Strange and Dangerous Dreams: The Fine Line Between Adventure and Madness (Hardback)
  • Strange and Dangerous Dreams: The Fine Line Between Adventure and Madness (Hardback)
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Strange and Dangerous Dreams: The Fine Line Between Adventure and Madness (Hardback)

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£17.99
Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 01/10/2006
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Adventurers are among the world's most celebrated heroes, but cross a line and potential glory can become derision, madness and death. This title explores the darker psychological drama behind the exploits of eleven adventurers, famous and lesser-known. It is written by a practicing clinical psychologist. The accounts include heretofore unpublished information provided by archival witnesses, friends, and family. Every culture, in every era, has its adventure myths: The golden hero willing to walk through fire elevates us all beyond our fears and limits. But more often than readily seen, there are darker reasons for dangerous pursuits. Where does the fall line between adventure and madness? Geoff Powter, a practicing clinical psychologist, looks into the stories of eleven troubled adventurers, divided into three categories: The Burdened, The Bent, and The Lost. Polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott has been called a "willing martyr" ready to die for the mystical deliverance of adventure. Meriwether Lewis, convinced that he had failed to achieve the objectives set by mentor and father figure, Thomas Jefferson, died by his own hand. Maurice Wilson's plan for climbing Everest included deliberately crashing his plane as high as possible on the mountain. Jean Batten was a remarkably driven early aviator whose clothes and make-up were always more perfect than her flying technique. Polar balloonist, Solomon Andree was certain that his rigorous understanding of scientific principles would overcome any challenge posed by nature or equipment failure. Aleister Crowley, a brilliant mountaineer who founded the Golden Dawn cult, was labeled pathologically, and even fatally, arrogant. In each of these stories, darkness of some kind - ambition, ego, a thirst for redemption, the need to please others - carried these characters in a perilous direction. In the end, understanding these difficult but utterly human stories helps us comprehend the deepest purpose and allure of adventure, and, ultimately, to more honestly measure ourselves.

Publisher: Mountaineers Books
ISBN: 9780898869873
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 526 g
Dimensions: 228 x 152 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"A recommended read for people with a passion for adventure and history"--The Midwest Book Review
"Psychological probe meets adventure story in a collection highly recommended for general library acquisition"--California Bookwatch
A clinical psychologist, Powter locates suspense in the lives the adventurers lived long before they took extreme risks. Avoiding both minute analysis and modern mythmaking, he balances historical reporting with gentle speculation in a book that reads like an excellent PBS documentary.--Utne Reader
Gives the adventure crowd some exciting stories, turbulent heroes, and mixed motivations to ponder.--Associated Press
A collection of fascinating -- if somewhat misguided-souls.--Louisville Courier-Journal
Powter's a good writer ... The individual stories are compelling.--Seattle Times
Powter retells the rise and fall of a rogue's gallery of misadventurers -- some still infamous, others long forgotten -- with the casual aplomb of a barstool raconteur. As their tales come to life, though, the author complicates our vision of these outdoor obsessives with psychological insights into their characters and the very nature of adventure.--Banff Mountain Book Award jury
"Strange and Dangerous Dreams gives the adventure crowd some exciting stories, turbulent heroes and mixed motivations to ponder"--Everett WA Herald
The insightful compilation of eleven cautionary tales will appeal to readers who want to know not only what makes this planet's foremost risk-takers tick, but also if that incessant drumbeat of time presages an anticlimactic winding down or ominously marks the moments before an inevitable implosion.--ForeWord
"Rather than summit the high points of adventure in history, Powter deftly explores the canyons and crevasses of the soul."--Grand Forks Herald
Powter brings an impressive range of skills to this book...This book deserves to be widely read.--Gripped
Powter's a good writer...The individual stories are compelling.--Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Well-written profiles.--Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"The adventurers chosen for this volume have come up short in the basics of exploration, and in analyzing them Powter raises some interesting questions we all should consider before setting forth on our next grand adventure."--The Explorers Journal
The author combines his expertise and sense of adventure to produce many riveting accounts that both educate and captivate the reader. Highly recommended.--Library Journal
Powter has written an engrossing account of the motivations of 13 adverturers ... and in analyzing them (he) raises some interesting questions we all should consider before setting forth on our next grand adventure.--Explorers Journal

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