Book review entries

January 03, 2008

The White Spider

Title:
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

This book I found truly fascinating. It starts with an introduction from Joe Simpson (author of "Touching the void"), and carriers on into the first section about the history of the north face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps, of which this book is about.

I liked this book because it gave me an insight into the mind of a true mountaineer. I say mountaineer, what I really mean is mountaineers, my point is that they all seem to follow a similar mentality as described by Harrer. Shear determination is sort of the theme throughout the book which is portrayed by the endless list of personallities described throughout it. 

I have only rated this book mid-range because I feel it was a bit long winded. Without the detailed descriptions of almost every climb, or attempted climb, on the face, I can't imagine the book being as intriguing as it was to read. However, this aspect of the read did make it rather tedious at points and I have to say quite monotonous. Still, a few adventures recounted in the book are simply gripping, and has one literally sitting on the edge of a seat, reading as fast as possible to discover the fate, and sometimes tragic ones at that, of some of the bravest people to have ever lived. 

Not only does this book recount numerous accidents and such like, it also details from time to time the mentality of the climbers involved. This is the part I enjoyed the most; trying to understand the motivation behind such feats. At first I thought such a motivation was quite simple to understand, but after reading this book I now realise there is a lot more to climbing at this level, than pure exploration.

Overall a great read, I would recommend it to anyone who is into climbing or outdoor pursuits, or even those who enjoy reading about interesting people.


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