Himalaje-Karakorum, by Tom Piaty, ed. Warsaw, Poland, Wiedza Powszechna, 1974. 472 pages of text, with 376 pictures. Hardbound. 140 zlotys ($7.60).
I am quick to declare that I know no Polish, but the language is not an obstacle to understanding and enjoying this Polish book, the fifth of the collection “W. Skalach
i Lodach Swiata” (“Amid the Rock and Ice of the World”) This edition covers the achievements of the Poles in the mountains of the globe from 1968 to 1974. The title of this book is therefore misleading, since it is by no means confined to the mountains of Central Asia. There are fifteen chapters, three indexes (with English and Russian summaries) and a chronology, embracing in all an unusually wide geographic area of the mountains of the world, which attests to the extraordinary activity of the Poles.
The great asset of this book, whether one knows Polish or not, is its photographs. There are 367 black and white and nine color pictures of high standards, taken by Poles among the better known ranges of the world as well as among others we rarely see photographed: Semyen (Ethiopia), Alai and Tien Shan (Russia), Altai (Mongolia), Atacama (Northern Chile), Yugoslavian and Bulgarian Alps, etc. If there is anything to complain about in this book it is the total lack of maps, a strange omission indeed. But it is a book of merits, that will please those who dream of traveling and climbing in the least known mountain ranges of the world.