THE SHISHAPANGMA EXPEDITION. By Doug Scott and Alex Maclntyre. Pp. 322, 50 illustrations, 2 maps, 1984. (Granada Publishing, London, £ 12.95).

The story of the sixth ascent in 1982 of Shishapangma (Xixa-bangma according to the Chinese) or Gosainthan as it used to be known, by a bold new line on the South West face, achieved in true alpine style-that is, without any previous preparation of the route-seems to have perfected a writing style which, though not innovative, has allowed full play to the diversity of impressions and opinions held by each member of a heterogeneous group of six. Whilst Scott and Maclntyre share the major part of the writing, the others all have their say highlighting an often deep internal friction, and emphasising the underlying need on major expeditions for coherence and direction both individually and as a team. This inability (or unwillingness) to understand another's point of view, that has become part of the make-up of the modern 'hard' climber, was unfortunately extended to the party's relations with many of the Chinese officials with whom they came into contact. On account of the relatively much higher costs prevailing in China, a fundamental basis for disagreement with the Chinese was the party's need to economise; and given Scott's predilection for the lightweight style, clashes with an uncompromising bureaucracy were predictable-to the point where it was bluntly asserted that if the party hadn't enough money to follow the approved system, they had better go home. The lesson seems to be, do not go to China if you are unable to accept Chinese expedition rules. Alex Maclntyre always frank (or abrasive depending upon how you see it) carried his single-mindedness to the point where he and Roger Baxter Jones, as the two hard men, actually considered doing the final climb without Scott. In general, there was an oversupply of polemics, and mostly it was the more balanced and less selfish approach of Doug Scott that poured oil on troubled waters. As it was his exceptional stamina and wealth of experience that really counted when it came to the final climb. The bare facts about this expedition are that despite shortage of funds (it was only 24 hours before departure that its solvency was assured) despite frequent personality clashes, despite an organisation that could be described at best a laissez-faire, the party made (as a 'training' climb) the first ascent of Pungpa Ri 7444 m, a summit on the SW shoulder of Shishapangma, followed by a high quality mixed route on the 2600 m SW face of Shishapangma itself involving 3 bivouacs on the ascent and 1 on the descent, traversing the mountain, and taking 4 days for the entire trip

which was conducted throughout with extreme skill and in faultless style.

There are two well-designed maps. The photographs, black and white reproductions of colour transparencies, have been inserted into the text liberally illustrating the story, the advantages of this system almost outweighing the absence of high quality colour reproductions.

Doug Scott contributes well-researched appendices about the life of the Tibetan Yogi Milarepa, early European travels in Tibet, and a history of earlier expeditions to the region.

This book has been the first to receive the Boardman-Tasker Prize for mountain literature. The award was presented to Doug Scott in December 1984, at a small ceremony at the Alpine Club, London. Alex Maclntyre was killed by stonefall whilst attempting a new line on the South face of Annapurna four months after his return from Shishapangma.

Trevor Braham

RETURN TO TIBET. By Heinrich Harrer. Translated from the German by Ewald Osers. Pp. 184, illustrated, 1984. (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London £ 9.95.)

Since centuries, the land-locked and mountain-barred geography of Tibet, coupled with its policy of isolation, had ensured its aloofness from the rest of world. Even the twentieth century A.D. had left it largely untouched till, in October 1950, the Chinese attacked Tibet. An uneasy calm existed till March 1959, when a popular revolt surfaced, and to avoid bloodshed, the Dalai Lama left Lhasa for India, where he has lived thereafter in exile.

Peter Aufschnaiter and Heinrich Harrer where Austrian detainees in British India. They escaped to Tibet and Harrer lived there till March 1951. His experiences are told in his book, Seven Years In Tibet. In 1982 he was part of a tourist party which visited Tibet. This book, his second on Tibet, aims 'to show how many valuable cultural treasures have been lost and how important it is now to safeguard the individual character and homeland of a people who are fascinating in many respects, a people whose destiny is very close to my heart'.

On the first count, he is quite successful. Drawing on his personal experience as well on his impressive contacts among the Tibetan community, both in exile and in Tibet itself, he focuses attention to the mindless destruction of the legendary monasteries of Gaden, Shigatse and Gyanztse and several other monuments as well as the ideological and religious repression of the Tibetans. The monasteries that survive are used as a source of income by the Chinese. Dollar-laden tourists have to pay to enter a monastery and again to take photographs.

