Book Reviews January 2009

Tuck in with some good reads this winter.

Reviewed by Sarah Wyatt

Camping in Comfort

By Lynn Haney

Paperback, 192 pages

McGraw-Hill, $16.95

Camping in Comfort is the complete guide to help you enjoy the latest advances in outdoor gear without wasting money on expensive, unnecessary paraphernalia. Packed with information on tents, sleeping gear, clothing, footwear, and camp kitchens, it also offers detailed information on state parks, private campgrounds, luxury camping resorts, backpacking and bicycle camping, kayak camping, RV camping and much more.

Mountain Madness

By Robert Birkby

Hardcover, 334 pages

Kensington Books, $24.95

Best known as one of the guides who perished near the summit of Mount Everest during the tragic spring of 1996, Seattle’s Scott Fischer became for many an iconic symbol of audacity, hubris and the limits of human endurance. But to those who knew him well, Fischer was much more than an action figure at the heart of a modern-day cautionary tale. Now in this vivid, candid biography, Robert Birkby, one of Fischer’s close friends gives us a fascinating, in-depth portrait of who Scott Fischer really was and what led him to the top of the world.


By Joel W. Rogers

Hardcover, 112 pages

Graphic Arts Books, $19.95

For some, Seattle is the corner of the Northwest. For others, it is the headquarters for some of the world s most recognized brands  Microsoft,, REI, Starbucks and Boeing. For still others it is a destination, a vacation spot to see the likes of the Space Needle, Pike Place Market or perhaps the stunning views of the Sound and the Olympic Mountains. This vivid photo-essay by acclaimed Seattle photographer Joel Rogers is a coffee table production capturing Seattle’s energy, passion and personalities. Seattle explores the city’s native roots and early pioneer traits to the cosmopolitan present.

Walking The Gobi: A 1,600-Mile Trek Across a Desert of Hope and Despair

By Helen Thayer

Paperback, 272 pages

Mountaineers Books, $19.95

In 2001, at the age of 63, Helen Thayer fulfilled her lifelong dream of crossing Mongolia s Gobi Desert. Accompanied by her 74-year-old husband Bill and two camels, Tom and Jerry, the Thayers walked 1,600 miles in 126-degree temperatures, battling fierce sandstorms, dehydration, dangerous drug smugglers and ubiquitous scorpions. Walking the Gobi takes readers on a trip through a little-known landscape and introduces them to the culture of the nomadic people whose ancestors have eked out an existence in the Gobi for thousands of years. The author, a New Zealander who now lives in Everett, Wash., proves that Baby Boomers don’t have to take life lying down  their adventures have.

When All Hell Breaks Loose: 
Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes

By Cody Lundin

Paperback, 512 pages

Gibbs M. Smith, $19.95

Do you ever stay awake at night running through what if  scenarios? In this age of on-the-spot disaster reporting, the human toll from natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis are evident in a way as never before, and it s more important than ever to have a survival plan in place. Survival expert Cody Lundin’s new book, When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes is what every family needs to prepare and educate themselves about survival psychology and the skills necessary to negotiate a disaster whether you are at home, in the office or in your car.

Steller’s Island: 
Adventures of a Pioneer Naturalist in Alaska

By Dean Littlepage

Paperback, 256 pages

Mountaineers Books, $17.95

The 18th century naturalist, Georg Steller, sailed to the north coast of North America and introduced its biological wonders to the world. Steller s Island is about the courage of scientific curiosity, even in uncharted waters, alien lands, and desperate circumstances, including storms, scurvy and shipwreck.

Kayaking Alone: 
Nine Hundred Miles from Idaho’s Mountains to the Pacific Ocean

By Mike Barenti

Hardcover, 244 pages

University of Nebraska Press, $24.95

Kayaking Alone is a narrative of man and nature, one-on-one, but also of man and nature. In the stories of the river guides and rangers, biologists and ranchers, American Indians and dam workers author Mike Barenti meets along the way, the rich and complicated life of the river emerges in a striking, often painfully clear panorama. Through his journey, the ecology, history, and politics of Pacific salmon unfold in fascinating detail, and with this firsthand knowledge and experience the reader gains a new and personal sense of the nature that unites and divides us.