Books of the week
Little-known Museums in and around
(Abrams, pounds 13.95) by Rachel Kaplan. No Londoners, or visitors to London ,
will have the excuse to waste their rainy Sunday afternoons again. This illustrated
book is a detailed guide to 30 museums in and around London ,
few of which I had even heard of - from Dr Johnson's House to the Tea and London .
The only surprise is that "around Coffee Museum "
can extend as far as London . Cambridge
Nansen: The Explorer as Hero (Duckworth, pounds 25 hardback, published 23 October) by Roland Huntford. Forget Scott:
had its own failed-to- reach-the-Pole hero in the 19th century, in the form of
Fridtjof Nansen, who spent three years clambering about the Norway Arctic
before turning back, 230 miles short of his goal. The black and white photos of
men in ice are superb, but the book is as interesting for its account of
Nansen's post-polar depression as it is for its tales of frostbite and bears.
The Death Zone (
pounds 16.99 hardback, published 2 October) by Matt Dickenson. Another account
of the disastrous Everest climbing season of May 1996, written by one who
successfully returned from the summit having filmed his experience. Even to the
extent of climbing over the frozen corpses of the week before's storm,
Dickenson brings out splendidly the sheer terror at the heart of the whole
mountain climbing project. Hutchinson
The Traveller's Handbook (Wexas, pounds 14.99 hardback) edited by Miranda Haines. A compilation for the serious travel enthusiast, comprising around 100 essays on every aspect of travel, from the specialist ("The Diabetic Traveller" by Robin Perlstein) to the dramatic ("Surviving a Hijack" by Mike Thexton) to the mundane ("Motor Concessionaires and Agents" by Colin McElduff). The 300-page directory at the end of solid travel listings is an invaluable asset.