Friday, December 5, 2008

Alpine Americas - A Review

Mountains have always been in my blood. I was born in the Canadian Rockies and lived there until we moved to the hilly (but not mountainous) Albertan North when I was almost 12 years old. It took my family a long time to get used to our new surroundings because we all loved the mountains. Being in the mountains really influenced our lifestyle as evidenced by the fact that I had learned to downhill ski shortly after I learned to walk. So, when I was given the chance to review a book about mountains...especially North American mountains...I jumped at the chance.

Here's the description I took off Amazon (in italics):
ALPINE AMERICAS by Olaf Sööt and Don Mellor: Alpine Americas is a mountaineer's tour of the 10,000 mile range of peaks from the Arctic to Patagonia. The book combines stunning mountain photography with elegant text that explores the places from all perspectives -- geologic, historical, philosophical -- as it takes readers up the cold wind-swept ridges of Denali or down into the cauldron of a smoking Mexican volcano. The large, oversized format combines magical photographs with inspirational words, making this work a celebration of the western world's majestic high places.
Each mountain grouping is a different chapter. Each chapter focuses on a single element of what the place means to us. Brooks range in the Arctic, it's all about tranquility and the reassurance of seasonal patterns. Way to the South, in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, it's the chaos and conflict of the natural elements -- angry winds and big weather -- as the jagged landscape thrusts upward from the cold salt sea.

Don Mellor's inspirational words and Olaf Sööt's magical photographs, Alpine Americas is the celebration of the western world's majestic high places.
As for what I thought:

This is a stunning book with some spectacular pictures. When I received the large, oversized book, I thought, "Great! I'll skim this and be done it in a few minutes." However, as I began reading the essays by Don Mellor, I was drawn in and read every single word in this book. His writing was compelling and interesting as he touched on the history of each region, the geological forces behind each mountain range and the climbing experiences one might feel. You could tell he loves his subject and I was pulled right in. It was fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. Coupled with pictures that really captured the beauty and majesty of North America's highest places, this was a read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

And being that Christmas is coming up quickly, Alpine Americas would make a fantastic gift for someone who loves mountains or climbing or just plain natural beauty.

This book was provided to me for an impartial review


  1. wow. i bet these were great pictures!!! i am impressed by your skiing since right after walking. i still have never been.

    how did you get the chance to review a book???

  2. I'm so proud of you... you are doing book reviews!!! YAY!!!

    I hope you are feeling emotionally ok today... I have just read your past 4 posts... sorry I've been immersed in sick kiddos. You feel free to email me anytime and vent!

    I sent your book today :)

    love you

  3. This reminds me that I still need to do a book review for the same place. Good review Amanda!