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Anatoli Boukreev was (with G. Weston DeWalt) coauthor of The Climb and a world-renowned high-altitude mountaineer. Twenty-one times he reached the summit of the world's highest mountains. For his heroic actions on Mount Everest in May 1996, he was awarded the American Alpine Club's highest honor, the David A. Sowles Memorial Award. Linda Wylie was Anatoli Boukreev's companion and is now executor of his estate.
Born in Mayak, Russia, in 1958, Boukreev became one of the world's greatest mountain climbers. But while his accomplishments included 21 ascents of 11 of the world's 14 highest mountains, Boukreev became known to the general public only after his work as a guide on a disastrous Mt. Everest climb was described in less than glowing terms in Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. Boukreev's coauthored bestselling account of the tragedy, The Climb, was an attempt to set the record straight. This new posthumous collection is a series of narratives Boukreev wrote between 1987 and his death climbing Annapurna in 1997; it stands as an excellent addition to The Climb and as one of the most revealing and tough-minded descriptions of the life of a mountain climber. Three themes dominate the essays: the spiritual beauty and power of the mountains, the increasing commercialization of mountain climbing and the necessity for rigorous training by people (pros and newcomers alike) who want to climb the big mountains. The accounts collected and edited by his companion Linda Wylie capture Boukreev's thoughts during an often troubled period: by 1989, at the height of his powers, Boukreev had received the highest sports honors in Soviet history, but when the Soviet Union collapsed, Boukreev was forced to move to America, where he made his living as a guide for wealthy patrons on private climbing adventures including the terrible Mt. Everest trip, which haunted him until he died. 32 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 16) Forecast: The bestselling status of Boukreev's first book as well as continuing interest in the 1996 attempt to climb Mt. Everest should promise sizable, serious readership. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Readers familiar with the 1996 Everest disaster will likely remember Boukreev as the Russian climber vilified by Jon Krakauer in Into Thin Air (LJ 4/1/97). Boukreev responded later that year with his version of the accident in his best-selling The Climb (LJ 11/1/97), coauthored by G. Weston DeWalt. Although somewhat hindered by his lack of English skills, Boukreev managed to create a large and dedicated circle of friends in the United States and elsewhere. In December 1997, he was killed in an avalanche while attempting a winter ascent of Annapurna. These narratives, originally written in Russian and collected and edited by his partner Linda Wylie, offer a look into the exclusive and dangerous world of high-altitude mountaineering and the unique training methods formerly practiced in the Soviet Union. One recurring theme is Boukreev's near-constant struggle to raise the large funds needed for expeditions when government funding dried up virtually overnight after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This work makes a nice companion piece to The Climb and contains a thoughtful, well-written foreword by climbing photographer Galen Rowell. Recommended for all mountaineering and larger public collections. Tim Markus, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.