Ascent, by Jeremy Bernstein. New York: Random House, 1965. × + 124 pages, with illustrations. Price $3.95.
The author is Associate Professor of Physics at New York University, and has written a formidable book on computers, The Analytical Engine. This appeared in The New Yorker, as did also (in three issues) the material making up the present volume. The first of these sections, "The Alternation of Hope and Fear,” deals with Chamonix and is largely a condensed history of the valley and the ascents of Mont Blanc. The second, "Whymper and Mummery,” is also historical, although Bernstein is in error when he states that the Matterhorn rope broke between Young Peter Taugwalder and Lord Francis Douglas. (Frison-Roche in Les Montagnes de la Terre, vol. 2, also gets the order on the rope wrong; see A.J. 70, 199) The final chapter, "Moi, Je Suis Optimiste,” is personal and relates events which began with a climb from Kandersteg at the age of 7 (1937). He has since done Memorial Hall at Harvard and, in 1963, went on to higher goals when he was working at CERN, the nuclear laboratory in Geneva. Henri Dufour initiated him in the climbing school at Les Gaillands, and since then his principal mentor in Chamonix has been Claude Jaccoux. The book makes for pleasant reading and is well illustrated.
J. Monroe Thorington