20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Villain and a Hero, 7 Mar. 2005
I loved this book.
It tells the story of a complex character using sources unavailable to previous writers. It is obviously written by a friend, but all the warts are here. And there are a lot of warts. Some of the legends are rightly debunked. Whillans was a loving husband, made heroic rescues and a droll speaker. He was also racist, a crude womaniser and a thug. He was also a quite wonderful climber. Whether he was better than the universally liked and admired Joe Brown is a point that is perhaps over done. They were both climbers of real genius.
I especially liked the footnotes. And there are a lot. Sometimes they were insightful. The author's first meeting with Whillans in a pub resulted in an invitation to 'step outside' (an invitation wisely turned down). Sometimes you wonder why the footnote is in the book at all. There is a short piece about the demise of the British Motorcycle industry. But they are always interesting.
Buy it, read it and enjoy it.