100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant; philosophy meets poetry,
This review is from: Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination (Hardcover)
I came on line to write an independent review of this brilliant book, but then I saw the review by the reader from Fort William, and it made me rethink what I was going to say. First of all, it's important to say that this is top-class book; a totally new kind of writing about mountains. Second off, it's not just a book about mountains, but about how history works, why people behave the way they do towards different types of landscapes, how we think the world into being, and what issues like guilt, love and betrayal mean when looked at in historical and not just individual terms. in many ways, this is a book of philosophy and poetry, rather than a history of mountaineering, which is perhaps why some people - including the reviewer from Fort William - have been disappointed. It's obvious that Macfarlne isn't a top-drawer climber; he never says that he is in the book, and anyone who knows anything about serious mountaineering could tell he's not. So there's no secret, or misdescription there. The point is, I think, that eveyrone who goes to the mountains goes to them because, in some sense, they love the way they look, and so this book does answer the big WHY question.
This is all a bit jumbled. But, in conclusion: this is a very special book, in the tradition of writers like Bruce Chatwin and Barry Lopez in the way it works simultaneously with adventures and ideas, and in the way it thinks about the wild, physical world. READ IT if you love history, language or, indeed, mountains.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Sep 2008 10:11:20 BDT
Excellent, clear and useful review - thankyou for taking the trouble
Posted on 10 Dec 2008 21:38:15 GMT
Second that, word for word!
Posted on 12 Feb 2013 23:23:06 GMT
Love his poetic voice
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Feb 2013 23:26:34 GMT
What's with the male mountain comment,a female poetic voice switched me onto this book
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