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Mystery, Beauty, and Danger

The Literature of the Mountains and Mountain Climbing Published in English before 1946
By Robert H. Bates

Myster, Beauty, and danger

As a result of his pioneering climbs in Alaska and the Himalayas, from the 1930s and into the 1950s, Robert H. Bates is one of America's best known mountaineers. Less known perhaps is that he was an instructor of English at Phillips Exeter Academy for nearly four decades. His love of the mountains and of the language is combined in this unusual work devoted to the many authors who have celebrated mountains in poetry and prose.

A scholarly account, written as Bates doctoral thesis, this is also a vibrant volume illustrated with 24 images, both photographs and drawings, taken from the works he has surveyed. As Terry Gifford, Director of the International Festival of Mountaineering Literature, states in the forward, "It remains the most thorough and readable introduction to the literature of our sport before 1946 that has been written."

Bob Bates received a standing ovation at the 13th International Festival of Mountaineering Literature in 1999, the first in the Festival's history, because his achievements in the sport and his generosity of spirit have earned him immense respect. His gentle voice shines throughout this literary evaluation and invites the reader to come and explore the lore of the mountains.

Readers' Comments:

"An extraordinary, as well as a scholarly account of mountaineering writing and mountaineers from the dragons of 17th century Scheuchzer, right up to the struggles, triumphs, and tragedies on 20th century Everest. This book is virtually required reading for everyone interested in any aspect of mountains." -- Bradford Washburn, Honorary Director, Boston Museum of Science.
"This is a great book! ... The text passages which are quoted show the character of each writer and were selected with the dedication of a "died-in-the-wool explorer" who penetrated into the spirit of an unknown place or a hidden mind." -- Kurt Diemberger, Mountaineer, Film-maker, Author, Bologna, Italy.
"If you want to tackle the delightful challenge of alpine literature, get your beta from Bates. ... Take this on your next expedition and you will return wiser if not successful when the weather socks you in." -- Nick Clinch, Mountaineer, Expedition Leader, Author. Palo Alto, California

About the Author

For nearly 70 years, Robert H. Bates has been recognized for his ability as a mountain climber and for his contributions to the sport of mountaineering. He pioneered climbs in Alaska and the Himalayas, and designed and tested cold weather clothing and equipment for the Army during World War II. He made two serious attempts to climb K2, the second of which has become one of the most remarkable stories in the annals of mountaineering. He is co-author and editor of two books on his K2 climbs and in 1994, wrote his mountaineering and traveling autobiography, The Love of Mountains is Best. He is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard, and University of Philadelphia. He taught at Phillips Exeter Academy for several years. He and his wife Gail live in Exeter, New Hampshire.

Nonfiction. $40.00, 7" x 10", photographs, 230 pages, Hardcover, ISBN 0-914339-91-5

Contact Information

Please proceed to Chessler Books to purchase this book.


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