The Mountains of My Life (Modern Library Exploration)

Bonatti, Walter

Published by Modern Library
ISBN 10: 037575640X / ISBN 13: 9780375756405
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Synopsis: Published for the first time in English, The Mountains of My Life collects the classic writings of world-famous mountaineer Walter Bonatti, and tells the real story of the 1954 controversy over the events on K2 that changed his life.

Bonatti is one of the greatest mountaineers of all time, a man who continually reset the benchmark of human possibility by ascending routes that others dared not even contemplate. He climbed with an audacity and panache that epitomized the purest spirit of alpinism, and inspired an entire generation of climbers. Jon Krakauer calls him one of my heroes. He is not only a mountaineer of astonishing talent and vision, but one of the world's most engaging writers about mountaineering.

Bonatti has also been dogged by controversy and often been at odds with the climbing community. The Mountains of My Life not only collects the best of Bonatti's writing telling of adventures in the Alps, the Himalayas, and little-known South American peaks it also tells Bonatti's version of what really happened on the Italian expedition that made the first ascent of K2 in 1954. Bonatti's selfless actions helped avert disaster, yet in the expedition's aftermath he found himself cast as a scapegoat. Part detective story, part hair-raising adventure, part meditation on his craft, The Mountains of My Life is as awe-inspiring and controversial as its author, and is beautifully illustrated with Bonatti's own photos.

Review: Walter Bonatti had been scaling mountains for only a few years when, in 1954, he qualified to join an expedition of fellow Italian alpinists making the first ascent of the forbidding Himalayan peak called K2. There, for reasons that are unclear, the 24-year-old ran afoul of senior members of the team, who accused him of turning back before delivering needed oxygen to them below the summit. Accusations and counteraccusations flew, followed by a libel trial from which Bonatti emerged victorious but ostracized. He went on to bag a few peaks, retired from "extreme" climbing in 1965, and became an accomplished explorer and photojournalist, writing memoirs of his earlier expeditions to mountains on nearly every continent that earned a small but devoted following.

In The Mountains of My Life, translator and editor Robert Marshall gathers those scattered accounts of ascents in the Alps, the Patagonian Andes, the Himalayas, and elsewhere. In his commentary, he describes and defends Bonatti's actions on K2, which, he insists, made it possible for the Italian team to reach the summit. The evidence he offers--including photographs--is convincing. For his part, Bonatti writes that all the mountains he has climbed, "with all the trials they brought me, are a precious, living part of myself." His book will be of interest to anyone who shares that passion for the world's high places. --Gregory McNamee

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Title: The Mountains of My Life (Modern Library ...
Publisher: Modern Library
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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Book Description Modern Library, New York, 2001. Soft Cover. Book Condition: F-. First English. 8vo. original printed paper wraps (a little rubbed & creased); pp. xxxviii, 450 (last blank), with illustrations. A near fine copy. The first English translation of 'Montagne di una vita', published in Italian in 1998. Bookseller Inventory # 014056

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