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The White Mountains (The Tripods #1)

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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  6,561 ratings  ·  505 reviews
Young Will Parker and his companions make a perilous journey toward an outpost of freedom where they hope to escape from the ruling Tripods, who capture mature human beings and make them docile, obedient servants.
Paperback, 214 pages
Published 1970 by Collier Books/Macmillan Publishing (NYC) (first published 1967)
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1984 by George OrwellFlowers for Algernon by Daniel KeyesThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodSolaris by Stanisław LemThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Philosophical Science Fiction
48th out of 246 books — 101 voters
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom StoppardOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezRosemary's Baby by Ira LevinNicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. MassieThe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Best Books of 1967
38th out of 95 books — 31 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
A splendidly written science fiction yarn aimed at the lads and lasses but with enough clever going for it to appeal to older more seasoned readers as well. This is the second novel by John Christopher that I've had the pleasure of consuming and this gent certainly has the prose chops to spin a ripsnorter of a story. My previous experience, the dark, disturbing and fantabulous The Death of Grass), is one of the more under-appreciated apocalyptic SF books I have come across and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ...more
Manny
I read this book when I was about 10, but there's a moment near the beginning that's really stayed with me. It's one of those stories where Earth has been enslaved by alien overlords. There are, however, a few bright points in their miserable existences, and one of these is the annual games, where young athletes compete in a kind of Olympics to pick out the fastest and strongest.

The hero and his best friend are competing. They're both top jocks. They're pretty much certain that they'll win and b
...more
Amanda
This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I've been reading a lot of YA fantasy/SF novels aloud to my husband while he paints his new 40k army. I guess if you're going to dork out and regress, it might as well be all the way. So I pulled this novel out of the vaults--my fifth grade English teacher assigned it as part of an inspired introduction to genre fiction unit. This was our introduction to science fiction. I blame her for launching a number of excessively awkward adolescences. Anyway, th ...more
Amy Sturgis
This young adult dystopian science fiction novel (the first of a trilogy, followed by a prequel) is considered to be a classic, and it's easy to see why. The Tripods (machines? living beings? robots gone wrong? aliens from another world?) rule over the post-apocalyptic Earth, keeping humans in their (faux-medieval) place by means of "capping" them at puberty: that is, surgically implanting metal helmet-like contraptions on people to keep them docile and content. Young Will, the protagonist, flee ...more
Veeral
After being immensely impressed by The Death of Grass by John Christopher, I decided to start his "Tripods" series right away.

Although the primary target for this series are the readers in the young-adult category, it is so unlike today's young-adult books where the post-apocalyptic/dystopian scenario just serves as an inconsequential and poorly developed background for a cheesy romance between hormonally charged teens.

The White Mountains introduces us to the thirteen year old teen protagonist,
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Bob Redmond
One of the best Young Adult authors ever, John Christopher, kicks of his masterwork trilogy with this book about a retro-future in which the world has been colonized by Tripods. Three boys, before undergoing the coming-of-age transformations of Capping Day (incidentally, this has to be the namesake of the Seattle band, remember them?), run away. Will they make it before the tripods find and brainwash them?

It's amazing how much Scott Westerfeld's PRETTIES has borrowed from this series--not that W
...more
Jeremy
I read this trilogy many moons ago and loved it. I've been trying to track the title down for quite some time and finally found it. I'd like to re-read this as an adult to see if it has a broad appeal or more for the young adult crowd.
Erik Graff
Aug 09, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sf fans
Recommended to Erik by: Dorothy Gregory
Shelves: sf
There seems to be some complexity to the Tripod novels and stories written by Christopher (actual name, Samuel Youd). Whatever their order, this book stands by itself as one a reader can begin with, without worrying about what may have been set or composed earlier. It does not, however, tell a full story. The City of Gold and Lead (1967) and The Pool of Fire (1968) complete this particular tale.
While ordinarily regarded as a young adult novel, I did not feel patronized. The protagonist and his
...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Oct 17, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventure loving boys
I was in 6th grade, had just moved to the Seattle area, and was as unhappy as an uprooted, adolescent girl living under perpetually gray skies can be - but this book, read to my class by the teacher, showed me that, hey, it could be worse! I could be on the run, hunted by aliens in giant tripods who wanted to control my brain with a metal cap device on my head. It gave me perspective, you know?
A great introduction to real SF for kids.
Aaron Vincent
Also posted here.

