Top critical review
4 of 4 people found this helpful
not up to AW's standards
on 19 May 2013
i'm not saying don't buy this but...
This is an odd, almost redundant collection of lists and footnotes of footnotes, and i mean that in the nicest sense because for some AW-trainspotters this book will be a goldmine of pub conversation starters. However, for your average punter this is simply overload and not a well presented one at that. I am classing myself as average in that i have the set of Guides use them on and off piste to plan walks and support modern mapping, but i don't have an encylopedic memory of what fell is in what book, where the major watersheds are and the names of the major tarns (and so on!)
This is the first of the two main issues because by the time this book could be a stand-alone companion much of the content may be useless/duplicate to you... it's nice that someone else has written it down, but you probably know all this stuff anyway. For us mere mortals we need to sit with the stack of guides and the maps to make sense of the often oddly set-out lists of heights and steepness; so that it becomes less of a Companion and more of a technical appendix, especially if you are considering the Fells as a Mastermind specialist subject.
Secondly, the compainion is just not up to the same standards as the Guides. This book is cramped, has no logical structure and rambles on aimlessly in places. It has double-page spreads which needlessly break up chapters without notice and without hint of continuation of the chapter, and unlike AW has little or no internal referencing; there are often "(more on that later)" but no actual reference to where and in at least one instance this reference is not followed up. FRUSTRATING. I am not an expert on Mr Wainright, but i am not sure he would have produced this book in this way... or even at all. To me, part of the beauty of the Guides is their siple sparseness, plenty of room on the page and then clear indexing and references on to other parts of the book; you'll find none of that here and often the font size of their Waintright-script is made small in order to cram more in.
There are good bits though.
Often the interjections and seemingly unannounced asides are actually the most welcome (one place where the Companion mirrors the Guides) as this is new material in the style-off, these adds a welcome distraction from the dry glossary feel.
Finally the highlights are the start and end; personal reflections and opinion. Again, this is more of what made the guides so special.
Now i feel a little bit bad, i was bought this as a present and so it is a bit unkind to criticise, i am not saying don't buy this but...