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The Picture of Everest

The Picture of Everest, by Alfred Gregory. 43 pages of colored illustrations with brief explanatory text. Great Britain: Hodder and Stoughton, 1954.

Since the recent improvements in photography and the reproduction of photographs, it has become customary to publish a picture book of every important expedition (sometimes two of them) in addition to the complete book on the expedition. This is an excellent idea. There is much truth in the saying “One picture is worth a thousand words,” and the reading public can get a much better and more accurate conception of the Himalayas from a book of pictures than from any number of texts. Next to seeing the mountains yourself comes a good color photograph.

Both of these books are excellent and to be recommended to any mountain lover. The Swiss account is much more complete and, to this reviewer, the choice of subjects is more interesting. The six color plates are magnificent—the sunset on Everest, in particular, is breath taking. It may be regretted that more of these plates have not been reproduced, but limitations of cost presumably prevented. The superiority of color over monochrome is well illustrated by the portrait of Ang Pembi which appears in monochrome as No. 8 in this book and in color in Everest 1932 by André Roche, at page 28.

The British book is all in color. Opposite each color plate is a printed page giving an explanation of the plate—an arrangement that is new to this reviewer and very helpful in understanding the pictures. The whole panorama of the long and arduous ascent is admirably shown, as well as the stupendous scale of these mountains.

O. R. H.