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The White Mountains (The Tripods #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  9,120 Ratings  ·  677 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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Philosophical Science Fiction
77th out of 248 books — 196 voters
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Best Books of 1967
40th out of 100 books — 38 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
May 22, 2015 Apatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tripods are cool, imagine these fearsome engines stomping around your neighborhood. They are not very practical though are they? Three legs don’t seem to be a very stable locomotive arrangement. The aliens came from light years away can they not spring for some aircrafts or something on wheels? At least double the number of legs for God’s sake!

When I first heard of this series I thought it was some kind of unofficial sequel to Wells’ awesome classic The War of the Worlds. Well, now I know it is
Apr 03, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bob Redmond
Feb 21, 2009 Bob Redmond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
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,
Given the time this book was written and target audience it could be a 4 star.
The idea certanly gets 5 though.
Jackie "the Librarian"
Oct 17, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Philippa Dowding
Jan 28, 2016 Philippa Dowding rated it it was amazing
I've been cleaning my way through my office. Last week I scored: Way at the bottom of the bookshelf, deeply hidden, was this book AND the rest of the trilogy. The originals from my childhood! I absolutely loved this series as a child, I read it at about 11, and I couldn't wait to re-read it this weekend. I'm happy to say the story held up for me, and not just because of nostalgia. A favourite book is a very delicate memory thread to your childhood self. I remembered most of it, had brain-tingly ...more
Erik Graff
Aug 09, 2012 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing
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
Farnaz Ps
Jun 07, 2016 Farnaz Ps rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: فانتزیها
مردم این را هم مثل خیلی چیزهای دیگر، به عنوان حقیقت زندگی پذیرفته بودند. ولی ما دیگر اینطور فکر نمیکردیم. ما داشتیم کم کم به پرسش عادت میکردیم و هر شک و تردیدی که در ذهنمان شکل میگرفت، یک امتیاز مثبت به نفع ما، در برابر دیگران بود.
متوجه شدم که چگونه هر چیز خوبی میتواند با اجبار، مفهوم خودش را از دست بدهد. آخر، بدون ذهنی آزاد که در اختیار صاحبش باشد، دیگر شجاعت چه ارزشی داشت؟
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
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
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
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

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
Ahmad Sharabiani
رمانهای چهارگانه جان کریستوفر مجموعه سه پایه ها جلد اول- کوههای سفید
The white mountains (The Tripods #1), John Christopher
عنوان: کوههای سفید، از مجموعه چهارگانه های جان کریستوفر؛ نوشته: جان کریستوفر؛ مترجم: ثریا کاظمی؛ چاپ نخست، تهران، کانون پرورش فکری کودکان و نوجوانان، 1349؛ در 208 ص؛
عنوان: کوههای سفید، از مجموعه چهارگانه های جان کریستوفر؛ نوشته: جان کریستوفر؛ مترجم: مهرداد تویسرکانی؛ تهران، قدیانی، کتابهای بنفشه، 1386؛ در 199 ص؛ شابک: 9789644179143؛
Feb 08, 2016 Nafise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
این کتاب رو وقتی راهنمایی بودم از کتابخونه مدرسه گرفتم و خوندم. خیلی دوسش داشتم ولی اسمش یادم رفته بود. چندین بار با اسم های مختلف سرچ کردم ولی نتیجه نگرفتم تا اینکه اتفاقی یاد کلمه کلاهک افتادم و با سرچ کرنش اسم کتاب رو پیدا کردم. من فقط همین کتاب رو خونده بودم ولی گویا سه گانه است و جان کریستوفر بعدها یک کتاب دیگه هم به عنوان مقدمه برای این سه گانه اش نوشته. خلاصه که خیلی کیف کردم از خوندن دوباره ش
Aug 04, 2016 Hamid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
یاد روزهای نوجوانی کردم و دوباره خوندمش. اون زمان حتما بهش پنج میدادم ولی خب الان فرق میکنه :)
Oct 25, 2015 Thom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow missed this series when I was a kid; really enjoyed this author's The Death of Grass and thought the prequel novel was pretty good too.

Teen Will lives in a world that has regressed considerably due to the foreign influence of the Tripods. In a society without serious science or decent propulsion, Will is certain of only one thing - he doesn't want to be "Capped". Nobody in this book knows what the caps do, but they suspect an unswerving loyalty to the overlord aliens.

Will escapes to the
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
Jul 08, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
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.
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
May 23, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boys, scifi
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
Oct 26, 2011 07CameronW rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 12, 2013 Christian rated it liked it
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
Apr 12, 2011 Katharine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, ya
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
Parisa Assar
May 02, 2016 Parisa Assar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The White Mountains is the first in the dystopian Tripods series by John Christopher that chronicles Will Parker's unlikely adventures as a fledgling rebel against the Tripods which rule the earth. In the first book, it is never fully explained if the Tripods are an alien race, robots, or some human technology gone awry - this adds to the mystery and suspense of the book as Will must decide whether he will attend his Capping ceremony which will make him beholden to the Tripods for the rest of hi ...more
[Name Redacted]
First Read: Sometime between 1989 and 1999, I believe...
Second Read: 8/1/2015 - 8/8/2015
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Sam Youd was born in Lancashire in April 1922, during an unseasonable snowstorm.

As a boy, he was devoted to the newly emergent genre of science-fiction: ‘In the early thirties,’ he later wrote, ‘we knew just enough about the solar system for its possibilities to be a magnet to the imagination.’

Over the following decades, his imagination flowed from science-fiction into general novels, cricket nove
More about John Christopher...

Other Books in the Series

The Tripods (4 books)
  • When the Tripods Came (The Tripods, #0.5)
  • The City of Gold and Lead (The Tripods, #2)
  • The Pool of Fire (The Tripods, #3)

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“If one is seeking reasons for disloyalty, it is useful to find something one can resent.” 3 likes
“...nothing was of value, without a mind that challenged and inquired.” 1 likes
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