Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Mountaineering by Peter Crew. London: Constable & Co., Ltd. 140 pages. 30s.
In climbing as in other fields there are a number of books that make the readers wonder why someone has taken the trouble to write them. This book, written by one of the outstanding climbers of today, will find a limited market, at least on this side of the Atlantic. It will be helpful in libraries and to the novice and layman when reading climbing stories.
Peter Crew has made this work very readable for a reference book. I found a number of unusual listings, among them are: Cow’s Tail—A loop for temporarily tying in while aid climbing; Fish Plate—A loop hanger; Mummery’s Blood—A concoction mixed of equal parts of rum and Bovril, served hot. Conceived by A. F. Mummery.
The book does a splendid job of covering British terms. It is, however, a bit weak on American terms. It also, as I expected, comes nowhere near to its claim of covering the history of mountaineering. I think you will find this book a very valuable work if you have trouble following the current climbing terminology. In addition, 34 drawings, 15 photos, a cross-reference and various charts help make this a more complete work. The few errors I found were too minor to warrant coverage here.