In The White Tower, James Ramsey Ullman turns several familiar themes inside out and upside down.
The result is World War II adventure story that appeals even to sedentary readers like me.
The White Tower by James Ramsey Ullman
Lippincott, 1945. 479 pages. 1945 bestseller # 4. My grade: B+.
While friends arrange to slip him out of the country, Martin poses as a tourist. He organizes a group to climb the village side of Weissturm, the White Tower, which has never been scaled.
Besides Martin, the group includes an aging British geologist, a depressed French writer, an arthritic Alpine guide, an Austrian woman separated from her Nazi husband, and a German solider who is also a renowned mountain climber.
Sounds like a set-up for a Hollywood movie, doesn’t it?
Well, Ullman avoids that trap. No clichés for him.
Characters are well-drawn.
Action is tense.
Mountain settings are shiveringly vivid.
Contemporary readers may find the occasional German and French phrases difficult — today’s readers lack the language skills our 1940’s forebears had — but I could usually get the gist.
Whatever your linguistic skills, The White Tower remains a great book to climb into bed with.
© 2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni