent walking, climbing or just observing the mountain. I've been on the summit more than 400 times, and have read quite a lot about area but I still learnt a lot from this book and found it very readable - hence my heading: I really do think this is Jim Perrins best book up to now. Yes, of course it contains some references in Welsh - possibly because Welsh is an indigenous, living language used by many of the people who live and work around the mountain, and I appreciate the fact that the author has acknowledged the importance of the environment on the language and people in North Wales, and that he cites Ioan Bowen Rees as an inspiration in this respect.
I really recommend this book - but not if you're one of the crowd of "Three Peaks" charity bumblers who frequently infest the mountain in the Summer months - it might slow you down and make you wonder about your environmental impact on the mountain.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really Welsh mountain 25 Nov 2012
By Farkins
Everyone of course knows it's in Wales or do they? As the first book about the mountain in ninety years, I think the author wanted to emphasise its roots in the local landscape, history, folklore and community as opposed to viewing it in isolation. Having taken a swipe at the `colonialists', the record has now been set straight.

There's nothing glossy about the book which boasts not a single illustration, not even a map. Going against the adage of pictures painting thousands of words Jim Perrin says you can convey so much more in writing than in pictures, mixes of description, history, hopes, fears and so on. The writer can direct the reader more specifically, creating a mental picture, forcing thought and contemplation as opposed to a quick flick through.

That sounded plausible but I also liked what the publisher (Dylan Williams of Gomer) said at the book launch. Not only was Jim's manuscript seven years late it was more than double the target wordcount. In parallel with the words, photos by Ray Wood had been commissioned and delivered but, with 65,000 words that were too good to be cut, there simply wasn't the room for them.

It's a very learned book, with many of those words being quotations from older texts or footnotes, and a `select bibliography' stretching to seven pages, but it's also very personal. Even the man who drove his Vauxhall Frontera to the summit (twice) gets a mention. This is followed by an admission of the author's `hoodlum' motorbike rides to reach the best climbing cliffs in time for an after work climb .... `It ill becomes old men like me, whose pasts will scarcely bear the weight of scrutiny, to grow sanctimonious'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What We Wanted 25 Oct 2013
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Although we have not fully read this book yet, it appears to be exactly what we wanted and is 'as described'.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very in-depth book 5 Feb 2013
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This book is quite 'heavy' by that I mean it is filled with an abundance of facts and history, as you would expect from the title. I found myself having to re-read many sections just to get the welsh pronunciations correct in my head. I found the footnotes to be excessive and intrusive which detracted from the reading flow.
There are no pictures in this book. I feel a few pictures would help readers who have been on the mountain relate parts of the text visually to where they have been. All in all a very factual book but a rather tedious read.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SNOWDON - THE HEART LAND OF WALES 15 Jan 2013
By seamus
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The author, Jim Perrin, grew up within the spell of this magnificent peak, the highest in ancient Eryry, and also in the whole of Britain south of the Scottish Highlands. I grew up sixty miles away, but came to walk across it many times in my youth. Jim stands us in the one-time estuary of Afon Glaslyn, before the drainage schemes of the late eighteenth century 'the mountains' mirror', and presents to us the beauty and symmetry of its 'architecture', its summit a wonderful pyramid against the northern sky behind it, especially when covered in snow and lit by the sun. Supporting the peak are the four great buttress ridges where he leads our imagination on so many great rock climbs.

But this is much more than a climber's book; it is about a mountain wreathed in mystery, surrounded by legends, peopled by ancient people, and the old Welsh language still spoken by sixty percent of the surrounding countryside. He is sceptical of the young English 'pioneers' who arrogantly claimed the 'first rock climbs' in the early twentieth century, guided as they were by local shepherds who, with their ancestors, had been the real pioneer cragsmen of the mountain. Jim also takes us through the important botanical history of this now isolated post-glacial landscape, as well as outlining its fascinating geological past. The long imprint of human habitation and endeavour, ancient and modern, is outlined very well, up to the coming of the modern tourist and holiday climber.

The book is a biography of the mountain, and also the biography of one person's life-time relationship with it. It asks for careful reading, and I found an OS map useful in following the author's journeys.
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