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Not Without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire [Paperback]

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Item description for Not Without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire by Nicholas Howe...

These compelling profiles of 22 adventurousyet unluckyclimbers chronicle more than a century of exploration, recreation, and tragedy in New Hampshires Presidential Range.

Outline Review
Like a piece of granite chipped off a Presidential peak, veteran journalist Nicholas Howe's assessment of misadventure in New Hampshire's rugged mountains has a crisp, puritanical feel that fairly rasps New England. Take his description of the near-vertical (and now well-skied) slope that nearly killed Max Engelhart in 1926: "Tuckerman Ravine is a sort of twin to Huntington Ravine, a left-hand punch into the side of Mount Washington by the same primordial giant that made Huntington with his right." Underlying Not Without Peril is the not-so-subtle message that the Presidential Range, topping out at just over 6,000 feet, is as uncompromising as any other mountain range. After all, these mountains--named for Washington, Lincoln, Madison--are home to some of the most vicious weather recorded on the planet. Howe makes no judgment about those whose misfortunes he chronicles; there are tender moments that manage to stay faithful to a crusty Yankee sensibility, as in the tale of Lizzie Bourne, who died in a snowstorm while huddled in a makeshift lean-to. Howe quotes her uncle George: "She was dead--had uttered no complaint, expressed no regret or fear, but passed silently away." Such sober tales, scrupulously researched, tell the history of a mountain range and its climbers, some of whom are immortalized for their ill-fated treks. It's a gritty read, a touch morbid, but more than compensated for by sharp writing and compelling drama. --Tipton Blish

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Item Specifications...

Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2001
Publisher   Appalachian Mountain Club Books
ISBN  1929173067  
ISBN13  9781929173068  

Availability  0 units.

More About Nicholas Howe

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Nicholas Howe was Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Professor of English at The Ohio State University. He was the author of The Old English Catalogue Poems: A Study in Poetic Form, Migration, and Mythmaking in Anglo-Saxon England, Writing the Map of Anglo-Saxon England, and of the Yale Guide to Old English Literature.

Nicholas Howe currently resides in the state of Ohio. Nicholas Howe was born in 1953 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Ohio State University.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Sports > General
2Books > Subjects > Sports > Miscellaneous > History of Sports
3Books > Subjects > Sports > Mountaineering > General
4Books > Subjects > Sports > Mountaineering > Mountain Climbing
5Books > Subjects > Travel > United States > Regions > Northeast > New England
6Books > Subjects > Travel > United States > States > Maryland > Baltimore

Reviews - What do customers think about Not Without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire?

Similarities to Stories of Bigger Peaks  Aug 4, 2007
Those who say "If you know the area, you'll love this book" have a point. I answered "yes" to all of the questions in another review. In fact, I bought the book while in New Hampshire to receive my award for climbing all of the 4000-foot peaks, including Mt. Washington and its neighbors. I started it on the way back to Illinois, where I presently live, and my attention drifted a bit in the early chapters. But lately I've been reading it more intently, and the story near the end about Don Carr was worth the cost of the book. It bears a striking similarity to the tone of "Into Thin Air," John Krakauer's narrative of the 1996 tragedy on Everest. So many bad decisions by the hiker (and so many chances to change course)! The college-age crew and other rescue workers had to make hard decisions in short order, and acquitted themselves admirably.

The annotated maps are an asset, as another reviewer mentions.

If you're not interested in hiking or the White Mountains, and if you've never pushed on when perhaps you shouldn't have, you won't be interested in this book. And yes, there are run-on sentences and comma splices. But if you are at all interested in the subject matter, you've probably had to decide whether to continue a hike as conditions deteriorated. Most of us, most of the time, either make the right call or are lucky. The exceptions make for high drama, and that trumps perfect prose for me.
Not without Peril  Mar 16, 2007
Great book, full of history and mountaineering stories on one of the world's most dangerous mountain!
The Dangerous Presidentials  Feb 19, 2007
Nicholas Howe's "Not Without Peril" is a unique sort of travel book, in that his focus is on the hazards of travel instead of the benefits. Howe has done some extensive and fascinating research dating back to the 1840's, when people first started to travel voluntarily and for pleasure around Mount Washington in the magnificent Presidental Range in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This unique alpine landscape has been tempting travelors for over 150 years, but is also home to some of the most variable and sometimes dangerous weather conditions in New England.

Howe's narative details a stream of visitors who often exercised poor judgement in traveling too high, with too little equipment, under less than favorable weather conditions, and with insufficient knowledge of the terrain. The stories are a reminder that man is still a visitor to this mountain realm, only hours walking time from more civilized streets. Some of the stories end well, thanks to the efforts of rescuers; others end badly. The effect of the whole is to place what may seem like casual travel in proper context as an adventure "not without peril". Howe also manages to convey a sense of history about travel around the Presidentials, from the first travelors to the region on foot and horseback to more modern visitors who take advantage of the Mount Washington Auto Road or Cog Railroad.

This book is highly recommended as a set of cautionary tales for those who would explore the Presidential Range, and for those interested in mountaineering in New England.
Death on Mt. Washington  Sep 23, 2006
Not Without Peril details the deaths and mishaps that have claimed over a hundred lives of hikers on Mt. Washington and the surrounding Presidential Range Mountains.

I bought this book in the Mt. Washington Observatory bookstore at the top of the mountain - fresh from the thrilling views observed on the way up to the 4,000 foot level and the cold enveloping mist of the ever present fog at the peak (one wonders why so many flock to a mountain top whose view is obscured 300 out of 360 days a year on average - but the views on the lower levels are spectacular). And I have to agree with one reviewer who stated that this book will primarily be of interest to those who know the Presidential Range. I would add avid outdoors types to this list, also.

The author writes an interesting book about death and mayhem on the mountain. The chapters cover a hapless (nearly always) hiker or hiking party who met usually with death at the place billed as having the world's worst weather (and the highest ever recorded wind speed of 231 miles per hour). Mt. Washington is the convergence point for three jet streams and its altitude combined with location produces wild, cold, and snowy weather with high winds very consistently.

Most of those who died did so because they ignored warnings or were foolish in estimating their ability to survive in extreme weather or took very bad risks. That central theme runs through nearly all the stories. This book is in some ways a warning to those who would take risks in the outdoors - don't; and even if the weather reports are fine, be prepared with shelter and food and most importantly let others know your route. The writing is fine, though some of the stories picked are very short. The author also fills in the stories with the history of exploration of the mountain, its weather station and important personalities who have figured in rescue operations over the last century. There is one very interesting and contemporary case where a man was left to die near a shelter based on the judgment of the shelter manager and the perceived risk to rescuers with a night time rescue attempt. Although the author is sympathetic to the judgment of the shelter manager, I'm sure lots of people will continue to debate whether or not she made the correct call.

If you enjoy this book, I'd recommend another one just like it called "Death in the Grand Canyon." This is an enjoyable book that highlights the dangers of taking Mother Nature for granted on Mt. Washington.
An Enjoyable Read  Dec 14, 2005
I read this book while flying for business this fall. I found that about 80% of the stories interested me. Some of them seemed to be the same story repeated about people wandering in the snow. Other stories were much easier for me to visualize and to really become involved with.

I have hiked Mt. Washington from Pinkham Notch to the summit twice in the summer and I have skied Tuckerman Ravine twice. I would reccomend this book to anyone who has considered going on the mountain during the winter but has only spent similar low-risk time on the mountain like myself. It definitely makes you think twice about preparation if you are heading up into the whites, even in the late spring and early fall.

I took two major thoughts away from this book.

1. The danger of hiking in the Whites if you are not prepared. The White Mountains are a beautiful place that anyone who enjoys the outdoors would enjoy. You just need to be adequately prepared with the right equipment and sound judgement.

2. The history of the White Mountains, the AMC, and Joe Dodge. The focus of the book was clearly more on the dangers of hiking in the Whites; however, it was interesting to get a short history lesson about the first people to make the area more accessible for recreation.

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