45 books like First on the Rope

By Roger Frison-Roche,

Here are 45 books that First on the Rope fans have personally recommended if you like First on the Rope. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Tramp Abroad

Stephen O'Shea Author Of The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond

From my list on the Alps from a history and travel writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history and travel writer, I had always heard the siren song of the Alps. Deciding to try (unsuccessfully) to ignore my fear of heights, I take a hair-raising tour across most of the highest passes of the Alps, through France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. So many boundaries crossed: linguistic, religious, historical, political, even culinary. I learned the Alps are not a monolith, they are a polyphony.

Stephen's book list on the Alps from a history and travel writer

Stephen O'Shea Why did Stephen love this book?

In a travelogue which spends much of its time in the Alps, Twain delivers anecdotes of haplessness that will make readers smile, if not laugh out loud. Twain portrays himself as an American naif who thinks he understands everything while actually understanding nothing at all.

By Mark Twain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Tramp Abroad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of The White Spider: The Classic Account of the Ascent of the Eiger

Stephen O'Shea Author Of The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond

From my list on the Alps from a history and travel writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history and travel writer, I had always heard the siren song of the Alps. Deciding to try (unsuccessfully) to ignore my fear of heights, I take a hair-raising tour across most of the highest passes of the Alps, through France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. So many boundaries crossed: linguistic, religious, historical, political, even culinary. I learned the Alps are not a monolith, they are a polyphony.

Stephen's book list on the Alps from a history and travel writer

Stephen O'Shea Why did Stephen love this book?

The monster of the Bernese Alps, the north face of the Eiger (“the Ogre”), a sheer face of rock taunting and tempting intrepid Alpinists, resisted all attempts to climb it until 1938. Prior to that, climbers fell to their deaths with distressing frequency, made even more macabre by an accident of touristic geography that provided a luxury hotel on a nearby hillock with an unobstructed view of the serial catastrophes. The Austrian Herrer at last summited the face in this white-knuckle tale of determination, grit and luck.

By Heinrich Harrer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The White Spider as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic of mountaineering literature, this is the story of the harrowing first ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, the most legendary and terrifying climb in history.

Heinrich Harrer, author of 'Seven Years in Tibet' and one of the twentieth century's greatest mountaineers, was part of the team that finally conquered the Eiger's fearsome North Face in 1938. It was a landmark expedition that pitted the explorers against treacherous conditions and the limits of human endurance, and which many have since tried - and failed - to emulate.

Armed with an intimate knowledge that comes only from first-hand…


Book cover of Terror on the Mountain

Stephen O'Shea Author Of The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond

From my list on the Alps from a history and travel writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history and travel writer, I had always heard the siren song of the Alps. Deciding to try (unsuccessfully) to ignore my fear of heights, I take a hair-raising tour across most of the highest passes of the Alps, through France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. So many boundaries crossed: linguistic, religious, historical, political, even culinary. I learned the Alps are not a monolith, they are a polyphony.

Stephen's book list on the Alps from a history and travel writer

Stephen O'Shea Why did Stephen love this book?

Swiss novelist Ramuz delivers a taut, engrossing tale about Alpine villagers whose decision to tempt fate ends in disaster. Ignoring the pleas of their elders, some young men take their flocks to summer in an upland mountain pasture that is reputed locally to be a cursed place. It turns out that the reputation is well earned.

Book cover of The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919

John Mosier Author Of The Myth of the Great War: A New Military History of World War I

From my list on the other fronts in WW1.

Why am I passionate about this?

Currently a full professor at Loyola University, he entered college at 16, studying chemistry, economics, and literature. He did graduate work in German, Russian, and Philosophy, held a double fellowship in music and literature, and wrote his dissertation on the relationship between historiography and epic poetry. In 2001, his 10th book, The Myth of the Great War was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in history.

John's book list on the other fronts in WW1

John Mosier Why did John love this book?

