By Robert Macfarlane
Macfarlane combines stories of his own experiences summiting mountains with a history of mountain climbing. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, man saw mountains as ugly: God's mistakes that got in the way of us going from point A to point B. As Macfarlane explains, it was relatively recently that we began to think of them as "majestic" or "sublime." I'm also fascinated by the way that mountains can possess people. On some level, I understand that—not the need to conquer, but the hunger. And the risks that one is willing to take in order to have what one wants.