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Unjustifiable Risk?: The Story of British Climbing

By: Simon Thompson

Cicerone Press

Paperback | Mar 2012 | Edition: 2 | #195568 | ISBN-13: 9781852846794
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £9.99 $13/€11 approx

About this book

To an impartial observer, Britain does not appear to have any mountains. Yet the British invented the sport of mountain climbing and for two periods in history British climbers led the world in the pursuit of this beautiful and dangerous obsession. "Unjustifiable Risk?" is the story of the social, economic and cultural conditions that gave rise to the sport, and the achievements and motives of the scientists and poets, parsons and anarchists, villains and judges, ascetics and drunks that have shaped its development over the past two hundred years.

Climbing has both reflected and influenced changing social attitudes to nature and beauty, heroism and death. Over the years, increasing wealth, leisure and mobility have gradually transformed the sport from an activity undertaken by an eccentric and privileged minority into a popular part of the leisure and tourist industry. But while much has changed, even more has remained the same. Today's climbers would be instantly recognisable to their Victorian predecessors, with their desire to escape from the crowded complexity of urban life, and willingness to take potentially unjustifiable risks in pursuit of beauty, adventure and self-fulfilment.


Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Before 1854: In Search of the Sublime
Chapter 3 1854-65: A Conscious Divinity
Chapter 4 1865-1914: Gentlemen and Gymnasts
Chapter 5 1914-39: Organised Cowardice
Chapter 6 1939-70: Hard Men in an Affluent Society
Chapter 7 After 1970: Reinventing the Impossible
Chapter 8 Because it's there?

List of Photographs

Appendix I A Note on Grades
Appendix II Glossary of Climbing Terms

Selected Bibliography

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