Harrer also emphasises that many of the improvements in Tibet under the Chinese are regarded by the Tibetans as dzuma or eyewash. Thus butter and meat are available in centres open to tourists but are scarce elsewhere. Concessions offered by the Chinese are regarded with suspicion because the memories of the sufferings inflicted by the Red Guards are still fresh. The author finds that, predictably, much has changed and several traditions have been discontinued but is reassured to find that certain religious practices are so ingrained in the Tibetan psyche, such as the circling of the Tsuglagphang, that they flourish even today. Veneration of the Dalai Lama still continues, even by a generation that has been born since his exile.

Harrer is realistic enough to admit that total independence seems distant for Tibet and hopes for it a status akin to that of Ukraine, Outer Mongolia or Bhutan. At the same time, one feels that he has not been honest in his professed aim of understanding rather than idealizing Tibetans. This is particularly so when he delves into the past and his connections with the personalities of yore. His views, for instance, on the Tsarong dynasty seem to reflect those of the erstwhile nobility alone. To confuse superstition with faith would today rightly be regarded as retrograde, and yet he brazenly mixes the two.

'I was hoping during my stay in Lhasa that something of that magic survived in Tibet, so that there would be one country left on earth where superstition would be the poetry of life, where there would be room for mysterious rites, where there would still be oracles, astrologers, miracle healers and mystics-not charlatans like Lobsang Rampa, but people with a genuine faith of the kind the Tibetans possess in such rich measure, the faith that truly moves mountains' (p. 32),

As for the Buddhist principle which forbids the taking of life, and for which he condemns the prevalence of fishing, one has only his own examples of dishes of Yak meat and momos to rebut him with. Even in the old days, Muslims used to be engaged as butchers in Lhasa so that meat would be available. Hypocrisy does not make one vegetarian.

The effectiveness of the rule of the Dalai Lama is also brought, perhaps inadvertently, into question. True, monks had then had the quiet needed to meditate, but could it be that this cocooning was a contributory factor to the subjugation of Tibet ? A Government that had forbidden the use of the wheel on religious grounds would, not unexpectedly, fail to solve it's transport problems. The use of a state oracle to decide matters of state is, to say the least, dubious. In Seven Years In Tibet, Harrer was shocked to see monks defecating in thousands in the open. No such unpleasant thoughts cloud his view now when he grieves over the tin-roofs and hutments in Lhasa. And what is one to make of statements as:

'The Dalai Lama will quite certainly be reborn, though probably not in Tibet, as the right conditions do not prevail there today' ? (p. 117)

Is reincarnation a matter of political expediency, then? Moreover, can the system of reincarnation have moral and legal sanction today ?

A few notable inaccuracies need mentioning. Tenzing and Smythe did not discover the * Valley of Flowers'. Generations of pilgrims to Hemkund, and presumably even those before them, knew of it. The King of Zanskar is a noteworthy whose creed has already been demolished1 and, no, the author need not have misgivings about being, possibly, 'the last person to get there (Zanskar) on horseback along rough tracks'. At times, Harrer rambles along, especially when he is name-dropping. Tenzing, Hillary, Herzog, Krishna Menon, Diemberger and others flit by and eventually adorn only the index.

The pessimistic Epilogue emphasizes, in my opinion, one major reality, viz. that Tibetan independence is a long way off and that if Tibet is to gain any measure of freedom, it will have to cease to be a vast museum and must live in the present in the minds of all men. Including Heinrich Harrer.

Muslim H. Contractor

A PICTORIAL GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT. By Salim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley and illustrated by John Henry Dick. Pp. 177, 106 illustrations, map, 1983. (Centenary Publication of the Bombay Natural History Society with Oxford University Press, New Delhi, Rs 120).

This Pictorial Guide was long overdue and a serious gap on ornithological book shelves has at last been filled. All persons, even mildly curious about the birds which flit in and out of their lives must immediately purchase a copy. Aft this price it is a bargain buy considering the quality of the book and the overall high standard of printing. As an investment, possessing this book would be a gold edged bond since we are not likely to have another book of this type published in the foreseeable future, at least never carrying the names of the authors and the illustrator, all three of whom evoke internationally great respect and admiration in the field of ornithology.

1. H.J. Vol. 37, Pp. 220-221. Book review of Zanskar, The Hidden Kingdom
The book includes an introduction containing a short history of popular ornithological publications, acknowledgements, and an explanation of the abbreviations used in the book, the indication marks and geographical terms. These must be carefully read as otherwise using the book in the field will be difficult. One page immediately after has an outline sketch of a sparrow indicating the plumage areas of a bird which every field worker must get familiar with for proper noting of salient identity marks. This is followed by a systematic Index of Families and Species in each Family. The numbering, serially on the left of each species links the book with the Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan, the comprehensive 10 volume reference publication containing information on the avifauna of the subcontinent which this pictorial Guide covers. On the left of each species is the number of the plate of the Guide on which it is illustrated.