This is not included on my book pool but I’ve decided to start my YA-D2 adventure with one of the oldest Young Adult Dystopia fiction there is. I figured that if we really want to explore the ya dystopia genre, we must trace its roots by reading the first books that is published under the genre. John Christopher’s White Mountains, without a doubt, influenced a lot of dystopian novels being published recently. I think that dystopian authors, even if they haven’t read this, owes a
...more
Jonathan
These books are precious to me. But not the type of precious that requires a little hobbit to come along to my lair in my misty mountain hideout and steal them away, take them across some deserts and throw them into some smoking volcanic mountain. No these are precious for childhood reasons.

I first discovered the pleasure of reading through the power of the Chronicles of Narnia. My mother had a small bookshelf on which was kept all her favourite childhood books and as I learnt to read those were
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for TeensReadToo.com

Centuries ago, the Tripods took over Earth and enslaved mankind. Every human wears a helmet made of metal that makes it so they are controlled by the Tripods. There is a period of time in one's childhood, however, where one is free to think for oneself.

When thirteen-year-old Will is told that there is a place in the mountains where there are people free of the Tripods, he decides he doesn't want to be capped and runs away. Along the way, he is joined by a c
...more
Robin
I read this as a child and vividly remember certain particularly fraught scenes but not the overall plot. I read it again yesterday in one sitting.

This book doesn't age at all -- it just as fresh and readable and compelling as it must have been in 1967 when it was first published. The narrator is young Will Parker, still a child, not yet initiated into adulthood via the mysterious "capping" ceremony, where the child is taken briefly away by towering metal creatures called Tripods and fitted with
...more
Mitchel Broussard
While the premise, set about 100 years in the future where giant three legged machines, the Tripods, control every human on the planet, may seem familiar, the execution is wholly original. What i loved about this set up is that Christopher didn't just go with the normal now-all-of-humanity-is-living-in-fear trope, but the entire other direction. Humans worship the Tripods. They have no choice.

The world is basically in a new Middle Age, with Kings, Nobles, and Knights. Will's village is more unto
...more
Mary
This is the first of my favourite set of books from when I was a child. The books and the TV serials are wonderful memories for me that I like to relive from time to time.

The reason for the current re-read was that they were discussed on Twitter. Myself and Kiraniumbra convinced Jacob and Karode to read the books and watch the tv series. With strict advice to read the books first. It tweaked me into re-reading them myself. So off I went to pick the trilogy and the prequel from my parents' house.
...more
Sara
When my librarian in 6th grade, Mr. Rogers, gave this book to me, it completely captured my imagination. It introduced me to science fiction. It made me want to read the sequel RIGHT NOW. And I haven't read it since then. I was trying to decide what to book talk to elementary and middle schoolers this summer, and I thought -- well, why not do the book that made me excited about reading when I was a kid?

Reading this again was kind of a surreal experience, because it made me realize that I remembe
...more
Laura
The White Mountains is the first of a classic children’s science fiction trilogy that was first published in the 1960’s. In The White Mountains, humans live quaint and old fashioned lives in the shadows of the Tripods, large, mechanical beings who rule above humans. Will, age 13, realizes that he does not want a part in the capping process, a creepy and ceremonial event that is required for all villagers at the age of 14. He realizes that those who have been capped obey the Tripods without quest ...more
07CameronW
Title: The White Mountains
Author: John Christopher
Setting: Futuristic Europe
Story Summary: Sometime in the near future the world is ruled by Tripods. All children are “capped” at the age of 14 when they have a metal cap grafted to their heads and they come under control of the tripods. Will and his Cousin Henry don’t want to be capped so they travel across Europe to go to a new land where there are supposedly no tripods. When they cross the ocean they meet a boy named Jean-Paul who loves to in
...more
Christian
The White Mountains is a Young Adult Dystopian novel which most likely inspired a lot of the current YA Dystopian novels, although I think it itself probably owes quite a bit to The Chrysalids and obviously The War of the Worlds. The book follows the journey of a group of boys as they leave their small town and head to the eponymous White Mountains. Their journey is inspired by the upcoming capping day in which they would have small caps put on the backs of their head making them obedient and co ...more
Katharine
This is the most affect-less YA novel I've ever read. The tone is so remarkably even-keeled; none of the potential disasters last long enough to be frightening; and then disaster is avoided every time. I didn't dislike it -- it's a pleasant enough read, and quick, and at first I found the even tone charming, until it became clear that it was going to remain precisely the same throughout the entire book. I don't understand its enduring popularity, especially in contrast to the much more emotive s ...more
Rebecca Osborne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelsey
I first read this in Mrs. Adams seventh grade Language Arts class many, MANY moons ago. Something made me think of it, and I decided to read it again. This was the first Sci-Fi book I had ever read, and I remembered that I liked trying to decipher what "ancient" relics were being described. Reading it again as an adult, (it was much easier to figure out what those relics were) I enjoyed it just as much. I definitely like John Christopher's style of writing and think it is a great use of language ...more
Sarah
I've re-read a lot of important books from my childhood which turned out to be uninteresting or outright silly to my adult self. This one, which I returned to over and over again in elementary school, I feared would be one of these. The alien mind control theme doesn't usually lend itself to being done well.

