Introduction to Mountaineering, by Showell Styles. 159 pages, 8 plates, 17 figures, glossary of climbing terms, bibliography, and 2 appendices. London, Seeley Service and Co. Ltd., 1954. Price 15 s.
The novice mountaineer must certainly learn technique from instruction and practice, but to the extent that it can be augmented by reading, "Introduction to Mountaineering” offers a very palatable literary diet. In an easy-going, almost conversational style, the author systematically discusses the basic tenets and techniques of mountaineering, emphasizing the very sound philosophy that rock climbing is but a part and not the whole of mountaineering, a distinction that sometimes escapes the neophyte’s attention. The book is written for the novice and makes no pretense of attempting an exhaustive treatment of mountaineering practice, but the novice will find in it most of what he needs, together with a sprinkling of mountaineering philosophy and a generous portion of British mountaineering tradition. American readers may take exception to some of the belay techniques and the curious lack of emphasis on sound belaying, but on the other hand, we could all benefit from the rather pertinent chapter on "Manners and Traditions.”