Placing the birds in this systematic manner is very useful since most of our Indian birdwatchers fail to identify a bird on first glance as to the family it belongs and therefore tend to get confused as they thumb through the illustrations. In our area we have 79 families as against over 1200 species. A brief write up on the general habits, etc. common to all species of a particular family is a noteworthy feature of this book.

The Systematic Index is followed by the plates, the species depicted family-wise on each plate. 33 of the plates are in monochrome, the rest are in full colour. Birds often seen in flight or which are easier to identify when flying because of wing patterns are also depicted in flight. The Pictorial Guide depicts all the species occurring in our area with a few others occurring just outside our region but which might from time to time move in. Opposite each plate are the names of the species illustrated with brief information of status, size, type of habitat preferred and the geographical area likely to occur in. Altitudes in case of mountain species are also indicated.

There are two major points of criticism, against this otherwise very useful, and handy-to-carry into the field book-the. cuckoos, nightjars, and many of the owls are located and identified largely by their very distinctive calls. Since bird calls have not been mentioned, identifying individual species of these families is particularly going to be impossible. In addition, the Himalayan Cuckoo has been omitted both from the Systematic List as well as the illustrations. The second grouse I have against this book is that the listing of the bird names opposite the plates is in accordance with the serial numbering of the Systematic List and not in the order as depicted in the plates concerned. Thus as happens, bird No. 1 in the plate may be down at the bottom of the list opposite. Every time one looks up a bird in the illustrations, it becomes troublesome finding its name. While these illustrations are linked through the Systematic List with the ten volumes of the Handbook, the Pictorial Guide for the very large majority of its users is a book to be used on its own and this mix up of names is a source of irritation on every occasion the book is referred to.

Be what may, the Pictorial Guide has been welcomed by all bird watchers, and if you are not already possessing a copy hurry up, and get one-the second edition will be far, far costlier.

Lavkumar Khachar

MIRRORS IN THE CLIFFS. Edited by Jim Perrin. Pp. 688, 59 illustrations, 26 cartoons, 1983. (Diadem Books, London, £12.95).

Mountain climbing has been often described as an activity involving self discovery. A climber extends himself to the limits of his mind and body. There is no competition with others. If there is any, it is within the climber himself. Mountain climbing brings out the best-and the worst-within the climber, like any crisis situation.

The cliffs and the ice-walls on mountains are indeed mirrors for the climbers to perceive aspects of his own personality. Here is a varied anthology of articles collected by Jim Perrin revealing the images of climbers and climbing, seen by climbers themselves. The anthology covers a wide spectrum of time and space. Indeed it reflects the change in the style and the outlook to this basically hazardous pursuit. A hundred articles are grouped under six broad divisions. The first covers accounts of individual climbs showing the variety of experiences. The second part brings together pieces of excellent literature about the actual ascents of peaks. The third part consists of articles of human interest in the background of climbing interest and mountain travel. This is followed by a group of literary sketches of men revealed through interviews or portrayals. The fifth group reveals the ever present elements of risk and how it is courted by those practising the sport. Indeed this aspect is the very essence of mountain climbing which often ends in tragedies. The last lot of articles deal with the perennial question regarding the worth of the pursuit and value of climbing and diversity in the approach by climbers. The book is interspaced with over two dozen cartoons and three dozen excellent photographs of mountain scenes, and portraits of some of the contributors. The book is well produced and well worth its size and contents. It is a collector's item and a good companion for many a summer afternoon.

J. G. NanavatI

THE WHITE DEATH. By Georges Bettembourg and Michael Brame. Pp. 310, 9 maps, 1980. (Reynard House, Seattle, $ 13.95).

Georges Bettembourg died recently in a ski accident. He has been described by climbing partners as being a very lively person and also an extremely tough climber. This book does full justice to this remarkable man. It deals with his climbs on Broad Peak, Kangchenjunga, Kusum Kanguru, Everest and Nuptse.

Top grade climbers have written about their encounters with death and there seems to run a certain kind of fascination for it -amongst them. Bettembourg was no exception-he even titles his book The White Death. On his descent from Broad Peak with Yannick Signeur, they have gone way beyond theiri limits and could easily give in to death, a woman trying to seduce them:

'I close my eyes and gladly give myself up, some of me will disappear, it is true, but is it life ? For such completeness, for such warmth, for such transcendent love, it is a decision which I have acquiesced without fear. I need have no second thoughts. She is mine-she is life and the revelation gives me peaceful sleep.'

The author comes out as a very sensitive character. He can be •easily hurt by other team members and it would seemingly take .equally little to get him overjoyed. He never hesitates to hide his feelings even from the reader. He talks about his companions, his girl friend, Norma, and even his dreams. The descriptions are always vivid and sometimes the details become tedious. Nevertheless, they all contribute to make this book refreshingly alive. On Kangchenjunga with Peter Boardman, Joe Tasker and Doug Scott:

‘I find that this trip suffers from a lack of humour. Peter and Joe are always plunged into a book, withdrawn unto themselves, or talking seriously. I don't think we've ever played a game together* I brought along a set of dominoes, but dominoes are too foolish, they say. One has the right to think of dominoes as a foolish game, but the game does involve more than just dominoes.’

It would be difficult to say which amongst these is the finest climb. All of them are fabulous climbs and feats of endurance and courage which portray the spirit of the man. He strongly believed in climbing Alpine style, though. On 'Kansch' he wants to climb the North Face lightweight but is overruled by the Britishers and finally they go up via the North Col using seige tactics.

'We were going to force our way up the mountain. We would not be climbing with the mountain as Yannick and I had done on Broad Peak; rather, we would be climbing against the mountain, a different kind of engagement where equipment and time would play a large role.'

The White Death brings alive every inch of Georges Bettem-ourg.


KAILAS AND MANASAROVAR. After 22 years in Shivai Davain. By Rahul Bedi and S. Swamy. Pp. 79, 32 illustrations, 1983. (Allied Publishers, New Delhi, Rs 40).

Kailash and Manasarovar cannot be described in a matter-of-act, dull, descriptive style. This is the area of legend, of un-aralleled symmetry and exquisite beauty, Unless the effect of lis area on one's mind is described a prosaiq description results rhich can only mock this spectacular area.

Rahul Bedi and S. Swamy have done just that in their book Which reads like a description of children's antics in a boarding school (I refer to the exclusively lengthy tongue-in-check descriptions of their group and their activities) rather than a sober rid articulate account of a once-in-a-life time experience.

The authors have preferred to depend on two past explorers' (Sven Hedin and Swami Pravananda) accounts to tell of sights lat they should have been describing in first person. It just lows that they do not have the confidence of a keen observer e.g. they crossed the water-filled Googcha-the famous and con-oversial channel linking Manasarovar with Rakas Tal-and yet ley ignored it totally preferring to rely on Swami Pravananda's rcount. Again, on their circuit of the lake they mentioned the wami's seeing a plant known as Lal-buti along the shores of Manasarovar which had thin layers of ice-ribbons forming attract-ig patterns at its base. This phenomena is so numerous that if ay one is interested one will get tired keeping count of them, Such omissions are many. So are geographical inaccuracies. In Le very first sketch map the route between Dharchula and Garbing is shown as going through Nepal. The height of Lipu Lekh iss is shown as 17,890 ft instead of 16,760 ft which even their vourite Swami has given as 16,750 ft. Then their route to Man-arovar did not take them over the Gurla la 16,200 ft (which was le earlier route) but over a lower route. The Gurla la is about kms away to the right and mule, sheep and foot path is still sible leading to it.

It is a pity that a wonderful opportunity to give a modern count of a fabled land and its soul-gripping mystique has been uandered by an otherwise capable journalist. This account is too clinically told and is primarily a rehash of older accounts. The lotos are awful.

I would classify it as a good guide book but too expensive.

Romesh Bhattacharji

ROCK CLIMBING IN BRITAIN. By David Jones. Pp. 192, 100 colour illustrations, map, index, 1984. (Collins, London, £20.)

This is the mpst stunning collection of rock-climbing photographs I have ever seen, and hats off to Jones for taking such superb pictures. Even accepting the fact that he is a front-ranking rockclimber and an expert photographer, it is mind-boggling to think what it must have taken to shoot such brilliant pictures from the camera locations he has used. One of the biggest lacuna in the book is, I feel, the complete deletion of the ways and means and photographic equipment Jones had to use to make such images possible. It would have been as fascinating as anything else in the book.

