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Walking in the Alps

Walking in the Alps, by J. Hubert Walker, xii + 274 pages, with photographs and maps by the author. Edinburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd, 1951.

“How does one set about an Alpine journey? How is a man who has never been to the Alps to find out where to go and what to do when he gets there?” The next time a friend asks you, this is the book to send him. You yourself will refer to it when you decide that it is no longer desirable to be a centrist. It covers the Alpine watershed from western Switzerland (Great St. Bernard) to the Brenner Pass. Nothing of the French Alps is included, so that while the Central and Eastern Pennines are described, the Western Pennines (chain of Mont Blanc) fall outside the scope of the book. There is nothing of the Bernese Oberland, nor of the Tauern groups east of the Brenner. It is hence limited to the Swiss-Italian Pennines, the Lepontines (including Ticino), the Bernina (including its west wing, the Bregaglia), the ranges of the Ortler, Stubai and Oetz valleys, with the massif of the Lombard Alps (Adamello, Presanella, Brenta), rising opposite and south of the Tonale Pass.

There are many courses to this feast, in a beautifully arranged and illustrated volume, almost miraculously free of misprints. A good deal of geography is included, for the pedestrian must understand his terrain if he is to enjoy free and easy traverse of the ranges, commonplace in the days of such pioneers as F. F. Tuckett and once again coming into fashion. It is a selective guidebook, analyzing topography, circling the various ranges with high-level walking lines and higher peaks thrown in when they are favorably placed. The present reviewer has walked or climbed in all the areas described. Every page opens new vistas or awakens memories of former pleasures.

J. Monroe Thorington