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Well, having finally got round to reading Mountains of the Mind, I wasn't left disappointed and never have been by any of Robert Macfarlane's works. This one is written in typical Macfarlane style. The sub title of the book is 'A History of a Fascination' and that is very much what it is, a history of humankind's fascination with mountainous areas. It is of course much more than a history, containing many interesting facts about individuals and their idiosyncratic behaviors adventures and discoveries, geological interest and information about the authors own treks into the mountains. The prose is wonderful and especially so when describing wilderness and mountainous areas. The chapter concerning George Mallory's failed attempts on Everest is especially good and brings the book to a fascinating climax. The reader can decide if Mallory was a selfish adventurer or as legend has it, a heroic explorer.
Although I have always enjoyed fell walking I am no mountaineer, and I tend to frown upon some of the risk takers, but I did find that this book helped me understand better why so many are tempted to the heights. Great read, and I look forward to receiving Robert Macfarlane's next book, out soon.
If you have any kind of affinity with mountains, if you're a hillwalker, an armchair mountaineer, or just someone who loves good writing, you ought to read this. Macfarlane writes beautifully, he researches wonderfully, and he has created a book that will resonate deeply with anyone who climbs mountains for any reason. But it will provide fascinating insights for anyone else who wonders why anyone would do something so pointless. One of the most beautiful things I've ever read.
This Christmas I have 'discovered' Robert's books, and they are a real delight. Several copies have gone as presents to family, and I hope they will find them as magical as I have. Surely each of these titles, and there are several, will become a Classic - there is so much beauty in the ideas and in the language used to express them.
This is a brilliant read for anyone intrigued by the pschological pull of mountains. It's beautifully written, in a style that feels comfortable, like you're sat by the fire in your favorite pub, well fed and content, listening to an engaging, nuanced and intelligent raconteur. One of those books you'd read again.
A beautiful and elegantly written book, discussing physical and emotional challenges and consequent dangers of extreme heights, freezing temperatures and wind on mountains . Yet at the same time they are a source of beauty. This is a Description of Man’s ability to be gripped by a fascination. Such a treat.