The passing of broadcaster and author Alastair Borthwick on September 25, 2003, impacted many people around the world who knew him personally or who had enjoyed his work that includes the books Always a Little Further and Sans Peur. One of the reasons why these books that were published by the Scottish author who was born in 1913 was because they managed to capture the humanity in the experiences that he chronicled. While Always a Little Further is a book that was published in 1939 about the world of climbing in Europe, it didn’t just speak about the sport itself. Alastair Borthwick shared with the world the experiences in climbing that he had with the many people that he met along the way. While he may have only met some of them in passing, their impact will forever be chronicled in his work.
Always a Little Further is considered a classic in the genre, but Sans Peur became a classic as well as it told the story of World War II from the true perspective of someone who served on the front lines. While war is always going to be terrifying, Alastair Borthwick managed to describe the humanity and brotherhood that was found in one of the darkest and most terrifying situations that the world has ever faced. While Sans Peur was first published in 1946 after he had returned from the war, it was republished under the name of Battalion many years later in 1994.
Despite both books being decades old, they are still put into publication quite often and are both seen as important works in their respective genres. While those who aren’t familiar with the sport of climbing may not understand the cultural impact that it had at the time, its impact on society was significant. When Alastair Borthwick was first introduced to the sport, it had still mainly been seen as something that the well off were known to do but it was becoming something that almost anyone could enjoy despite financial limitations.