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Banner in the Sky

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,028 Ratings  ·  291 Reviews
The Citadel

It stands unconquered, the last great summit of the Alps. Only one man has ever dared to approach the top, and that man died in his pursuit. He was Josef Matt, Rudi Matt's father.

At sixteen, Rudi is determined to pay tribute to the man he never knew, and complete the quest that claimed his father's life. And so, taking his father's red shirt as a flag, he heads
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 15th 1988 by HarperTeen (first published 1954)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 22, 2016 Rowan rated it it was amazing
In this suspenseful story,16 year old Rudi Matt has a dream to climb the unconquered mountain known as the Citadel. But there's just one problem. Because his father Josef Matt died while trying to climb the mountain, his mother and uncle are not allowing him to. In fact, there is no one in Kurtal (Rudi's home town) to climb with because they all have a fear of the Citadel.

While reading this 1955 Newbery Honor, you will see when a famous English mountaineer known as Captain John Winter visits Swi
Manik Sukoco
Jan 01, 2016 Manik Sukoco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sixteen-year-old Rudi Matt works as a hotel dishwasher in the 19th Century Swiss village of Kurtal. Every day of his life he's stared up at the Citadel, the one remaining unclimbed peak in the Alps. Fifteen years ago three men tried that climb. One, the hotel cook who is Rudi's boss, came back crippled. Two were carried down dead: Guide Josef Matt, Rudi's father, and his client, a great English mountaineer.
Rudi understands why his mother forbids him to follow his father's profession, even though
Jack B.
Nov 26, 2012 Jack B. rated it liked it
Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman is a thrilling novel that tells a story about a young boy named Rudi. Rudi wants to climb the infamous mountain the Citadel to pay tribute to his father who died trying. Unfortunately the mountain is big and treacherous and his mother won’t allow it. So the great Captain John Winter convinces his mother to let him climb.Throughout the book, James uses many different writing techniques to capture the audience’s attention. First on page 18, he uses personif ...more
Joshua Massiah
Oct 13, 2014 Joshua Massiah rated it liked it
This story is about a kid named Rudi who wants to climb this large mountain called the Citadel that is close to his hometown. His father was killed on this same mountain yet he continues to try and conquer the mountain. After many failures he sets out on his journey to reach the top of the mountain. Many obstacles are faced while climbing setting Rudi back on trying to be the first person to reach the top of the mountain. After many trails and setbacks, Rudi sticks a flag with his fathers shirt ...more
Apr 14, 2008 Nick rated it it was amazing
Banner in the Sky is an adventure/survival fiction book about a boy on a journey to conquer the Citadel. The setting is a fictional town called Kurtal in the Swiss Alps. The main character is Rudi Matt who is a small and weak sixteen year old boy. Rudi’s dad was a famous mountaineer who died while climbing the Citadel. Rudi saves Captain Winter’s life when he is stuck in a glacier and finds out that Captain Winter also wants to climb the Citadel. Captain Winter and Emil Saxo (a mountain guide) s ...more
Mar 31, 2010 Sheila rated it it was amazing
Great book! This is a book that I would have never picked up to read, but it was in Elyssa home school curriculum. Once Elyssa and I got into the book (it did have a slow start) it was very hard to put down. It was also the type of book that I found myself thinking about when I was not reading the book, which I think is a sign of a good book. Elyssa and I found that we also discussed the book when we were not reading it. It also prompted me to do some research into this first expedition to climb ...more
Sep 16, 2011 Cindy rated it it was amazing
When Joe told me that this was one of his favorite books, I immediately got it at the library and LOVED it! It is a great book about mountain climbing, lots of cool techinical stuff for mountaineers like Joe, yet understandable for those of us with no mountain climbing experience. But it is so much more! It's a beautiful story about conquering fear, working toward a goal, the effects of selfishness and the rewards of selflessness, banding together for the common good, and so much more. In his in ...more
Adam Buchanan
Jul 27, 2016 Adam Buchanan rated it really liked it
I was surprised that it was aimed at elementary school kids. The subject matter and language seemed more advanced than that. There was certainly an intensity to the writing, and I felt I was there climbing along with them.

