The Last of His Kind
William Morrow, 2009 (2009)
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Reviewed by Bob Walch
The Last of His Kind: The Life and Adventures of Bradford Washburn, America's Boldest Mountaineer
, David Roberts combines an extraordinary history of mountain climbing in the twentieth century with the biography of legendary mountaineer and mountain photographer Brad Washburn.
hile still in his twenties in 1935, Washburn led a three month exploratory traverse of what was then the largest blank on the map of North America. He tackled the 6,400 square miles of glaciers and mountains in the frozen heart of Alaska's Saint Elias Range.
s a cartographer, Washburn produced maps of Mount McKinley, Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon and other regions. His work was lauded for its precision and artistry.
n telling his long time friend's story, Roberts doesn't gloss over the unfortunate event that marred the mountaineer's later life. In 1987 his only son, Ted Washburn, was charged with the sexual abuse of young boys. The situation was a source of sorrow for the climber and his family.
radford Washburn died two years ago at the age of 96. This book is not just a tribute to the man whose name appears on the cover. Roberts takes Washburn's deeds and places them in the context of the history of mountaineering. In doing so the author gives us an insider's look at the amazing culture of climbing and one of the iconic figures who was instrumental in shaping it.
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