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The White Mountains by John Christopher

The White Mountains (1967)

by John Christopher

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Tripods (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,644284,383 (3.93)54
  1. 20
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (mcenroeucsb)
  2. 10
    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (mcenroeucsb)
  3. 00
    Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (KingRat)
    KingRat: The White Mountains contains issues similar to those of Uglies: secret control of a society, "mind control", induction into that society, and rebellion against it while pretending to be a member. There are obvious major differences too. Still, enough similarities in style and substance that I suspect people who enjoy one will enjoy the other.… (more)

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I read the whole series when I was a kid. I can still picture the racks at Midland Library where I picked them up. I re-read to see what it was I loved about them. I think the idea of escaping from thought control appealed to me as much then as now. It's a short read, it doesn't talk down, and it is very linear. Will have to order the others from Amazon. (Also, good camping read.) ( )
  thukpa | Feb 6, 2016 |
I read the whole series when I was a kid. I can still picture the racks at Midland Library where I picked them up. I re-read to see what it was I loved about them. I think the idea of escaping from thought control appealed to me as much then as now. It's a short read, it doesn't talk down, and it is very linear. Will have to order the others from Amazon. (Also, good camping read.) ( )
  thukpa | Feb 6, 2016 |
I read the whole series when I was a kid. I can still picture the racks at Midland Library where I picked them up. I re-read to see what it was I loved about them. I think the idea of escaping from thought control appealed to me as much then as now. It's a short read, it doesn't talk down, and it is very linear. Will have to order the others from Amazon. (Also, good camping read.) ( )
  thukpa | Feb 5, 2016 |
Tripods are cool, imagine these fearsome engines stomping around your neighborhood. They are not very practical though are they? Three legs don’t seem to be a very stable locomotive arrangement. The aliens came from light years away can they not spring for some aircrafts or something on wheels? At least double the number of legs for God’s sake!

When I first heard of this series I thought it was some kind of unofficial sequel to Wells’ awesome classic [b: The War of the Worlds|497179|The Time Machine/The War of the Worlds|H.G. Wells|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1357744876s/497179.jpg|1156369]. Well, now I know it is not, but it is still a damn fine ripping yarn. The White Mountains depicts a future where alien overlords have been in charge of our planet for hundreds of years. This is not an origin story so we don’t know what happened when the aliens showed up and how they subjugated the human race. To keep humans docile the aliens weld mind control caps on the adults’ heads. The year when the story takes place is not mentioned, there is even a possibility that the tripods may be man-made rather than aliens. I imagine more will be revealed in subsequent volumes of this Tripods series.

The White Mountains is told from the point of view of Will, the thirteen-year-old protagonist. One day Will decides to run away from his home town to avoid the Tripods' “Capping” process when he comes of age. He is accompanied by Henry, a cousin he dislikes, but insists on going along, on their journey they are later joined by a bright French boy they call “Beanpole” because Will and Henry can't pronounce Jean Paul. Their destination is the eponymous White Mountain, where – Will is told by an apparently crazy old man – there is a community of rebellious “uncapped” people. The book is entirely about their perilous journey to this mountain.

I wish I had read this book as a wee lad of fourteen or younger I would have loved his book to bits and immediately read the remaining three volumes. As an adult reader I really enjoyed it but I wish it was more edgy and dark with lots of swearing! This series is generally regarded as children’s books rather than YA. One thing it does have in common with modern YA books is that the setting is a dystopian with mankind under aliens’ domination rather than some post-apocalypse government. I certainly prefer it to [b: The Hunger Games|2767052|The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)|Suzanne Collins|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1358275334s/2767052.jpg|2792775], kids being chased by giant tripods is much more exciting than kids being chased by other kids.

The book is very fast paced with something happening on every page, and there is not much in the way of dialogue. The characters are not developed very much but in a book under 200 pages in length that is forgivable. Certainly Will seems like a bit of an idiot most of the time, Henry vacillates back and forth from being callous to caring, and Beanpole is defined by his intellect only. The other characters they meet on their way just serve to help to move the story along. There is a palpable sense of danger when the kids are being chased by the tripods, but the ending seems terribly rushed.

Any way, I am on board for reading the rest of the series. I would love to know what happen next.