Even though Italy was one of the “victors,” its participation on the allied side was the cause of the government’s collapse, and the rise Mussolini and the fascisti, with all the calamities that followed.  This book provides a truly horrifying explanation of why that was so.

By Mark Thompson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The White War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In May 1915, Italy declared war on the Habsburg Empire. Nearly 750,000 Italian troops were killed in savage, hopeless fighting on the stony hills north of Trieste and in the snows of the Dolomites. To maintain discipline, General Luigi Cadorna restored the Roman practice of decimation, executing random members of units that retreated or rebelled. With elegance and pathos, historian Mark Thompson relates the saga of the Italian front, the nationalist frenzy and political intrigues that preceded the conflict, and the towering personalities of the statesmen, generals, and writers drawn into the heart of the chaos. A work of epic…


Book cover of One by One

Michelle Prak Author Of The Rush

From my list on thriller books set In eerie, isolated settings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in the world’s most isolated capital city – Perth, Western Australia. Ever since my family packed up and drove across the vast Nullarbor Plain to relocate to South Australia, I’ve been fascinated by our eerie, wide-open spaces. There’s no doubt that family folklore fed into this. My Finnish mother arrived as a ten-year-old, recalling that when she first felt the heat, she thought: “This is hell.” My father and his family arrived from the Netherlands. I love my country, but this continent presents dangers in its arid isolation – all captivating to a storyteller.

Michelle's book list on thriller books set In eerie, isolated settings

Michelle Prak Why did Michelle love this book?

This book has a spellbinding setting and twisting plot that I adored. It’s set inside a luxury lodge in the Alps, cut off by snow. I love snow books and movies—being Australian, it’s so foreign to me, and it’s ideal for the locked room trope.

This novel is told via two POVs: one young woman who works at the ski lodge and one who’s on a tech company work retreat. I admired the way Ware crafts two sympathetic yet suspicious characters. There’s so many puzzles to work out and scrumptious red herrings.

By Ruth Ware,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked One by One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This instant New York Times bestseller and “claustrophobic spine-tingler” (People) from Ruth Ware follows a group of employees trapped on a snow-covered mountain.

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech start-up, organizes…


Book cover of The Kangchenjunga Adventure: The 1930 Expedition to the Third Highest Mountain in the World

Andrew Greig Author Of Summit Fever

From my list on from the other side of the mountain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an under-employed Scottish poet hillwalker when I met a Himalayan mountaineer in a pub. Due to alcohol and a misunderstanding about the metaphorical nature of Poetry, Mal Duff asked me to join an attempt to climb the legendary 24,000ft  Mustagh Tower in the Karakoram. By the time I admitted I had no climbing experience whatsoever and was scared of heights, it was too late. Those Scottish winters’ apprenticeships and following Himalayan expeditions re-shaped my writing life, outlook, and friendships. My books have been shortlisted three times for the Boardman-Tasker Award for outstanding mountaineering literature, for Summit Fever; Kingdoms of Experience (Everest the Unclimbed Ridge); Electric Brae.

Andrew's book list on from the other side of the mountain

Andrew Greig Why did Andrew love this book?

I first read this among my father’s books as a child. I believe he had met Smythe in London in the early 30, thus his signed copy of The Valley of Flowers. This is the quintessential book of that era of passionate amateur climbing and exploration, the age of Shipton and Tilman, of highly knowledgeable and deeply eccentric personalities. The writing is lyrical, just this side of purple, earthed by Smythe’s passion for botany, photography, and close observation. In the true sense of amateur, Kanchenjunga is a great adventure expedition in a time that will not come again. This is the book that prompted me to accept an invitation to climb with an expedition on a serious Himalayan mountain with real mountaineers, despite my lack of experience and hardwired dislike of heights. It changed my life. I like to think Smythe would have approved.

By Frank Smythe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Kangchenjunga Adventure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'We went to Kangchenjunga in response not to the dictates of science, but in obedience to that indefinable urge men call adventure.'

