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The Mountaineers Books Climbing & Mountaineering:

Price: £4.24 - £101.73
  • Made by: The Mountaineers Books
  • Model number: 100248

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  • Date first available at 15 Aug 2010
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Sn Cottam on 17 Feb 2002
Format: Hardcover
Joe Simpson, author of four thoughtful and highly praised mountaineering books returns to print, older and mindful of the effects mountaineering has had on himself and his friends. At the beginning of the book he is soberly considering giving up the sport given the personal cost (multiple serious injuries) and the cost to others (losing an average of one friend per year killed on the mountains). As Simpson himself points out it you keep putting your head in the lion's mouth, however good or skilled or lucky you believe yourself to be, sooner or later he will shut it. Simpson's tales from past climbs (including the tragedy of a friend who gave up mountaineering only to be killed after taking up paragliding) his agonising over the rising death toll, the camaradie and resourcefulness of mountaineers and the personal considerations of what he will do next, form the first half of the book.
The second half tells the tale of an attempt on the North Face of the Eiger, a nearly 2 mile height of sheer rock and ice, doing this classic alpine route is to be Simpson's valedectory to climbing. In this he tells superbly the story of the mountain and the many (often tragic) stories of previous attempts followed by his own attempt. The sheer terror of the storm that breaks during the ascent and the tragedy that ensues when two (possibly three) other climbers are killed is evoked in moving but clear and gripping prose.
Simpson writes wonderfully about mountains and those who seek to conquer them. Even if (like me) you have never climbed a mountain in your life and don't intend to, read Joe Simpson for his marvellous descriptions, his superb prose and his evocation of life at the literal edge - physically and psychologically.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Simon on 28 Dec 2002
Format: Hardcover
I shall not try to review this book because this has been more than adequately covered by others on this website. I would rather explain to you my reactions to reading the book:-
I was first introduced to Joe Simpson when I was given a copy of Touching the Void as a talking book. The raw excitement and danger made me eager for more of the same. As a non-climber, I was aware of the North Face of The Eiger as a challenging climb – but remained otherwise uninformed. And so, I turned to The Beckoning Silence merely as an interesting and hopefully exciting read. I didn’t expect that this would be the only book that I have ever read and then immediately re-read .
Joe Simpson has a way of telling his story that is effortless to the reader – the text is plainly worded but this does not detract from his powers of description. Mr Simpson has taken a good story and interwoven it with tales of other climbers and the incidents of friends and acquaintances in such a way to produce a superb read. The section of the book where Joe and his friend Ray start to climb the Eiger was absolutely gripping – the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet were sweating with the vicarious thrill.
Much of the book is spent describing the dangers of climbing and examining where the acceptable danger threshold is. As one who has taken part in dangerous sports, I have asked myself many of the same questions – and resolved them at an earlier age. At the end of the book, I remained unconvinced that Joe was ready to hang up his climbing gear – and am hopeful that there is another climbing book or two in him yet.
The selection of the photos used in this book amplifies the interest in it. Each and every one of the pictures is relevant to the text and is part of the story – I returned time and time again to view each one in turn.
A great adventure book that will remain on my bookshelf: Read it soon.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Al on 6 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback
"I often wondered if these heroes of mine ever climbed with quite such a baggage of fears and dark terrors as I did."
Joe Simpson is the writer who let out the secret - all your climbing heroes get scared. Fear can make a climber turn back well before they have even reached the mountain, let alone half-way up a crumbling ice climb. But there are real dangers, of falls, storms and avalanche, that each year seem to kill more of Simpson's friends. Here, the fear and the deaths have almost stopped him mountaineering, but there's one last climb he has to do - the North Face of the Eiger.
It's a book that won't satisfy everyone, as Simpson often seems to spend far more time thinking about climbing that actually doing it, and in the first half he gets nowhere near that north face, instead taking us through another few years of an autobiography that started with "This Game of Ghosts". But really, no one does do climbing books as well as Joe Simpson with his black humour, honesty and insight, and this is something of a masterclass. He can even sneak in a pretty good history of climbing on the Eiger, while psyching himself up for the climb, that quickly dismisses any worry that he might just be doing a little padding out. Of course, the original and best book on the Eiger is Heinrich Harrer's "The White Spider", and Joe Simpson has already had a pretty good go at writing the best climbing book of all time in "Touching the Void". This one is never going to quite match up, but that doesn't stop it being thought-provoking, gripping, compulsory reading for anyone interested in the mountains.
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