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Books A buffet of summer browsing for readers whose taste buds yearn for the esoteric

June 26, 2000
June 26, 2000

Table of Contents
June 26, 2000

Books A buffet of summer browsing for readers whose taste buds yearn for the esoteric

TRUE SUMMIT
By David Roberts
Simon & Schuster, $24

This is an article from the June 26, 2000 issue Original Layout

In the recent hullabaloo over Mount Everest--the fatal climbs of
1996, the 1999 discovery after 75 years of the frozen corpse of
"because-it's-there" climber George Mallory--we tend to forget
what a big deal Annapurna was. But when, on June 3, 1950, that
26,493-foot Himalayan giant became the first of the world's 14
8,000-meter peaks to be conquered, Annapurna became a household
word down below. Since the conquerors were French, the deed,
according to Roberts, was to a nation humiliated in World War II
"a matter of incalculable national pride." The 1951 book
Annapurna by expedition leader Maurice Herzog sold more than 11
million copies and was translated into 40 languages. And Herzog
became France's Lindbergh.

But as Roberts tells it, the Annapurna saga wasn't all that it
seemed to be. He describes Herzog, who lost all his fingers and
toes to frostbite on the climb, as a self-aggrandizing egotist
who, in Herzog's book, relegated the other ace climbers on his
team to a secondary role. Herzog dismissed his fellow summiteer,
Louis Lachenal (who also lost his toes), as a hothead who wanted
to turn back. Rather than the one-for-all-and-all-for-one spirit
Herzog described in his book, Roberts says there was considerable
disharmony among the mountaineers. It is, you'll excuse the
expression, a chilling story.

COLTER
By Rick Bass/Houghton Mifflin Co., $22

This crafted paean by a man to his dog confronts animal lovers
with something of a dilemma. How can a human express so much love
for one animal (canine) yet be so determined to gun down another
(birds)? Bass isn't unaware of the contradiction, and he does his
best to explain it. There's some consolation in the fact that
he's a lousy shot.

LEFTY GROVE
By Jim Kaplan/SABR, United Book Press, $12.95

In his time in the major leagues, 1925 to '41, Grove was as
famous for his temper as for his pitching. But in this excellent
biography, Kaplan reveals a gentler, more human side to the
fireballing 300-game winner. He also rescues a fading reputation
and makes a valid case for placing Grove at the very top of the
alltime pitching rankings.

THE BEST OF FRANK DEFORD
By Frank Deford/Triumph Books, $24.95

This "bimedia" collection is a winning combination of some of the
many perceptive profiles Deford has done for this magazine and
others, along with scripts of some of the commentaries he has
been delivering for 20 years over National Public Radio. Whether
Deford is writing for the reader or the listener, his authorial
voice rings clear and true.

COLOR PHOTO: SIMON & SCHUSTERCOLOR PHOTO: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN CO.COLOR PHOTO: UNITED BOOK PRESSCOLOR PHOTO: TRIUMPH BOOKS