At the heart of the Aleutian archipelago, five long days into the heart of the frigid Bering Sea, lie the Islands of Four Mountains. Mythical home of the Aleut people, this isolated, storm-tossed world is a realm of snow-capped volcanoes trailing plumes of steam, whipped by gale-force winds, or wrapped in thick fog. Here is where the kayak was born - and it is in kayaks that Jon Bowermaster and his three companions return. A tale of life-or-death adventure and authentic exploration, 'Birthplace of the Winds' pits four men and two boats against some of the world's most forbidding weather; the result is a unique chronicle of nature at her most powerful and beautiful, and of our own ancient instinct to challenge our world - and ourselves.
Publishers Weekly Review
Bowermaster (The Adventures and Misadventures of Peter Beard in Africa) admits that he is known "more as a ‘writer‘ than as an ‘adventurer.‘ " And indeed, his superb reporting and storytelling abilities animate and intensify this account of his 25-day kayaking and mountaineering trip through Alaska's Aleutian Islands with four other trekkers. In the glut of Alaskan adventure books of the last few years, this one stands out not just because of the remote Islands of Four Mountains. Bowermaster's clear vision and clean prose make for many pleasing, writerly moments: his honest catalogue of his own fear ("A certain amount of fear is good, makes you cautious. But how much is too much, before it becomes crippling?"), his interest in the Aleut inhabitants (though they invented the kayak, "the Aleuts shared little boat-building knowledge from island to island... because they were usually at war") and his ambiguous response to the land ("From a distance, it doesn't seem all bad, especially if you like extremes including lousy weather, tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanoes"). After exploring each island by land and sea and climbing the tallest Aleutian volcano, Bowermaster has produced a remarkable narrative that captures the intense history and beauty of a place most of the world will never visit. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Library Journal Review
This engrossing book tells the story of a 25-day kayaker's adventure in the largely uncharted and unforgiving waters of the Alaskan Islands of the Four Mountains. Part of the Aleutian chain, this remote area of the world promised to provide a unique and challenging experience for Bowermaster and his three companions, with no chance of rescue should the four men become lost, injured, or, as described in the most riveting passage of the book (which turns out to be a dream), roll over in their kayak and suffer hypothermia. Bowermaster, author of numerous books and articles on his adventure travels, has written a detailed, if somewhat repetitive, account of his adventures in Alaska. Replete with fascinating information about the history and society of the Aleuts who once inhabited these abandoned volcanic islands, this energetic travel narrative will appeal to both armchair and active adventurers. Recommended for public libraries. (Photographs not seen.) Linda M. Kaufmann, Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts Lib., North Adams
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.