I liked the very ending especially (where he had disappeared to go and take care of the dishes), for two reasons. One, that despite the times he had been disobedient and had lied to his mother and uncle and shirked his other duties, he had changed. This simple action proved ag
Brandon Barnes
Jun 24, 2015 Brandon Barnes rated it really liked it
Although the reading level of James Ramsey Ullman’s “Banner in the Sky” is somewhere in the sixth grade range, I very much enjoyed it all the same as a mid-twenties adult. Mountain climbing books have actually been a pleasure of mine for some time. I loved Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air,” Ed Viesturs “K2” along with several others. Typically I don’t wander into the realm of non-fiction texts, but there is something riveting about men against mountains. The conditions encountered tens of thousands ...more
May 03, 2011 Matt rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Matt by: Teacher
I've read this book before, and I have always loved it. A teacher back in middle school made us read this book and it has always stuck with me. Sometime last year I purchased this book and it has been sitting on my shelf for some time. I am currently re-reading it and I am enjoying just as much as I did when I had read it years ago. If you like adventure books and maybe books about foreign places, this is the book for you. Well at least try it. It's not a fast paced read, but it keeps you intere ...more
Chelsea K.
Rudi Matt is from the small Swiss town of Kurtal, which lies in the same valley as the infamous mountain The Citadel -- a direct parallel to the real life Matterhorn. Rudi's father, at one time the best guide in Switzerland, died trying to climb the mountain when he was an infant, and since then, no Kurtaler has dared attempt an ascent, believing the mountain to be unclimbable. That is, until the mountaineer Captain Winter comes to town, seeking a guide for the mountain. Rudi has been made to wo ...more
Dec 16, 2010 Orin rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 21, 2015 Madi rated it really liked it
Banner in the Sky is a realistic fiction book. It is about a boy that is sixteen years old with the name of Rudi. Rudi lives by the Swiss Alps where his mother owns a hotel. Rudi’s father, Joesh Matt, was the only man that would ever dare to try to climb the Citadel. Unfortunately he didn’t make it. Rudi, his son, wanted to finish what his father has started.
Rudi decided to climb the Citadel with three other men. Rudi brought the red shirt that his father wore the day he climbed the Citadel. Be
Dec 21, 2010 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2nd-quarter
I didn't like this book very much at all. This book was really boring for me it was like blah blah blah. It was about this boy named Rudi Matt. His father tried climbing the Citadel the most feared mountain in all of Kurtal. The best part of this book for me was the last two chapters.
Sherry (sethurner)
An inspiring story of courage, this YA novel tells of a teen who decides to climb the mountain his father died attempting to climb. The banner is his father's red shirt. There is a Disney movie that goes along with this book.
Terry Zhao
Feb 18, 2016 Terry Zhao rated it really liked it
Imagine a person trying to climb one of the world's tallest and dangerous mountain, but before, he has to prepare and think about and dream about it for years, and before he can climb it, he has to pass this big forbidden fortress, with a small way. Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman, is a great book, and the author must have learned a lot about locations, and mountains. The Banner in the sky contains amazing dialect, when the big tall buff guy is always talking in a deep voice, at the big ...more
Jan 20, 2015 Kassandra rated it really liked it
Keep in mind when reading, this is YA, so the writing isn't exactly comparable to adult fiction. I read this as an English assignment and really ended up loving the book. I am stingy with my 5 stars but I would highly recommend this book to everyone. I think anyone with a dream can relate to Rudi. The hope, the excitement, the fear, the disappointments… the willpower to go after what is in your heart. I read this book in one sitting. It was very easy to follow and very well told. Ultimately, I l ...more
Isha C
Jan 08, 2016 Isha C rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah L
Jan 20, 2015 Sarah L rated it it was amazing
Banner in the Sky, by James Ramsey Ullman, is about a kid that is different than all of the other boys, he is a blond, slim, and quick boy. He is the kind of kid that wanted to fulfill his father’s goal of climbing a mountain that no one has ever climbed before. Climbing the mountain is the only place where he feels free, that he can do anything. He eventually starts climbing, and learns some life lessons, for example, putting others first before yourself. I think that this book inspired me to ...more
Samuel Wells
Jul 24, 2016 Samuel Wells rated it it was amazing
James Ramsey Ullman, the writer of outdoor, and especially climbing, stories is best known for this children's classic. It is a fictional account of the first successful climb of the Matterhorn (called in the book, The Citadel) in the Alps. It is about a teenage boy Rudi Matt, the son of a famous alpinist who died as a climbing guide. Rudi's mother doesn't want him to die as his father did and yet the pull of the mountain is inescapable to the boy. A timeless story especially for young men - dea ...more
Nov 01, 2010 Natalie rated it liked it
we had to read this for english and it was a pretty good book!
Sep 13, 2011 Josiah rated it really liked it
