Big Shots

Steve House on the south face of Nuptse, Nepal, in 2002 (Marko Prezeli)
Nepal

Bivouac jam sessions. A young Yvon Chouinard at work in Yosemite. Topless climbing in Mexico in the eighties. A generation of Patagonia Inc.'s iconoclastic photography comes packaged in the new coffee-table thumper Unexpected: 30 Years of Patagonia Catalog Photography (Patagonia, $50). The highlights are too many to count, but Corey Rich's photo of climber Fred Beckey hitchhiking with a will belay for food sign is worth the price.

Behind Enemy Lines

Required Reading

A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides
A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides

For New York Times reporter David Rohde, being kidnapped by an Afghan Taliban commander he had arranged to interview in November 2008 was both the worst-case outcome of a reckless decision and a fantastic opportunity—he survived, after all. "In Iraq and Afghanistan ... the reporter who took the greatest risk often received the highest acclaim," writes Rohde in the resulting memoir, A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides (Viking, $27). "Ambition had gotten the best of me." Co-authored with his wife, former Cosmopolitan photo director Kristen Mulvihill, the book is actually three narratives: the war history Rohde had nearly completed when he was abducted; the story of his captivity; and Mulvihill's stateside dispatches, which tell the story of the futile U.S. government campaign to negotiate his release. Rohde's account of his escape is thrilling: he and his fixer, Tahir, slipped over a wall with a rope in the night. But the book is most valuable for its rare look into the lives of the Taliban fighters who kept Rohde captive. Few Americans have ever been so deep and lived to tell about it.

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