ISBN 10: 1862074534 / ISBN 13: 9781862074538
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Inhaltsangabe: Full of eccentric characters, "Killing Dragons" is the story of the first British mountaineers to tackle the Alpine summits of Switzerland during the late 18th century. Originally the explorers of this area were poorly equipped, wearing ordinary shoes and no protective clothing. The British arrived intent on reaching every Alpine summit, and "mountaineering" was born. The title refers to the legend of dragons inhabiting these peaks: "here be dragons", quoted the old maps.

Review: In antiquity, travelers did not enter the Alps gladly. One Roman noted that "everything in the mountains is frozen solid," while St. Ambrose, after seeing his first glacier, feared that the world would end by being suffocated in ice; heeding them, voyagers took the long way around whenever they could.

All that changed in the 1800s, writes Fergus Fleming in this highly entertaining chronicle, when travelers under the spell of Enlightenment philosophers and Romantic poets came to the Alps looking for a hint of heaven on earth. Those who, for many reasons, wanted to get a little closer to the deity attempted the first recreational climbs of the mountains. They were an odd lot, indeed. One was Albert Smith, who burdened his porters with wheels of cheese and casks of wine, made his way up Mont Blanc, had a feast, and turned his adventures into a stage play that wowed London audiences throughout the 1850s. Another was the natural scientist John Tyndall, who regarded the Alps as the devil's work but nonetheless raced against his compatriot Edward Whymper to climb the Matterhorn. Still another was William Coolidge, an American-born Oxford don who made Whymper's already unhappy life just a little less pleasant.

Fleming writes winningly of their "conquest" of the mountains--which, of course, has not kept succeeding generations from attempting new routes up the Alps with every climbing season. Mountaineering buffs and armchair travelers alike will enjoy his account. --Gregory McNamee

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Fergus Fleming
Verlag: Granta Books Aug 2001 (2001)
ISBN 10: 1862074534 ISBN 13: 9781862074538
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Buchbeschreibung Granta Books Aug 2001, 2001. Taschenbuch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - 'Killing Dragons' is the story of the first British mountaineers to tackle the Alpine summits of Switzerland during the late 18th century, originally quite poorly equipped. The title of dragons refers to the legendary creatures of these parts. 400 pp. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 9781862074538

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