In 1930, an expedition set out to climb the world's third-highest mountain, Kangchenjunga. As yet unclimbed, a number of attempts had been made on the peak, including two in the previous year. The Kangchenjunga Adventure records Frank Smythe's attempts as part of an international team to reach the summit, how a deadly avalanche, which killed one of the sherpas, brought an end to their climb and how they turned their attentions instead to Jonsong Peak, which offered a…


Book cover of Calculated Risk: Adventure and Romance in Scotland and the Alps

Andrew Greig Author Of Summit Fever

From my list on from the other side of the mountain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an under-employed Scottish poet hillwalker when I met a Himalayan mountaineer in a pub. Due to alcohol and a misunderstanding about the metaphorical nature of Poetry, Mal Duff asked me to join an attempt to climb the legendary 24,000ft  Mustagh Tower in the Karakoram. By the time I admitted I had no climbing experience whatsoever and was scared of heights, it was too late. Those Scottish winters’ apprenticeships and following Himalayan expeditions re-shaped my writing life, outlook, and friendships. My books have been shortlisted three times for the Boardman-Tasker Award for outstanding mountaineering literature, for Summit Fever; Kingdoms of Experience (Everest the Unclimbed Ridge); Electric Brae.

Andrew's book list on from the other side of the mountain

Andrew Greig Why did Andrew love this book?

The sole novel left by legendary Scottish mountaineer Dougal Haston - prickly, opinionated, striking, not given to self-doubt, probably the finest all-around climber of his day. It has a great opening when an incensed young ambitious climber barrels his motorbike up the winding Loch Lubnaig road on his way to Glencoe, goes on to include a fictional version of his epic on the Eiger when the great American climber1966  John Harlin fell to his death beside him, and Haston helped rescue a stranded group of climbers and after a week-long drama finally summited the North Face. It is raw, emotional (has a classic climber’s love story), philosophical, full of impatience to climb, to live more. After finishing the first draft in Chamonix, Haston went to ski the same avalanche-prone gully where his central character in the book had been avalanched and miraculously survived – Haston did not. I saw him…

By Dougal Haston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Calculated Risk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When John Dunlop gives Judy Scott a lift to Glencoe on his motorbike, both are surprised when a relationship develops. But for John all passions must be relegated to the demands of the big climb. The focus soon shifts to the Alps where he teams up with the American climber Jack McDonald. Their careful planning goes awry and a major first ascent bid turns into an intense struggle bringing disaster and tragedy. Calculated Risk is a fictional portrayal of the world of mountaineering, of climbing the most demanding routes at a time when climbing was still emerging from its primitive…


Book cover of G.

Tobsha Learner Author Of Quiver

From my list on for when familiarity sets in.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first book was Quiver, a collection of erotic short stories. I wrote it to immortalize the hedonism of Sydney in the 1990s, wanting to show a nonjudgmental, joyful side. The fact that it touched a lot of people compelled me to write two more collections Tremble and Yearn – each exploring different themes: Tremble is an erotic re-imagining of various root myths, whilst Yearn has more historical and fantastical elements. I interweave all the characters in the stories throughout the whole collections. Humor is also important to me when it comes to the ironies and emotions around sex, the other aspect is gender power play and all the sublime reversals that can encapsulate. 

Tobsha's book list on for when familiarity sets in

Tobsha Learner Why did Tobsha love this book?

John Berger was a fantastic cultural observer and art critic, this book is erotic both in its observation of culture and context but also of human fallibility, and psychic and psychological transportation of love itself. It had a big influence on me as an art student and for the brief years when I was a sculptor. What I love about it is its empathy for both the female and male inner erotic life, although it is set in England and Europe at the end of the 19th century, Berger’s razor-sharp, succinct blending of the internal and external world is both moving and sensual. 

By John Berger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked G. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this luminous novel about a modern Don Juan, John Berger relates the story of G., a young man forging an energetic sexual career in Europe during the early years of the last century as Europe teeters on the brink of war.

