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The Seven Mountain Travel Books Hardcover – 1 Dec 1997
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And it is also very sad to see that I am the only one on Amazon.co.uk who has actually written a review of this phenomenal work by The Master.
I have read many books, and seen documentaries, on Travel and Climbing - both humorous and nail biting but none, NONE can compare to this great work.
I have read many an adventure story and Fantasy novel and this trumps them all.
Major HW Tilman was a Great man, a man way beyond his time, and I have to say beyond us in the early 21st Century as well.
This book is a collection of his writings from 1919 to 1951 - from when he moved to East Africa and to his last journey into the Nepal Himalaya.
The books are brilliant, utterly brilliant. In their writing and scope, their witticisms and reflections. Major Tilman was a very erudite man, and a very funny man too, I laughed out loud on the Tube as I read his anecdotes and thoughts, and I grew to know the man, and to love him and his ways and learnt a great deal - everything from conservation to diet, to his death defying adventures and his attitudes towards foreign lands and people - all beyond our time.
Since reading this, I have visited Rakaposhi and The Hunza Valley and Barmouth (you can rent Bodowen - his old House )
And I am planning to visit Garwhal and to see nanda Devi myself.
As I neared the end of the books I felt pangs of sadness, as I wanted to much to share more of his adventures and brilliant story telling. A shame that trawling through the Internet reveals nothing, not one Documentary on this great man, no video, no interview, and even writing to ITV in regards a long forgotten doc that was made in the early 80ies - they replied by saying they no longer had in in their archives - lost.
If you want to know Major Tilman, read these books and follow by reading his Sailing books.
If you want to read about him, read Shipton and Tilman by Jim Perrin who writes a fantastic introduction to this book. Also read Fallen Giants by Maurice Isserman who tells the story of Shipton and Tilman with the respect they're both due.
I will write a proper review once my hangover has cleared - but until then, this collection is beyond anything by Colin Thubron or Ilija Trojanow, Paul Theroux or anyone else lauded and lionised in the media as a Great Travel Writer - his writing is simply better, more powerful and richer, and this man walked in places no human being had ever been to before, and that is something no one alive can claim on this Earth - Ranulph Fiennes isn't fit enough to tie Major Tilman's shoelaces, this is the level at which this man lived.
His adventures were like a mixture of Bruce parry and Lorne and Lawrence Blair, Bear Grylls and The Fellowship of The Ring with the Sherpa's he loved, and his writing is brilliant, flowing, funny, exciting and full of surprises and knowledge.
Major Tilman was also a very humble and reserved man and fame wasn't something he craved - which makes him even Greater in this age of celebrity.
Tilman was far more than merely an adventurer or mountaineer, he was much more than that.
Read this collection and marvel, laugh, smile, learn and let your mind wonder into the days of High Adventure.
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