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Dangerous Games: Ice Climbing, Storm…

Dangerous Games: Ice Climbing, Storm Kayaking and Other Adventures from…

by Andrew Todhunter

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038548643X, Hardcover)

In October of 1982, a twenty-seven-year-old British alpinist named Alex MacIntyre was killed by rock fall during a descent of the south face of Annapurna." Thus begins this enthralling collection of Andrew Todhunter's tales of risk in the outdoors. From the frozen gullies of the Scottish highlands to the sunless depths of California's longest cave, Atlantic Monthly contributor Todhunter writes about so-called extreme sports from the inside. With the self-effacing gumption of a young George Plimpton or Tim Cahill, Todhunter is not content to interview his subjects from the safety of sea level.

Instead, he climbs, paddles, dives under the ice, crawls through caves, and leaps-with grave reservations-from cliffs, in the company of some of the world's premier outdoor athletes. He does these things for fun, and writes about them in a controlled literary style reminiscent of John McPhee. "The Last Voyage of Steve Sinclair" (as "Gale-Force Kayaking") and "Beneath the Ice" received notable mention in The Best American Sports Writing series, edited by Glenn Stout. "The Precipitous World of Dan Osman" went on to become Todhunter's critically acclaimed book Fall of the Phantom Lord (Anchor Books, 1998). And although there are tragedies in this collection, past and present, Dangerous Games is no mere litany of disasters; "I prefer to write about the living," says Todhunter. "I want to know what pushes them to their own edge and what brings them back.   But people do die, from time to time, by skirting that edge, and when that happens it's inevitably part of the story."

Here are nonsporting stories as well: "The Taming of the Saw," a delightful essay about learning to use a chainsaw in New York's Catskill Mountains; "The Wreck of the Belle," recounting a week spent with nautical archaeologists diving for a seventeenth-century French shipwreck; and finally, "Winter Passage," Todhunter's account of an Atlantic crossing, in January, on a German freighter. "It was a bit like Das Boot without the torpedoes," Todhunter says. "We spent most of the nights in the ship's bar. The ship's mechanic had brain cancer.  Most of them had failed marriages, or children they would never know. Many of them led brutal, broken lives, yet they were eminently decent. For me, the freighter was a way to get to Spain. For the crew-as the saying goes-it was a prison at sea."
Beautifully written and meticulously reported from the front lines of America's obsession with risk sports, Dangerous Games is a classic collection of adventure tales from one of America's finest outdoor writers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:44 -0400)

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