19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars
Disappointing, 29 Jun 2011
As someone who has travelled and climbed extensively in the Andes I bought this book expecting it to be a really good read, but having just finished it I was generally disappointed. The book does have some good features, with plenty of historical information about Bolivar and Humboldt, but I found so many mistakes in the areas about which I am knowledgeable that I don't know if I can trust the other stuff that I read.
Many of these mistakes seem to be due to poor editing and proof-reading (use a spell checker!) but some are also fundamental errors of knowledge on the part of the author. For example the recurrent mispellings of "Telhuelche" and "Macchu Picchu" as well as many others, dropped words from sentences mucking up the grammar and the volcano Lanin, mysteriously renamed "Lican". The author completely confuses the peaks of Cerro Fitzroy and Cerro Torre - referring to Fitzroy as "the tower" and attributing Maestri's infamous ascent of Cerro Torre to Fitzroy. These are just a few examples, there appeared to be an error of some sort or another on every other page. The authors "English legions" who helped Bolivar at the Battle of Boyaca were actually British legions, with the majority of their commanders being Irishmen.!
Overall I felt the book was not one of the more interesting "travel" books I have read either. For me there was too much ruminating about long ago hisorical events. Also there seemed to be a lot of meetings with influential people and free stays in up-market hotels and too few meetings with really interesting people in real places. The fact that 80% of the book covers just the northern 40% of the Andes seemed a bit strange as well. There are lots of interesting people and places in Chile and Argentina as well.