"I revel in that special...uncertainty of the outcome,
Regardless of skill, that is experienced during the bond of indulging
Ourselves in...dangerous sheer joy of climbing,"

This book of poems and musings delivers whiffs of the rarefied atmosphere that mountain climbers breathe. Hardy souls, like the author, thrive whether they ascend to the summit or wisely descend in safety. The lives of mountaineers depend on their roped partners, toe holds, and pegs pounded into rock walls as they climb beside ridges with mountain goat views. Avalanches, glacier crevasses, and frostbite are hazards of snow country. Miles of loose scree and less dense air challenge the last miles. This book describes climbing a volcano and crossing the Continental Divide. Ultimate views from a summit have made it worthwhile for both the author and famous climbers, such as Muir, Mallory, and Alexander. At the Vale of Kashmir, the latter wept that there were "no more worlds to conquer."

With life often lived close to the line, Goldman acknowledges that mountaineers accept the vagaries of time mentioned in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He describes the climber's call as fulfilling the work of creation by traveling where nature left "a blank on the map" and then finding meaning in this hidden corner. As a talented practicing lawyer, now retired, Goldman skillfully stages his arguments, analyzes the mountain's likely replies, and anticipates emotional responses that will assault his readers along the dangerous climb to the top. Of his seventy-three offerings in this revised version, some poems rhyme, and others are written in rhythmic blank verse. Goldman's analytical mind tends to wrap the last stanza/sentence into a dramatic summation. For example, he ends one poem, despite the failings expressed within it, with the poignant line, "We have not lost our way on the trip to the top."

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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