Simply described, Rock Climbing in Britain is a volume of pictures fleshed out with text. The 100 full page colour photographs show climbers tackling various British rockclimbs, from popular1 old classics to the newest and most desperate routes. Although the Welsh route called 'No Red Tape', (plate 66) is not the equal in difficulty of many other routes, the photograph shows the sheer effort anil strength required on hard moves.

The text covers sections like Grading, Gear, History and, rather unusually, Training. The quality of the chapters vary: the one on Grading confuses more than it clarifies, whereas the Gear section is clear and succinct, and pulls no punches. Astonishingly absent, in a book claimed by the jacket blurb to be for beginners also, is a section on technique! Ergo, the book is not for beginners, who had better stick to Blackshaw. But in that case, do old hands need chapters on Gear and Climbing Walls?

The history chapter is the most interesting, in as much as it covers a lot of ground capably, and gives more stress on recent advances and new routes, about which information is welcome to those who, like the reviewer, have been more or less out of touch with British rockclimbing since the heyday of Joe Brown and co. Jones sets out to demonstrate that British rockclimbing standards are next to none: and even if you miss the note of triumph when he describes how Jerry Moffatt went and made the second ascent of 'Genesis', at 5.13 reputedly the hardest American rockclimb, two years after it was led in 1980, you will be convinced if you look carefully at the pictures. If you don't have vertigo, that is!

Joydeep Sircar

THIS CLIMBING GAME: An Anthology of Mountain Humour. Compiled by Walt Unsworth. Pp. 220, illustrations, 1984. (Viking, U.K. £9.95).

This is the sort of book one's always wanted to read but was unable to find. In fact, this book contains extracts from sources as variegated as the Pinnacle Club Journal (1934) and Cold Climb? (1983) and includes both the erudition of H. W. Tilman and the ancedotal humour of G.D. Abraham, and lots of things in between.

Divided into three sections, 'Playing At Home', 'Playing Away' and 'Offside', the book has some very readable pieces in each. The first section is about British climbing and produces, among other things, a dog that laybacked up a crack and a ballad on the importance of good braces. 'Playing Away' concerns non-British areas. Mark Twain's 'An Ascent of the Riffelberg' is almost prophetic in its anticipation of the big expedition while Mike Thompson's well read piece 'Out with the Boys Again' deserves to be re-read. The only piece that jars is Schulteis' 'Khyber Taxi' which has shades of V. S. Naipaul, 'Offside' is perhaps the most interesting section. 'The Ascent of F +’ is wonderfully irreverent while Rex Flim's 'The Cearfreak Caper' would not embarrass Carter Brown.

Unsworth says in his introduction that some climbers wouldn't recognise a joke if it got up and bit them. This book, then, is for the others who imagine, as Mike Thompson would like them to, that 'There are other recreational facilities in the lives of men'.

Muslim H. Contractor

FLOWERS OF THE HIMALAYA. By Oleg Polunin and Adam Stainton. Pp. 518, 690 illustrations, 315 sketches, 1984. (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, Rs 350).

As more and more people are getting interested in the Himalayan flora, it's a very timely and greatly welcome work. It's the first book of its kind for identifying Himalayan flowers and it covers all regions (mostly above 1200 m) from Kashmir and Ladakh to the Nepal-Sikkim border. Almost 1500 species are covered (actually 1495) with 690 colour plates and 315 line diagrams from field and herbarium specimens adding upto over 1000 illustrations.

The book explains briefly, in a simple and beautiful manner the influence of factors as, altitude, rainfall, rainshadow, latitude, geology and influence of man and animals on composition of flora and also touches briefly on ecological damage by trekking parties.

It is full of suggestions of possible treks and places to visit with respect to best flowering seasons, seasons to be avoided and alternative regions which could be visited at that time. The Western Himalayan and Nepal regions are separately described and in detail in a most excellent and simple manner, probably based on the authors' own personal and very extensive experience.

Actually Polunin was the botanist who accompanied H. W* Tilman on his expedition to central Nepal in 1949-1950 covering a very extensive area from Annapurna and Dhaulagiri to Lang-tang and Jugal Himal regions. This was followed by expeditions to Karnali region in West Nepal and various other places in Himalaya.

Most unfortunately the Eastern Himalayan region (North Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh) could not be covered as these regions have the richest and most interesting flora in the entire Himalayan regions. The flora of the Eastern Himalayan region is only partly covered due to some species being common to both regions. It is sincerely hoped that another similar publication will be brought out to cover the Eastern Himalayan regions as well.