Rating: 5 stars for kids, 4 for adults! ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
“Massive alien machines called the Tripods had ruled Earth for hundreds of years and enslaved the minds and bodies of most adults through the silvery caps they made them wear. Determined to escape the ritual Capping ceremony, Will Parker runs away, heading for the distant White Mountains and the small rebel camp there, hoping to join their desperate attempts to overthrow the rule of the Tripods. The journey is long, the missions dangerous and the hopes of survival very slim…”

The year was 1993. I was 10 years old, and I was spending the weekend with my grandparents. Despite being a bookworm, I didn’t bring any books with me, as I had been promised a trawl through my dad’s old books. Little did I know that one book (or more accurately 3 books) would hold my attention more than the others, and remain in my ‘favourites list’ well into adulthood.

The White Mountains is the first book of the fantastic Tripod trilogy by John Christopher, published between 1967-1968. The version of the book I read actually collected the trilogy into one volume, allowing me to read the trilogy back-to-back like one long novel. The front and back cover had scenes from the TV series commissioned in the 1980s, which added a very retro feel to it (though it looks slightly dated now!).

The back cover specifically had a picture of one of the Tripods, which brings to mind the most famous of sci-fi novels featuring alien invasion, The War of the Worlds. As a young boy, an adventure sci-fi story like this was just what I was looking for, and this book didn’t disappoint.

The Tripods – mysterious and frightening 3-legged mechanical monsters standing several stories high - rule the earth and have done for centuries. The origins of the Tripods is unknown initially, and any queries from inquisitive children is hushed by the already Capped adults.

All children are eventually are Capped, marking their progression into adulthood, which also surrenders their ability for free thought to the terrifying Tripods. It involves being pulled inside the body one of the machines by a long metal tentacle, and a metal mesh cap being placed on your head. There are sometimes complications with the process, resulting in Vagrants; men and women who experience a mental retardation, and who spend their remaining days speaking nonsense, and wandering from town to town.

The first book tells the story of Will Parker, a miller’s son living in a small rural town called Wherton in England. Will’s cousin Jack, who also is his only friend, on the eve of his own Capping poses some intriguing questions about the origin of the Tripods and the former greatness of the human race. However once Jack is capped, he no longer holds any opinions in this vein, and drifts apart from Will. As his own Capping ceremony grows closer, a now friendless Will begins to question his future under Tripod rule.

Enter Ozymandias; a mysterious new Vagrant in town who latches on to Will and begins to answer some of those burning questions Will has. There are still free-men, resistant to the Tripods rule, living in the fabled White Mountains; it lights a spark in Will. Realising there is nothing for him in Wherton, Will decides to journey to the mountains in search of answers.

Reluctantly he has to be accompanied on the journey by his other cousin Henry, who he despises. Henry’s mother has recently died and has been living with Will’s family, which is how Henry happens to follow Will on the night he leaves Wherton for good. Realising Henry could raise the alarm, Will accedes to him tagging along, although he will come to rely on Henry more than he ever thought possible. Along the way they add a young bespectacled boy called Beanpole to their clique, after he gets them out of a difficult situation early on.

I am re-reading this book at the age of 31 and time has not dulled my impressions of the book; I’m happy to state that it still fills me with the same excitement it did when I was a kid. While I grow older and my reading tastes grow ever more varied and challenging, I still like to escape every now and again to the books of my childhood. At nearly 50 years old, the story has a timeless quality for me, in the same way The Hobbit or the Narnia books have, and fully deserves its place alongside those classic books on my own bookshelf.
( )
1 vote andersongs | Jul 21, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Christopherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burleson, JoeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Jessica : this, and the rest, with love
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Apart from the one in the church tower, there were five clocks in the village that kept reasonable time, and my father owned one of them.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This book is purely science fiction and is a great read for middle schoolers.  The book is about a trio of boys who escape their communities to avoid capping.  Capping is when they are made to be docile and obedient to Masters, an unknown controller.  This is a perfect book to get kids, especially boys since all three main characters are boys, into science fiction.  This is a great book to teach in English classes as the story and structure is strong enough to do analytical reading.  Here is the link to his obituary , who died earlier this year, for kids to read: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689856725, Mass Market Paperback)

Long ago, the Tripods--huge, three-legged machines--descended upon Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods' power. They have no control over their thoughts or their lives. But for a brief time in each person's life--in childhood--he is not a slave. For Will, his time of freedom is about to end--unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists. The Tripods trilogy follows the adventures of Will and his cohorts, as they try to evade the Tripods and maintian their freedom and ultimately do battle against them. The prequel, When the Tripods Came, explains how the Tripods first invaded and gained control of the planet.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:37 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Young Will Parker and his companions make a perilous journey toward an outpost of freedom where they hope to escape from the ruling Tripods, who capture mature human beings and make them docile, obedient servants.

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