High ranking in the annals of mountaineering is this superb account of the Italian team's ascent of the problem peak, Gasherbrum IV, in the summer of 1960. This has a flair characteristic of the French and the Italians -- quite different from the more sober, under- dramatized reporting of the English. And yet one has no sense of hyperbole, just a sensitivity to the beauties, an awareness of the perils, an acceptance of the emotional tensions involved. Maraini, gifted historian, raconteur, photographer -- and no mean climber himself, gives a quality of vitality and hazard to the daily drama of the record. There is another factor, unique in stories of individual ventures- and that is the broad sweep of knowledge of the ethnic history of Raltistan, the chronology of successive ventures in the western Himalayas, the paralleling of the American climb of Gasherbrum I and the Japanese on Chogolisa undertaken almost simultaneously. Good adventure good documentary with photographs, charts, diagrams and maps- well over one hundred of them.