It's been several months since I read The White Spider, Harrer's documentary of attempts to climb the Eiger's North Face. But, maybe that's a good thing. I can tell you my lasting impression of the book, without getting wrapped up in the details. First of all, the right person wrote the book. Harrer's participation in the first successful ascent of the Eiger's North Face, his mountaineering and adventure achievements, and his clean, crisp writing style make him the perfect author to chronicle the assaults on this difficult and deadly face. The book comes on like gangbusters, right at the start. But, it must be noted that Harrer then goes on to document the entire history of successful and unsuccessful attempts, thus sacrificing excitement and continuous drama for accuracy and completeness. Thus, readers interested in historical knowledge, readers who wish to be educated on the remarkable history of this one significant piece of vertical real estate, will enjoy this book totally. Unfortunately, readers looking for continuous fast-paced excitement might be somewhat disappointed and ... well, bored ... reading the reconstructed details of ascent after ascent. While each ascent held extreme drama for those involved, that may not be the case for modern readers. Mountain historians, buy it and enjoy! Casual adventure readers, consider something else.
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