To keep the book to its present size the authors must have had a difficult choice of covering only 1495 species out of a total of about 9000 existing in the Western Himalayan region alone. As such all sub-tropical species, the grasses and sedges were completely excluded and they only included all species which were both common and attractive. However they were also reluctantly forced to omit some interesting species.

Generally their choice appears to be good, though it may give rise to various degrees and types of criticism. Though the book is slightly bulky, this one volume work can feasibly be carried around and used as a field guide if necessary.

The Bentham and Hooker system of classification has been used in the layout. Its the most standard and prevalent system used by British and also in India by the Herbaria, educational and scientific institutions and by all British and Indian botanists for their publications and day to day work. The lastest nomenclature changes have not been fully incorporated and they have stuck to somewhat older and more familiar names in this book.

The botanical illustrations by Ann Farrer are of a very high standard and quality and should prove very useful. Most of the colour plates are extremely good and on,the same lines as Polunin's Flowers of Europe: a Field Guide. However quite a number of plates could have been more distinct and useful with greater close-ups for clear identification or recognition. There are also a few minor mistakes such as Caltha Palustries (Marsh Marigold), Anemones, Thalictrum and Clemantis being described as haying petals. Actually the petals are absent and there are sepals petal-like, colourful and showy for attracting insect visitors. In case of Thalietrum the sepals are very small. The bulk of the book of course covers description of the different species. A simple key and pointers are provided to help identifying the various genera in each family. Also a useful glossary accompanied by helpful line diagrams is provided at the end of the book. There is also a bibliography giving a list of the choicest books on the subject for further reading or reference. They are all fully worth reading or looking up.

The fascinating high altitude flora of the Himalaya has attracted world wide attention and Royle's illustration published about 145 years ago was the first book to give an extensive account of flora of Western Himalaya. The illustrated work of Coventry (3 Vols) and Blatter (2 Vols) on Kashmir flowers with five colour plates were excellent works and very popular and at present out of print. Hooker's massive 7 volume Flora of British India published towards the end of the last century covered all species in India known at that time, including the Himalayan species. This was followed by a host of books and papers by numerous British, foreign and Indian botanists upto the present time. Most of them were too technical for the common reader, traveller and nature lovers.

To meet this need Dr M. A. Rau when he was head of the Botanical Survey of India (Northern Circle) Dehra Dun, had come out with his very fine work High Altitude Flowering Plants of Western Himalaya in 1975. Its companion volume, a small book with 96 plates in colour as well as black and white gave only a limited coverage in this respect. It was a very good beginning.

There were other excellent and popular publications like Himalayan Flowers and Trees by Dorothy Microw and Dr T. B. Shreshtha published from Nepal with over 360 beautiful colour plates and very brief write-ups and a small book with a little over 200 pages which could scarcely be used as a guide, though it gave a very good idea of Himalayan flora, landscapes and village life. Another very fine work was by J.D.A. Stainton Forests of Nepal with 156 beautiful colour plates out of which quite a few were on Himalayan flowers. But the main accent was on the Himalayan trees and forests in Nepal.

Further there were also the extremely fine works of Dr. H. Hava Spring Flowers of Sikkim Himalaya and Photo Album of Plants of Eastern Himalaya. The colour plates and descriptions are exceptionally good. The same could be said of the book by S. Nakao, Living Himalayan Flowers. The coverage of these books is rather limited to some extent and not too suitable for extensive use as field guide. These books are not readily available in the market and found only in libraries and with educational and scientific institutions. Most of these popular works available earlier are at present out of print and have become very rare.

Polunin very correctly states in the bibliography that he had been approached by several persons to recommend a book suitable for taking along with them to the Himalaya. He found that there was not a single book he could recommend and hence came out with the present work.

As such Oleg Polunin and Adam Stainton as well as Oxford University Press must be heartily congratulated for coming out with such an excellent, useful and timely work.

A book of this type is indeed badly needed and will be greatly appreciated by all lovers of Himalayan flowers. They will easily learn the names of the flowers from the book and cultivate a great love for them.

V. James

TWO GENERATIONS. By Edmund and Peter Hillary. Pp. 223, 31 illustrations, 4 maps, 1984. (Hodder and Stoughton, London, £9.95).

In the modern times we have the whole family taking part in the various adventure activities. So as time passed by, there -emerge Two Generations of mountaineers. They are Edmund and Peter Hillary. The Hillary family adventures covered a wide range from New Zealand's coast line to the Himalaya.

