This book explores the differences between mountains as people imagine them, and mountains as they turn out to be when you’re on one. It’s a difference that has a habit of killing people. Through talking about historic understandings of mountains, MacFarlane is able to open up the broader territory of landscape writing, ideas of masculinity, adventure and conquest. It’s a beautiful, fascinating read, weaving history with personal experience. You don’t have to be obsessed with mountains to enjoy it, either. Being the sort of person who likes to admire them from afar, reading about other people’s deaths, accidents and near-deaths on slippery, near-vertical surfaces has confirmed me in my prejudices!