Find Your Way Home--Bestselling Sat NavsPlan ahead and avoid traffic jams with one of our bestselling sat navs from top brands including TomTom and Garmin. We also stock a great range of up-to-date and fully-routable maps for your device, including popular destinations such as France, Portugal, North America and Scotland.
Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination Hardcover – 8 May 2003
Special Offers and Product Promotions
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Robert Macfarlane's Mountains of the Mind is the most interesting of the crop of books published to mark the 50th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Everest. Macfarlane is both a mountaineer and a scholar. Consequently we get more than just a chronicle of climbs. He interweaves accounts of his own adventurous ascents with those of pioneers such as George Mallory, and in with an erudite discussion of how mountains became such a preoccupation for the modern western imagination.
The book is organised around a series of features of mountaineering--glaciers, summits, unknown ranges--and each chapter explores the scientific, artistic and cultural discoveries and fashions that accompanied exploration. The contributions of assorted geologists, romantic poets, landscape artists, entrepreneurs, gallant amateurs and military cartographers are described with perceptive clarity. The book climaxes with an account of Mallory's fateful ascent on Everest in 1924, one of the most famous instances of an obsessive pursuit. Macfarlane is well-placed to describe it since it is one he shares.
MacFarlane's own stories of perilous treks and assaults in the Alps, the Cairngorms and the Tian Shan mountains between China and Kazakhstan are compelling. Readers who enjoyed Francis Spufford's masterly I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination will enjoy Mountains of the Mind. This is a slighter volume than Spufford's and it loses in depth what it gains in range, but for an insight into the moody, male world of mountaineering past and present it is invaluable. --Miles Taylor
'A seriously good book' -- P.J. Kavanagh, The Spectator
'An imaginative, original essay in cultural history - a book that evokes as well as investigates the fear and wonder of high places' -- William Fiennes
'He is an engaging writer, his commentary, always crisp and relevant, leavened by personal experience beautifully related -- Observer
'He writes with tremendous maturity, elegance and control. A powerful debut, a remarkable blend of passion and scholarship -- Evening Standard
'The sort of book that restores confidence in the travel genre. Erudite, full of information and charged with passion' -- Robyn Davidson
A distinguished book that jolted my heart. Adventurous, passionate, intensely romantic...fizzes with insights into the sublime madness of mountaineering -- Roger Deakin
An impressive first book -- John Carey, Sunday Times
Extremely elegant and compelling a book which comes very much from the heart, and is informed throughout by Macfarlanes own passion' -- Sunday Telegraph
If you have ever wondered why people climb mountains, then here is your answer. A brilliant book,beautifully written -- Fergus Fleming
Vivid and original...Intelligent without being academic, the writing contains many pleasures, and made me want to be out there again in snow, wind and rain -- Andrew Greig
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
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.
The other great book that readers either love or hate becauise of its literary and philosophical references and explorations is Peter Hillary's surprisingly brilliant IN THE GHOST COUNTRY (written with philosopher and poet John Elder). It goes even further than MOUNTAIN OF THE MIND by adopting a powerful and sometimes intimidating language of myth and dreams to articulate powerfully the psychological and emotional frailties and motivations of men driven to the edge. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Macfarlane traces western man's fascination with mountains, charting the history of mountains and of the men and women who sought to conquer them. The book is worth the cost alone for the description of Mallory's three expeditions to Everest, here portrayed as a love affair that completes take over his life with disastrous consequences.
But this is more than just a history. This is an examination of fascination and obsession, a journey through the mountains of the imagination.
For anyone who walks or climbs in mountains this book is as Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust: a history of walking.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well accepted as an interesting book for a present.... very well received.Published 25 days ago by Nanqueen
Robert Macfarlane's writing is captivating and entrancing. This book held my full attention during a recent transatlantic flight and I could not even give into the nagging jetlag... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Why would I ever read a book on mountaineering? Because its written by Robert Macfarlane, poetic and lyrical; words are like silky water in his handsPublished 7 months ago by Laura Martin
Read this in the Alps. It made sense of what was around me.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love the mountains and thought this book would engage with me, but I actually found this to be a bit waffley and wanted the author to get to the point. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Overrated I'm afraid. Interesting concepts but a lot of description and repetition and the poetic language didn't make up for a lack of real substance in exploring the concepts,... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Southern Nomad