Ed's teenage adventures led him towards Himalaya, when he -entered 'the heart of the Sherpa country* and with the climb of Everest, Sherpa land is virtually Ed's home. To the mountaineering world the climb of Everest was of course important and the reaction of the general public was overwhelming. Young Peter grew up in such surroundings.

The Hillary family was always engrossed in the aid-work for the Sherpas. To the young Peter, this had a tremendous impact, because he could see the difference between the world and the ,Sherpa way of life, yet how happy they were in their own way, Peter looks up towards his father with due respect for his work, his adventure, his enthusiasm for new horizons. Yet he naturally resents being pointed out as 'Ed Hillary's son'.

Louise Hillary, was a strong link between the family. It was in the growing-up age, the tragic death of Louise and Belinda brings the father and the son close to realize that both shared the true love for mountains.

Peter writes about his mother;

'It's you that have shown me

From you I have learned

That life has it's high sides

Which aren't easily earned.'

Like Edmund, Peter too has no heart in the academics but he qualifies as a ski-instructor, pilot and as a competent mountaineer. Though himself a mountaineer Ed worries about Peter, Ed finally resigned himself to the fact that Peter had become-an incurable adventurer and climber. To both, this acceptance made life a lot easier.

Peter joins Ed in the 'Ocean to Sky* expedition up the river Ganges in 1977. Then on Peter moves to Himalayan climbing-West Face of Ama Dablam-where a climber was killed and Peter severely injured. 1981 takes Peter on a traverse of Himalaya.

The book makes good reading of the climbs the two generations of Hillary have made. Though there are streaks of conflict and differences, the clear-cut difference in climbing attitudes is not drawn. In 1981, Ed goes to Tibet. Here after 28 years he-was, to look up to Everest from north and the giant ice-face pouring down to the Kangshung glacier. Here Ed feels that demo-r cratic discussions lead nowhere. ‘There was lack of decisions when decisions were badly needed’.

With this Tibet adventure, Ed reclines to modest adventures, and admits to Sherpa Mingma's statement of just to go 'looking looking'.

Peter, of course, looks forward to many more climbs.

Geeta Kapadia

KASHMIR-GARDEN OF THE HIMALAYA. By Raghubir JSingh. Pp. Ill, 80 colour illustrations, 1982. (The Perennial Press, Hong Kong, Rs 210.)

Raghubir Singh has in his latest book culled the essence of Kashmir as it has never before been done. To me Kashmir had been the vale of pleasant walks, forests and somewhat attractive mountains. But Raghubir Singh has filled this beautiful land with people and given an unforgettable insight into the soul of Kashmir. Each photograph is alive and tells much more than it shows. It portrays-exquisitely, in diverse settings from pretty to-commonplace, and extremejy appropriate moods-the daily slog,, joys, tribulations and ceremonies of the ordinary Kashmiri. This accent on people has yet not detracted from Kashmir's prime backdrop--its mountains. The breathtaking pictures of the pilgrims' progress towards Amarnath are just a few examples. These-pictures are not only wonderful to behold but when admiring them one is struck by the intelligent eye that has taken them. From them one can actually feel the seasons and relish the calm or hurly-burly of the scene depicted.

This is a book that gives almost as much information as a Gazetteer.

Romesh Bhattacharji

NANGA PARBAT. By Weyer--Dyhrenfurth. Illustrated, maps, 1980. (Badenia Verlag, Karlsruhe.)

This is the book on the Hermann Buhl Memorial Expedition! 1979-but actually this magnificent colour volume on a famous; great mountain is showing many other aspects of such a venture-Due to bad weather and too much snow the expedition only reached some 6700 m on the classical German route from the thirties and part of the text deals with this campaign. However the professional photographer Helfried Weyer has succeeded to cover much of the approach including local people and vegetation in his account, all beautifully printed and arranged as layout.

The historical part is compiled by Norman Dyhrenfurth, thus giving all important facts from the days of Mummery up to 1979 and this part is of special value as many so far unknown facts concerning both 1934 and 1953 are told by this Himalayan expert -son of the great G. O. Dyhrenfurth.

A short but very well compiled survey on the climate, geology and vegetation is added at the- end-written by Fritz Gartner. Many plants and trees are mentioned, the zones of plants etc are also shown on a map and in profile. For anyone interested in mountain nature this is certainly a must.

A condensed literature table and a colour survey sketch map of the mountain are other details to mention. In all, concerning the photos one can say that Weyer's shots of people and flowers are the best-the alpine part in snow and ice is definitely of less stringency. For all Himalayan friends and especially those interested in the Nanga Parbat story, a book of great value.

