Books: Looking Up

ON MOUNTAINS: THINKING ABOUT TERRAIN by John Jerome Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 262 pages; $8.95

Last year John Jerome became a counterculture hero with the publication of Truck, an earthy account of his yearlong effort to rehabilitate a 1950 Dodge pickup. Now he turns his restive mind to loftier topics. On Mountains wittily bypasses the customary because-it-is-there rationale to examine the fascination and terror of peaks and promontories.

Jerome grew up in Houston, 50 ft. above sea level. He saw no real mountains until his late teens. Once he did, he was hooked. As he...

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