Flame of Adventure

A quickie review of "Flame of Adventure" by Simon Yates, which I finished reading last night.

In his book, Yates describes his mountaineering experiences over several years, which saw him travelling all over the world from Peru to Pakistan, and the Peak District to Perth.

Yates' writing style is to recount his memories from each distinct adventure. Occasionally, he will link from one adventure to the next with some discussion of what he did in between, but often there are distinct jumps - even in the middle of chapters. I found this a little hard work in places, but that is only a minor criticism.

What I liked most about the book were Yates' vivid descriptions of his feelings and emotions both in success, failure, and near tragedy. He comes across as a man who is modest, yet driven and extremely motivated. Not by the trappings of our materialistic Western lives, but by adventure and the eagerness to experience life as others would. This is most vividly portayed by his willingness to seek out the poorer parts of Pakistan and drink untreated water - risking his health in the name of trying to get an understanding of how people live and survive in these areas. I applaud his enthusiasm, but at the same time wonder whether it is really necessary to risk all manner of strange diseases just to gain a better understanding of the world.

If you want to get an understanding of what motivates people to risk their lives in climbing mountains, then I can heartily recommend this book. I'd also recommend that you read the last chapter first. A discourse in the meaning of adventure, it really should have been a prologue to the book rather than the last chapter.

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