Thankfully I was very wrong. I just read the entire trilogy to my 9-year-old and it's well-written and compelling. Some of the philosophical questions it raises may be discussed too explicitl
...more
Connor
Apr 10, 2011 Connor rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Connor by: My dad
This is almost like an upgraded version of The War of the Worlds. It had tripods that ruled the place. These boys are about to be "capped" which means that the Tripods would control them. They have to get away to The White Mountains. It's a very intense story that I read in 7th grade. It's perfect for that age, but it's a great book adults should read too.

I am surprised that this book isn't very popular. It's a great YA book and has a great story. This is the first book in the Tripods series. I
...more
Callie
This is my 10 year-old's first dystopian! We need to celebrate. Where's the cake? She was intrigued by the idea that aliens had come to earth, conquered, and then... nothing. For a long time. All the people know is tripod dominance. A world without even basic knowledge of the technology that's right in front of you was hard for her to comprehend. Like at the end, when the boys try to flee from the tripod by traveling in the river, thinking that it might confuse their scent. I had to explain that ...more
Space
This was one of the best books I've ever read. Even written for children and young adults, the story still holds up, and strikes fear into my heart when I read it. A group of young boys, afraid of being taken captive by the alien invaders, decides to flee to the White Mountains up north, where there is an alliance of freedom-fighters. This is a book of intense adventure, thrill and awesomeness. I would highly recommend it for anyone who has kids who like to read. I want my children to latch onto ...more
Michelle Kelley
This 1960s post-apocalyptic sci fi centers on an earth that is controlled by machines known as Tripods. With the earth's major cities and industries destroyed during the war with the Tripods many years before, present day humans live a very medieval way of life. At the age of 14, humans undergo a Capping ceremony where they are taken by the Tripods and return with a metal cap attached to their heads. We soon realize that the caps make humans docile and compliant and willing to serve the interest ...more
Philip
1. Sum It Up: John Christopher's young adulta novella, The White Mountains, is set in the future where tripods inhabit this earth and control all humans, where the main character, Will, must escpae getting a mind control hat put on his head by running to a fabled place known as the white mountains where tripods cannot go due to cold temperatures and high altitudes. Along his way Will meets friends and discovers that the tripods had a war with humans and recruits two people, Henry and Beanpole, a ...more
Kyleprosperi
“Freedom from the tripods is a choice, and that is a choice I’m going to make”. Will the main character of the story and the narrator. In 2029AD tripods from space come to earth and overtook the entire planet. When the tripods took over earth the tripods “capped” ever human that survived, The Capps were mind controlling devices the tripods wanted the humans to never rebel against them. When every child turned 13 the villages or town had a ceremony and celebrated with joy, the tripods were summon ...more
Lori
I read this book as a child and it had such an impact on me that I continued to talk about it with my sister over the years. It scared me and made me look at 4-legged utility stands differently for the rest of my life. I just re-read 40 years later, and was amazed at the quality of the writing, and thrilled that I was exposed to such quality as a child. I think it still resonates, though time has affected some aspects of the storyline.
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2001324
John Christopher is the pseudonym under which the British science fiction author Samuel Youd has been most successful. Youd has written under the following pseudonyms:
• John Christopher
• Stanley Winchester
• Hilary Ford
• William Godfrey
• Peter Graaf
• Peter Nichols
• Anthony Rye

He is best known for The Tripods trilogy, published under the pseudonym John Christopher.

His novels were popular during the
...more
More about John Christopher...
The City of Gold and Lead (The Tripods, #2) The Pool of Fire (The Tripods, #3) The Death of Grass When the Tripods Came (The Tripods, #4) The Tripods Trilogy (The Tripods, #1-3)

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