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Home » Books » Travel » Travel Writing

Killing Dragons

The Conquest of the Alps

By Fergus Fleming

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Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 22 August 2001
'Here be dragons', said the old maps. In the late 18th century a few brave men started to venture up the mountains of Switzerland to discover the secrets hidden in their snowy peaks. They took with them wine and brandy, wore ordinary shoes and had no protective clothing. Then the British arrived: a gallery of strange, obsessive explorers bent on conquering every Alpine summit. 'Mountaineering' was born. Killing Dragons is a funny, wicked and witty history of the conquest of the Alps: full of wonderful and quite mad characters, it is impossible to put down.

About the Author

Fergus Fleming is a freelance writer living in London W8 and Gloucestershire. Educated at Oxford University and City University, London, he trained as an accountant and barrister and has worked as a furniture maker. Fergus is also the author of Amaryllis, a portrait of his aunt, and of several children's books. His recent non-fiction book Barrow's Boys, is published by Granta Books.


'Fleming shins up the sheer face of Alpine exploration...[and] is excellent at the detail, excitement and danger of specific climbs.' Literary Review; '[A] richly entertaining as well as highly informative read. Highly recommended.' Focus; '[Fleming] has now corne up with another equally stirring tale...a stylistic equivalent of the modern athlete-climber, leaping from peak to narrative is hard to imagine the story of men and mountains being told with more gusto.' Sunday Telegraph; 'The story [is] as engrossing as any novel. Its wit and erudition make me think I'll never look at a glacier in the same way. [He] leaves us wanting more. Which, of course, after this excellent book, we do.' Scotland on Sunday; 'Fleming attacks his theme with verve, mining entertainment from eccentric Alpinists, sensational ascents and grisly accidents.' Food and Travel Magazine; 'Fergus Fleming kicks off his book as he continues - by spinning one ripping yarn after another, gleaned from exhaustive research into contemporary accounts.' Daily Telegraph; 'Fergus Fleming['s]...excellent book...[is] a tremendously exciting...account of the mountaineers and their adventures. Fleming tells a ripping good yarn, of which there are dozens in the annals of Alpinism.' Times Literary Supplement; ' is hard to picture the unassailable, mysterious Alps of the past, but in Fleming's book, they come to glorious life...[a] wonderful book...' Evening Standard; 'Fleming's latest is great fun. An invigorating read' Time Out; 'Killing Dragons is more scientifically alluring and anecdotally toothsome than most travel books, as well as being riddled with improbably hilarious tales of doomed Brits striding up the Matterhorn in boating blazers' Tim Moore, Daily Mail; 'Fergus Fleming [has] an eye for a good story, an appalling scandal or disaster, a savoury fact or intriguing character' The Independent

EAN: 9781862074538
ISBN: 1862074534
Publisher: Granta Books
Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 centimetres (0.25 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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