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Banner in the Sky
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Banner in the Sky

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,564 ratings  ·  266 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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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis CarrollPeter Pan by J.M. BarrieThe Sword in the Stone by T.H. WhiteWinnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
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22nd out of 84 books — 43 voters
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71st out of 319 books — 127 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Jack B.
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
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
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
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
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
May 03, 2011 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Its about a boy named Rudi Matt. His dad died trying to climb the citadel. He wants to climb to the top of the mountain and put a red flannel shirt. The shirt symbolizes his dads goal that he wants to complete. At the end he dosen't make it to the top. He stays back with Saxo. Captain winters and Uncle franz went to the top and said Rudi went to the top and put the red shirt.
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.
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
Sarah L
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
we had to read this for english and it was a pretty good book!
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
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
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
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.
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
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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
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
This is an inspirational adventure story and the basis for the film, Third Man on the Mountain. Rudi Matt has a dream - A dream to touch the sky.” Without the support of his family, and only determination, sixteen year old Rudi Matt wanted to climb the only unconquered peak in the Swiss Alps called the Citadel. This was also his father’s dream; but his father, Josef Matt, died while climbing the Citadel. Because of this both his mother and uncle forbid him to climb the mountain because they thou ...more
In Banner in the Sky by James Ullman, A boy named Rudi wants to be a climber like his father but his mom and uncle won’t let him. Throughout the book James Ullman uses many writing techniques to engage the reader. First, on page 169, he uses dialogue to explain what the climbers were saying: “Yes roared the others to climb it.” This technique engages the reader by making it feel like you're having a conversation with the characters. Next, on page 101, he uses sensory details to explain Emil’s ph ...more
Scooter Jones
In Banner In The Sky by James Ramsey Ullman Rudy wants to climb the great citadel but his uncle Franz won't let him so in the end he climbs up to the top. Throughout the book James Ullman uses many writing techniques to engage the audience. First on page 144 he uses sensory details to describe the setting: “present he had come too a pinch of smooth rock on which he had searched and groomed for holds. This technique engages the reader by painting a vivid picture in the reader's head. next on pag ...more
Apr 29, 2008 Matthew rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Me at age 11
Recommended to Matthew by: Marci and Bevan Nelson.
Shelves: childrensbooks
Banner in the Sky is the granddaddy of all pre-teen adventure stories, so I'm surprised that it took me this long to get around to reading it.

When I was in 5th grade I discovered the adventure genre. I'd go into the Yucca Mesa school library with a copy of Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, or Avalanche, and ask the librarian, Mrs. Simmons to "Show me another book like this one." And she would, but somehow she forgot to show me Banner in the Sky.

Here's a break-down of the book:
Imagine cimbing th
Fictionalized account of the first ascent of the Matterhorn (AKA Monte Cervino) by a party led by Edward Whymper. Happily, the expedition does not end as Whymper's did, in disaster. A wonderful introduction for teen-agers to the Golden Age of Alpine mountaineering and to mountaineering. Better than Ullman's book for adults The White Tower. If you like this book and have a few gray hairs you might also like Whymper's book Scrambles Among the Alps.
Dec 06, 2010 Marissa added it
Shelves: 2nd-quarter
a young boy by the name of Rudi Matt wants to climb the citadel, and his mother and uncle Franz will not allow him to do that. Rudi goes off and climbs the mountain with out them knowing. well up there he saves captain winters. captain winters uys rudi climbing equitment but his uncle franz takes it away from him. Rudi brakes into his uncles house and takes the equitment and begins to climb the mountain he finds captain winter well he is up there and his guide saxo. captain winters thinks that R ...more
Perhaps one of my new children's favorites. (late elementary through Junior high, maybe even high school) I picked this up on my Sister-in-law's recommendation and finished it in less than 24 hours. I loved the depictions of the mountains and the boy's unquenchable desire to be the first to summit the mountain his father died on. The writing was beautiful and one could feel themselves there.
Hunter Mcgowen
Banner in the sky is a very insipirational book. It talks about a boy and how he conqueres the greatest mountains in th himalayas. He had set many records but his final is when he climbs Mt. Everest. He had people come with him just incase but one of his friends died in the process. This book shows how you can conquere anything if you put your mind to it. The boy ended climbing the mountain safely.
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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...
The Day on Fire The White Tower And Not To Yield River of the Sun Americans on Everest: The Official Account of the Ascent Led by Norman G. Dyhrenfurth

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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” 5 likes
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