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The Voice of America, Lowell Thomas

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    The Museum owes much to Lowell Thomas and his family; his son, Lowell Jr. was one of the earliest supporters of the museum, providing the funding for the ‘Lowell Thomas Theater.’ Hanging on the wall is Peter McIntyre’s well-known painting of Lowell among the mountains, skins over his shoulder, that also graced the cover of Lowell’s 1964 Book of the High Mountains, one of the twenty-six that were presented to the library. And now Mitchell Stephens has written the first biography of America’s radio superstar of the 1930s.

     In the ski history world, we know of Lowell’s passion for the sport; we know how he broadcast live from America’s new skiing centers: Cannon Mountain and Cranmore, Stowe and Aspen; we know how he objected to the dogmatic instructors from Europe insisting on the necessity of exactness of each telemark turn and Christie, of knees bent just so, of poles correctly planted; they were turning skiing into a discipline when it really was a joy! We can understand all this much better with Mitchell Stephens’ book in hand. Lowell was the man who brought us Lawrence of Arabia and, in 1949, interviewed the 14-year old Dalai Lama in Tibet. He was a story teller supreme and an indefatigable adventurer. It was his “blazing unquentionable ambition” that brought him fame and we can now understand much better the man who gave himself the 50th birthday present of skiing over the Tuckerman Headwall, of pulling out all stops to help the Marquis degli Albizzi. The book is vital for an understanding of this Pied Piper of American skiing and it is an excellent companion piece to Rick Moulton’s documentary film of Lowell.

Available in hardback from the museum for $26 plus postage.

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