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Item #: BK216-789
BURGESS BOOK OF LIES. Adrian and Alan Burgess 1998 Paperback
By Burgess, Adrian and Alan.
Price: $7.95

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1994. 463 pp, color photos. The Burgess twins have led controversial climbing careers. They describe epics on Logan, Everest, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna IV, Cho Oyu, K2. Mostly the truth, but who knows? Fine to New Paperback. 

Full of humor and drama, this is a great read for climbers and armchair adventurers alike. The Burgess brothers are two of mountaineering's most well-known personalities. Stories from major climbs all over the world. Bad-boy identical twins Adrian and Alan Burgess have climbed together from the Alps to the Himalayas, from Patagonia to McKinley.

They began climbing as youngsters in their native Yorkshire. Three decades later, they have become legends in the international climbing community, renowned not only for their strength and skill on the world's most challenging peaks but also for the raucous energy and devil-may-care exuberance they exhibit off the mountain.
 
Follow them on their many adventures: Summiting a 20,000 foot peak alone, without any rope, shedding crampons for the last thirty feet. Inciting a barroom brawl, the air full of flying chairs, potted plants, and bottles. Suspended from a cornice as an avalanche explodes above, almost vomiting from fright, terrified the ropes will be cut.
 
Standing helpless as a Sherpa sweeps past, a mere arm's length away, to death far below. Settling down to a life of foxhunts and debutante balls in Colorado, sans pedigree. Their tales, some tall, all juicy, are full of humor, passion and poignancy, reflecting their commitment to living life to the fullest.

REVIEW by Steve Roper, from “American Alpine Journal” 1995, p. 346-348:
 
“The Burgess twins, known to all as Aid and Al became renegades shortly after their joint entrance into the cruel world. During the mid-1960s these tall Yorkshire lads cut school to go climbing, stole books from libraries, and, a few years later in France, crowed when friends snatched expensive pastries from a 'big, fat lady [who] was not very mobile and a little slow.' 'Harmless' little pranks such as stealing emergency food from lifeboats, placing boulders on railroad tracks, and stealing an Alfa-Romeo for a 200-mile trip through Piemonte made the twins lust for higher goals. So they broke into a winterized Alpine hut and swilled so many bottles of stolen Bordeaux that the next morning, a perfect day for climbing, they nursed hideous hangovers. (…)

Luckily for the reader, the twins grow up and foist their aggressions onto objects, not people—the objects in this case being rock and ice. (…)

If you are able to plow through these predictable early years, forgive lifeless and confusing prose, and ignore typographical errors beyond count (almost every foreign word is misspelled), then you're in for a treat, for the last one-third of the book improves dramatically.
As we join the brothers' struggles on K2, Everest, and other behemoths, their prose becomes well-written and believable, as if a ghostwriter had stepped in. No more pranks, no more joking: the twerps finally evolve into human beings. The Burgesses’ thoughts on Sherpa culture, death in the mountains, and motives for climbing are presented thoughtfully and honestly; one actively begins to hate the book's title and the early chapters. (…)

Overall, this is a lightweight autobiography, full of lazy writing and fuzzy gray photographs (plus a few good color ones). It is far too long; I suspect that the brothers wished to dwell on their 'bad-boy' image as long as possible—this is what they are notorious for, not their climbing. Had the twins, well-meaning fellows who obviously love the heights, omitted the relatively minor adventures of their youth, taken a few writing lessons along the way, and found a publisher who would agree to spring for a skilled copy editor—then this could have been a real winner.”

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