With profound compassion, Berger explores the hearts and minds of both men and women, and what happens during sex, to reveal the conditions of the libertine's success: his essential loneliness, the quiet cumulation in each of his sexual experiences of all of those that precede it, the tenderness that infuses even the briefest of his encounters, and the…


Book cover of The Path to Rome

Steven Faulkner Author Of Bitterroot: Echoes of Beauty & Loss

From my list on travel that enrich landscape with history.

Why am I passionate about this?

After reading travel books that voyaged beyond mere tourism into the life of the land, its people, and its histories, I found myself longing to launch my own journeys. I took a thousand-mile canoe trip with my son following the 1673 route of the French explorers Marquette and Joliet; I crossed the Rockies with two sons by foot, mountain bike, and canoe following Lewis and Clark and their Nez Perce guides; I took to sea kayak and pontoon boat with a son and daughter, 400 miles along the Gulf Coast in pursuit of the 1528 Spanish Narvaez Expedition. Writing of these journeys gave me the chance to live twice.

Steven's book list on travel that enrich landscape with history

Steven Faulkner Why did Steven love this book?

This may well be my favorite travel book of all time. I have read it several times. Belloc is an opinionated, humorous, deeply insightful writer who, when he was a young man, decided to walk from France, where he had served in the French army, to Rome on a pilgrimage that almost killed him. Each day is a revelation. He passes on to the reader his wonder at his first sight of the distant Alps, his miserable boredom on a long muddy walk in the rain (which he makes funny and engaging by creating a contest with his readers). There are days of exhaustion and joy. His reflections on Europe, tourism, Catholicism, and travel inform and delight, open the mind and open the heart.

By Hilaire Belloc,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Path to Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Path to Rome is one of the most well-loved travel books of the past century. Legendary writer Hilaire Belloc tells of his walk from Southern France to Rome.
But it is so much more than a travelogue. It is a history of Europe, and exploration of the English language, and journey to Christ and His Church. The Path to Rome is both the story of Hilaire Belloc and his path to becoming one of the most celebrated writers of the modern era; and the story of us as Christians, navigating the divide between history and our own age as…


Book cover of The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

Mark Rennella Author Of The One-Idea Rule: An Efficient Way to Improve Your Writing at School and Work

From my list on helping you find and assert your voice in writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mark Rennella has given students and professionals helpful advice about writing throughout his career, most recently as a writing coach for MBA candidates at Harvard Business School. Mark earned a PhD in American history from Brandeis University and has taught literature and American history at Harvard University, the University of Miami, and the University of Tours (France). Mark's books, articles, business case studies, and collaborative writing endeavors have garnered him critical praise from historians, academicians, and business leaders alike. His concept of the “one-idea rule” was included among HBR.org’s ten favorite management tips for 2022 and was featured more recently in Forbes. He currently works as an editor for Harvard Business Publishing.

Mark's book list on helping you find and assert your voice in writing

Mark Rennella Why did Mark love this book?

I read Dickinson in high school and college. Her poetry impressed me with its unique ability to create powerful images and ideas with just a few words:

Our lives are Swiss—
So still—so Cool—
Till some odd afternoon
The Alps neglect their Curtains
And we look farther on!

Her power of imagination was astounding. For somebody who had lived most of her life in a very circumscribed context of the city limits of Amherst, Massachusetts, her poetry was expansive. She achieved amazing heights of artistry even though she was barely recognized during her time. Her poems are a monument to her belief in herself, which is the foundation of creating a compelling and persuasive voice in writing. 

By Emily Dickinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), the reclusive and intensely private poet saw only a few of her poems (she wrote well over a thousand) published during her life. After discovering a trove of manuscripts left in a wooden box, Dickinson’s sister Lavinia, fortunately, chose to disobey Emily’s wishes for her work to be burned after death. With the help of Amherst professors, Lavinia brought her sister’s gifted verse into print. “The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson” brings together the first three series of her posthumous publications which debuted respectively in 1890, 1891, and 1896. It is here in this collection that we…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Alps, mountaineering, and Europe?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Alps, mountaineering, and Europe.

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