Banner in the Sky is an incredible work of literary art. I don't know where the writing of James Ramsey Ullman has been all my life, but I've surely been missing out on something really special all these years. Navigating the complex ins and outs of our English language with dazzling ease, James Ramsey Ullman weaves a powerful spell with his storytelling in this book. The intensity and superior quality of the imagery simply never lets up, boring in even harder as the roller coaster narrative sp ...more
Dec 21, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it
This book is about a boy named Rudi Matt who is only 16. Rudi's heart belongs to the mountains and loves being in them. Sadly, he is not allowed to go to the mountains because of the dark memory of his father. His father, Josef Matt, was a mountain guide of Kurtal. He wanted to climb the Citadel and died on the mountain with a client. So Rudi's uncle, Franz Learner, and his mother forced Rudi to work at a hotel as a dishwasher. They forbid him to ever go to the mountains.
Rudi always goes to th
This is a good book that is very adventurous and exciting. It is about a young boy who is a dishwasher. He is wanting to climb the great Citadel just like his father. His father died climbing the Citadel and all Rudi has left is a red shirt that belonged to him. Rudi, who is the main character, gets made fun of because he does the dishes and cant climb the mountain like the other boys. The person that bullies him the most is Klaus Wesselhof. He calls him angelface and other bad names. But one da ...more
Nov 25, 2012 HENRY HAWK rated it it was ok
In Banner in the Sky by James R. Ullman, Rudi wants to climb the Citadel, but his mother won’t let him, so he sneaks out with a group of climbers to conquer this goal. Throughout the book, James uses many techniques to engage the audience. First, on page 74, he uses figurative language to describe the scene: “The rain beat against the kitchen windows.” This technique engages the reader by making you think a vivid image of the window. Next, on page 102 he uses powerful descriptive language to giv ...more
Nov 25, 2012 samR.............. rated it really liked it
In Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullmanl, Rudi wants to climb the citadel ,but his uncle won't let him. So he goes off and does it anyways. In this book the author uses many techniques to engage the reader. First ,he uses a simile on page 63 “ It towered above them like a giant among pygmies.”, This comparison helps you understand how massive the mountain really is. It also helps you visualize the size much better than it was tall or big. Next, he also used personification on page 63 “ The C ...more
Ariana C.
Nov 22, 2012 Ariana C. rated it really liked it
In Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman, Rudi wants to climb the Citadel, but his clingy mother and the dangers of the mountain stop him, so he finds hidden strength and sets off with goals in mind. Throughout the book, James Ramsey Ullman uses many strategies to engage the reader. First, on page 41, the author uses dialogue to help describe the character’s wisdom: “ “You cannot put out a fire by wishing it. You cannot bottle the wind,” said Teo.” This dialogue is a great example of show, d ...more
Wow this is a very inspiring book. First off Rhudi is working in the kitchen with old Teo. but then Rhudi was out running to the mountain. while climbing up he got his tamahok and set off. he heard a yell from a crevace it was captain winter. Fanz came over and he saw through Teo's lies and went to Frua's place. Rhudi showed up and told them there was a lot of dishes. Franz scolded him and Rhudi went off to finish the dishes. But before he stepped out the door captain winter showed up. He then t ...more
Books Kids Like
Oct 02, 2013 Books Kids Like rated it it was amazing
When her husband dies attempting a climb to the Citadel's summit, Frau Matt vows that her son will never set foot on the mountain. She tries to persuade Rudi to take pleasure in the hotel business, but his only dream is to be a guide like his father. He knows that the Citadel can be climbed even though no one has attempted it since Josef Matt's death. When the mountain’s allure becomes too strong, he runs away from his dishwashing chores at the hotel, grabs his stick from its hiding place, and c ...more
Dillon Bui
Feb 05, 2014 Dillon Bui rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, the book "Banner in the Sky" was an interesting and a great book to read. It had an awesome story line and very suspenseful. For example," Hello-" A voice answers from the depths. " How far down are you?" " Are you hurt?" How long have you been there?" " About three hours." (pg.25). The author described the scene so well that I could imagine it all in my head. In the book, Rudi is a 16 year old boy who I thought has a lot of heart and courage. He would go on to make his own decisi ...more
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James Ramsey Ullman (1907–1971) was an American writer and mountaineer. He was born in New York. He was not a high end climber, but his writing made him an honorary member of that circle. Some of his writing is noted for being "nationalistic," e.g., The White Tower.

The books he wrote were mostly about mountaineering.

His works include Banner in the Sky (which was filmed in Switzerland as Third Man
More about James Ramsey Ullman...

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“Youth is the time for dreams, boy...The trick is, when you get older, not to forget them.

—Captain John Winters”
“It is the ultimate wisdom of the mountains that a man is never more a man than when he is striving for what is beyond his grasp. -James Ramsey Ullman” 6 likes
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