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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Gladwell, Malcolm: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking | Main | Colt, Jennifer: The Butcher of Beverly Hills »

Long, Jeff: The Wall

  

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Atria Books © 2006, 296 pages [amazon]
3.5 stars

Hugh Glass and Lewis Cole have returned in their fifties to chase their youth up the sheer granite walls of El Capitan, a mountain they'd met and conquered already thirty-five years earlier. Hugh is in fact something of a legend among climbers, having blazed the Ansazi trail up El Cap in 1968. The two friends mean to follow the Ansazi to the summit once again, leaving their demons behind them--or so they think--but their climb is plagued by bad luck, bad weather, and worse portents. Immediately before their departure a young woman, one of three attempting to carve a new trail up the mountain, had plunged to her death from a half mile up. Her accident and the rescue mission mounted to find her climbing partners will turn out to embroil Hugh and Lewis in situations that threaten their lives and sanity.

The two friends mean to follow the Ansazi to the summit once again, leaving their demons behind them--or so they think--but their climb is plagued by bad luck, bad weather, and worse portents.Jeff Long, the author of The Wall, is himself a veteran climber, and his expertise is apparent on the page. His discussions of the gadgetry and ethos of climbing ring true. The passages in which Long describes Hugh and Lewis's ascent of the rock are crisp in their detail, though readers who are unfamiliar with the sport may be bewildered by the climbing jargon which punctuates the text, and which Long mostly leaves unexplained.

Long serves up his characters' back story--highly relevant, as it turns out--in small doses. Both Hugh and Lewis had met their wives at El Cap. Hugh had lost his to Alzheimer's and an incident in the deserts of Saudi Arabia; Lewis was about to lose his to divorce. But most of the story is given over to the climb, to very specific descriptions of their progress up the wall, and to the physical and mental tolls exacted on them by El Cap. Long manages to make the climb interesting enough to sustain the read, but The Wall is not really a "thriller," as the book is touted, until its last hundred or so  pages. Then the demons, real or imagined, that have been pursuing the men during the climb catch up to them. Readers will be surprised by the book's denouement, and will leave The Wall wondering how much of what happened was in the protagonists' minds and how much was real.

Climbing enthusiasts in particular will enjoy Long's account of Hugh and Lewis's passage up El Capitan, but armchair adventurers of all stripes will want to give The Wall a look.

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.