Anders Bounder

EVEREST '82. ASCENT OF THE HIGHEST WORLD'S SUMMIT BY SOVIET MOUNTAINEERS. By Juri M. Rost with 18 expedition members. Pp. 367, 170 colour illustrations, 26 historical reproductions, maps. (Fizkulturai Sport, Moscow, 1984).

In May 1982 a strong Soviet party made the first ascent of the central buttress of the Everest SW face-11 men reached the summit by one of the hardest routes ever climbed. Juri M. Rost, a sports journalist, has engaged 18 contributors (all expedition members) and completed an exciting report of the high battle. He was working as journalist for the expedition and gathered during this time more first-hand material than any other single participant. Juri Host wrote the principal chapter entitled: 'Test of the Everest*. The pictorial section follows headed: Everest in the objective lens'. The third main section of the book, 'The Everesters tell....', includes 18 individual essays and passages of diaries initiated by expedition leaders, chapter 'Six days in May’ and closed by a chapter 'Russian cuisine in the Himalaya*. Along with summarizing the usual difficulties, dangers and logistic problems connected with the climb the book gives an honest and true-to-life portrayal of the personal conflicts, frustrations and disappointments that are apt to occur whenever men-strong individualists-work together under stress. In fact, on the way to the summit not only the extremely difficult buttress was to be conquered. Several passages are written in a rather sensational style. Several others give good inquiry into the little known Soviet philosophy of mountaineering, in some aspects different from European.

No Himalayan book is complete without appendices. In this book they are very competent, scrupulous and valuable. Especially the chronological and biographical data deserve readers' approval. On the whole, reading Everest '82 is an exciting adventure in geography, culture, history, as well as in extreme Himalayan climbing and its ideas. The book is strongly recommended owing to comprehensive illustration, not only to Russian speaking readers.

Jozef Nyka

CATALOGUE OF THE HIMALAYAN LITERATURE. By Yoshimi Yakushi 1984. (Tokyo, Y 19,000).

This new edition of Yakushi's famous catalogue from 1973 is now ready with the printers-after 3 years of work by the author. In fact, it is a completely new and much extended volume with nearly 5000 titles listed and covering all parts of High Asia including the Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindukush, Pamirs and Tien-Shan ranges, with all data and specifications and also giving a short description of the content of each book. Further? are all important maps mentioned in a special section. At the end of this catalogue there are several most valuable indexes.

This comprehensive volume of best Japanese quality (binding, paper, printing) is an indispensable work for all studies on the Himalaya and High Asia. It does not demand any detailed review -it is unique, all with Japanese accuracy. Only books in Russian and Chinese are missing. The price is very reasonable. Y. Yakushi can only be praised for this milestone in Himalayan literature.

Anders Bounder

THE SAGA OF LADAKH. By Maj Gen Jagjit Singh. Pp. 155, 14 illustrations, 4 maps, 1983, (Vanity Books, Delhi, Rs 65).

This is primarily a book on the Indo-China war of 1962. It covers the action in Ladakh sector. However for a trekker or a mountaineer it gives an insight into how these areas have the other potential. Trekking around Chushul there were many hills and mountains which had no meaning to me. After reading this book these barren Gurung and Magar Hills came alive. Galwan valley speaks of history. You understand why so many jawans are braving hardships there. You can see them in a historic perspective.

Along with the military manouvres, the book gives a graphic descriptions of valleys and terrain of Ladakh. This itself leads to far better understanding of these areas. These mountains are a challenge not only for mountaineers to climb but also for an army to defend or conquer. So if one wishes to look at them with this different attitude this book is recommended-for the other side of the mountains.

Harish Kapadia

TREKKING IN NEPAL. By Toru Nakano. Pp. 264, illustrated, maps, 1984. (Yama-to-Keikou Sha, Tokyo, Y 3900).

This guide book gives exhaustive details of treks in Nepal. The coverage is most systematic, region wise from east to west. There is an excellent sketch map for each region and one fold-out map of the whole of Nepal.

The highlight of the book is the superb quality of photographs and printing. Few mountains would have been left out in this book. Unfortunately, the text is in Japanese. However, the sketch maps are in English and they suffice unless one wishes to know the location of every tea shop in Nepal.

Dhiren Toolsidas

Cataleg del Fons de Documentacio del Servei General D'informacio de Muntanya. Pp. 51, (Barcelona).

A catalogue has been received from the mountaineering information centre in Spain, of the books on mountaineering available with them. The classification is based on the different mountain regions of the world.