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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446409480
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 384

The Villain

The Life of Don Whillans

Joint Winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize 2005 and Winner of the Banff Mountaineering History Award 2005.

A fascinating and thought-provoking biography of a climbing legend.

Don Whillans has an iconic significance for generations of climbers. His epoch-making first ascent of Annapurna's South Face, achieved with Dougal Haston in 1970, remains one of the most impressive climbs ever made - but behind this and all his other formidable achievements lies a tough, recalcitrant reality: the character of the man himself.

Whillans carried within himself a sense of personal invincibility, forceful, direct and uncompromising. It gave him sporting superstar status - the flawed heroism of a Best, a McEnroe, an Ali. In his own circle, his image was the working-class hero on the rock-face, laconic and bellicose, ready to go to war with the elements or with any human who crossed his path on a bad day.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446409480
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 384

About the Author

Jim Perrin

Jim Perrin is one of Britain's most highly regarded travel writers and was one of the best British rock-climbers - with many new routes, significant solo ascents and free ascents at the top standards of the day. He is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph, Climber, The Great Outdoors and broadcasts regularly on radio. His biography, Menlove, was the first outright winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize, for which all of his subsequent books have been shortlisted. Travels with the Flea and Other Eccentric Journeys was published to critical acclaim in 2002.

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Praise for The Villain

“A packed and entertaining book . . . Exhaustively researched and beautifully written”

M. John Harrison, The Guardian

“Wonderfully crafted . . . One of the most gifted chroniclers of mountaineering . . . Perrin records it all with a subtle sympathy, laying bare British mountaineering's most mythologized figure”

The Independent

“An extraordinarily rich and unsentimental vision . . . The genius of this exceptional biography is that it articulates both sides of Whillans' character . . . It is by turns funny and tragic . . . This is a fine book. It was worth the wait”


“Compelling, beautifully written . . . There could not have been a better writer qualified to tell it”

Ed Douglas, Climber

“A kind of modern tragedy . . . Yet for all his failings, Whillans remains a legend”


“Created an enduring, breathtaking legend”

The Glasgow Herald

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