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A splendid scholarly book, full of information about the topographical development and the explorers, but for the general reader it is all very tiresome and tedious, having far too many details. I had to give up after 50 pages, but the the fault was with me, not having the necessary understanding. I had hoped there would have been more details of the people who lived in a very difficult climate - how the monks lived, for example, but there were no such detials. I obviously bought the wrong book.
If you are looking for a breezy travelogue to skip through this is not the book for you. It is a detailed, impressively researched work of huge merit. For those happy to go deeply into the history of the Himalaya, the history of those who have lived, loved, worshipped, rankled and traded there, this is a work that is richly absorbing and fascinating. Ed Douglas writes attractively and the whole work has a spirit of clarity and objectivity, rather than tendentious posturing or point scoring. A pleasing purchase, highly recommended.
The sweep and detail of this book are impressive, and must have involved a prodigious amount of research. It's a little dry at times, but if there's anything you wanted to know about the Himalaya region, its history and its people, then it's surely to be found here in this book.
There are a good many photographs of people associated with the Himalaya, but surprisingly few of the places and mountains themselves, almost to the extent that the Himalaya become the elephant in the room within their own story. One feels that either the author or the publishers wanted to avoid this appearing to be a coffee-table book. But this is a pity, and a lost opportunity. The cover has a stunning photo of the Tiger's Nest Temple in Bhutan, and a few more images like this in the book itself would have immensely improved its appeal and served to remind us why this extraordinary region has had such a unique hold on our imaginations throughout the centuries.
Possibly best regarded as a reference book rather than a cover-to-cover read, but highly recommended nonetheless.
A compelling read; vast in scope and interest. A book long in the making and studiously written. Perhaps best read as a series of chapters rather than as a full text. Some minor concerns, some chapter titles needed better signposting and accuracy e.g. Chapter on 'Everest diplomacy' is only occasionally about Everest. Re page 419, details on Maurice Wilson might need amended in light of Ed Caesar's recent book on Wilson, see page 66 of this text in particular.