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Before his 30th birthday, Bradford Washburn was already a legendary mountaineer, completing four major first ascents on his way to becoming "the greatest mountaineer in Alaskan history." Soon after, Washburn took over the creaky New England Museum of Natural History, which by his retirement in 1980, had become the renowned Boston Museum of Science. Washburn (1910-2007) was also an innovative cartographer as well as a self-taught photographer whose aerial shots garnered major acclaim. A longtime friend of Washburn and a former mountaineer, Roberts (No Shortcuts to the Top) is an ideal candidate for writing Washburn's biography, but the book lacks the depth of compelling biographies. Roberts's decision to extensively profile Washburn's various expeditions (and those of others) offers no insight on the man, while contributing to the book's glacial pace. Roberts obviously has nothing but admiration for Washburn and his accomplishments, but that inhibits opportunities to examine the dark side of Washburn's personal life-his responsibility for a fatal plane crash in 1938; son Ted's inappropriate behavior with high school students that divided the family-which are almost glossed over. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.