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Mountains of North America

By Fred Beckey

Sierra Club Books, San Francisco in association with The American Alpine Club, 1982. 256 pages, 140 color photographs

Fred Beckey, Mountains of North AmericaMountains of North America is not a mountaineer's atlas, as its name implies; nor is it a climber's route book, for which we should be grateful. Neither is it a geology text, a history, a photo-essay, or a catalogue of the author's climbs, although it partakes of all these things. It is hard to say just what it is. Perhaps it most resembles the Combination Plate at a Mexican restaurant: you get a bit of each item, and after a while, with enough salsa, they all taste the same.
Each of the thirty-five chapters of the book concentrates on a single peak, chosen either for its unique qualities or as representative of an area. Though not necessarily the highest, the most difficult, or the most well-known mountains in North America, the features they do share are Fred Beckey's footprints and his love. Whether that is sufficient adhesive to hold a book together the reader will have to determine. (…)
Be especially careful not to spill your coffee on any of the 140 color photographs, as they are the most painstaking reproductions ever to appear between hard covers. The color is brilliant, the detail perfect and the layout tasteful.”
Ron Matous, „American Alpine Journal” 1983, p. 325-326

“The author is eminently qualified to produce such a volume and well known for his breadth of knowledge of the area. He surveys thirty five areas and peaks and uses photographs by fifty nine of North America's best known mountain photographers.
Frankly the result is good without being totally stunning. There are quite outstanding pictures and reproduction, a balanced sober yet very readable text and a real sense of wonder and sympathy for the subject. The author's enthusiasm seems irrepressible behind the mature prose. There is such a depth of experience here. Beckey blends history, a feeling for the whole of the country, accounts of the geography of each peak or range, and narratives of mountaineering experience in a way only possible for someone with long acquaintance and a deep involvement with his subject This is no quick package thrown together to seize a few bucks, ft is a celebration of the country.”
„Mountain” 1982, November/December, No. 88, p. 49

“Beckey writes: . . .my chief goal has been to choose peaks that are representative of their regions and ranges. . . The selections sometimes were based on my own experience with a certain mountain. Each of the chosen peaks has its distinctive character, which I have tried to evoke, and most have some noteworthy history associated with their discovery and exploration. Historic and contemporary ascents are part of the story, too; while this is not a mountaineering chronicle, climbing is often an important theme.
Mountains of North America is a rich collection of natural beauty for all who enjoy unspoiled wilderness, and a magnificent sampler of the many reasons we hold our land so dear.”
John Christian, “Summit” 1982, p. 35



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