An Odyssey Along the Crest of Two Continents
by Don Mellor (author) and
Olaf Soot (photographer)
What a beautiful book this is! It is a large book, 14" wide, with thick glossy pages and brilliantly colored photographs. It was a pure joy to view the majestic scenes showcased in it. Some of the photos are so amazing that I'd like to frame them to hang on my walls.
The book is split into sections detailing the major mountainous areas from the northern-most reaches of North America all the way down to the southern tip of South America. Each section focuses on the mountains in one area, their accessibility to climbers, their natural and human history, and their "personality" - what is it about them that makes them unique. I loved reading the essays, learning the history and uniqueness of places I will (likely) never go ... it was fascinating.
Although this book was put together by mountain climbers, you don't have to like climbing to appreciate this book. I am not only terrified of heights (not simply scared, TERRIFIED) but I also can't stand to be cold ... a climber of anything I will never be. However that didn't affect my enjoyment of this book in the least. It is not "about" climbing - it is "about" the mountains themselves.
One thing that I loved about the very last section was the challenge to the reader to take a world map and hang it upside down. Keep it that way until you get used to it, until you can see the major differences between the two hemispheres. I'm on the lookout for a good map to do this with - I want to hang it in my office and see the world differently for a while.
I only have one criticism of this book: I wish there was a map included that showed the mountain ranges across the American continents. It would have been helpful to me to see the ranges, to see the space between the ranges, and just have a better idea of where I was in the world. Other than that, there is nothing I would change about this fabulous book.
Learn more about the book and see some of the gorgeous photos at the book's website - you'll be glad you did.
PS. This large book has taken me forever to read simply because it is so big. The book is gorgeous and I really enjoyed it, but it is meant to be a coffee table book and not to be carted about with you.