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Women Climbing: 200 Years of Achievement

By  Bill Birkett and Bill Peascod

A & C Black Publishers, Ltd., London, 1989 and The Mountaineers, Seattle, 1989

Women Climbing: 200 Years of Achievement“Bill Birkett and Bill Peascod took on a difficult task when they decided to write a history of women climbing, knowing that they might get criticism from all sides. In the event, they haven't done a bad job, although the end result makes for a rather patchy and irritating read. Their method is to choose one particular climber from a period, write about her in some detail, but insert other paragraphs on 'lesser' climbers active at the same time. (…)Thirteen 'major' climbers are featured, starting with Lucy Walker and finishing with Louise Shepherd, and each is dealt with fairly thoroughly. A book of this type obviously requires a vast amount of research, but it is a pity that numerous small errors have been allowed to creep in.”
Alpine Journal 1991/92, Vol. 96, p. 286-287

“At the outset this book promises much. Author Birkett writes in the introduction: The story is related by selecting an important figure from each area of significant development and concentrating on her individually. There is much background information, and we have presented a complete, if brief, picture of the whole."(…)
Birkett's and Peascod's book on the climbing achievements of women during the last 200 years is in one word, ‘uneven’. It is also sketchy. These are nice stories. But it is not a women's climbing history. That challenging book is yet to be written. Perhaps it is women who should take up their own tale.”
Laura Waterman, “The American Alpine Journal”, 1991, p. 321-322

“Personally, I value the effort which Bill Birkett and Bill Peascod have made in trying to redress the historic overemphasis on male values in climbing by drawing out, in one volume, the considerable achievements and differences in attitude of women climbers. One can only hope that by providing a number of role models this book wilt inspire more women to taste some of the excitement, adventure and companionship which form the essence of climbing. (…)
Women Climbing contains a compilation of biographies ranging from such formidable and obscure personalities as Marie Paradis or Henriette d'Angeville in the early nineteenth century to present-day rock climbers such as Catherine Destivelle and Jill Lawrence. The factual, research-style structure hardly lends itself to stirring writing, even though, at times, Birkett's and Peascod's passion for climbing manages to ooze through the lines. The interest can be sustained for a number of chapters before one might decide to give up and try again later for another life story. Historic enthusiasts could find some details of interest in the description of the times and relationships in those early days of exploration. Some of the older photographs which seem carefully researched, are particularly attractive."
Angela Kalisch, „Mountain” 1990, January/February, No 131, p. 43


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