Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Woman's Place Is at the Top: A Biography of Annie Smith Peck, Queen of the Climbers” as Want to Read:
A Woman's Place Is at the Top: A Biography of Annie Smith Peck, Queen of the Climbers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Woman's Place Is at the Top: A Biography of Annie Smith Peck, Queen of the Climbers

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Annie Smith Peck is one of the most accomplished women of the twentieth century that you have never heard of. Peck was a scholar, writer, lecturer, mountain climber, swimmer, oarswoman, horsewoman, splendid conversationalist, and well-trained listener. She was a feminist and an independent thinker who never let gender stereotypes stand in her way. Peck gained fame as the t ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by St. Martin's Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Woman's Place Is at the Top, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Woman's Place Is at the Top

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  112 ratings  ·  25 reviews

Sort order
Amy Moritz
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Let me tell you what's cool -- finding these great biographies written about some pretty kickass women you probably never heard of. A few years ago, I discovered two about Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel. Then there was a great read about Belva Lockwood, the first woman to run for president, even before women had the right to vote. (Seriously, go read these books.)

Now enter Annie Smith Peck.

I had never heard of her until this book found its way into my mailbox at wor
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was a goodreads giveaway winner of this book. I had never heard of Annie Smith Peck but was glad I got the chance to learn more about his interesting woman. Annie was born in 1850. she was an athletic tomboy her whole childhood. Annie was one of the first women to attend University of Michigan. after graduating she was interested in travelling the world and climbing the highest mountains. She fought against the chauvinists who did not think a woman should be climbing mountains and in pants no ...more
Sarah R
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this, although I did not find Annie Peck to be a very likeable person overall. But I had to admire her spirit and I also found her very balanced views on women's equality refreshing (she was very egalitarian). She was independent and outdoorsy in a culture where most women still were not, even amongst the suffragette movement.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a rather sedentary stay-at-home mom, I'm hard pressed to explain why I'm so fascinated by people who manage extreme physical achievements. Maybe it's because I'll never do them, I don't know. But I continue to devour anything and everything about mountain climbing, especially on the highest peaks.

Annie Smith Peck was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1850, and spent her childhood there. This small tidbit added a lot to my enjoyment of Peck's story, as I currently live near Newport, and I
Joanna Kafarowski
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Trailblazing American mountaineer, educator, suffragist and journalist Annie Smith Peck (1850-1935) is the subject of the aptly named “A Woman’s Place Is At the Top A Biography of Annie Smith Peck, Queen of the Climbers” (St. Martin’s Press, 2017) by Hannah Kimberley. During her lifetime, Peck’s claim to fame was her ascent of the Matterhorn at age forty-five, although the attention she gained as a result was due to the fact that she was wearing pants rather than the amazing athletic feat itself ...more
This book should be subtitled: How to Mooch Your Way Through Life. Granted, if Annie Peck were born a man, she'd be mentioned in the same breath as Robert Peary, John Muir, Robert Underhill, & Edmund Hillary. Instead, she had virtually no money and still managed to climb some of the highest mountains in South America, primarily without the luxury of trained guides. I still don't know how she did it.

in 1908, when she was 58, Annie climbed the Huascarán-the 4th highest mountain in the Western
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I very much appreciated Annie's biography. What a tenacious and accomplished woman, especially so in the years when women were expected to be mostly home makers! She was not only an amazing mountain climber, and an accomplished academic, writer, and lecturer; but she was also a pioneer in fundraising and promotion. Had she lived today she would have been an ambassador, but in her days the appointment of a woman was not an option. Had she been a man she would have been incredibly successful - as ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Ruckh
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Well, now I know much more about the history of women mountain climbers. This book was a bit of a slog through the minute details of Annie Smith Peck's life. It was interesting to a degree at which point I just wanted to finish the book just to be finished. The information about her other pursuits was far more interesting to me so I was compelled to actually finish the book. She was a suffragist and a prolific author though I know not whether her writing was good, and a lecturer. Constantly scro ...more
Valerie Brett
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism, biography
Annie is not a likable person, and the writing in this is at times engaging, at others, dull regurgitation. I enjoyed this book and also did not. I felt the same way about Annie as I did about the book. Her determination and her untimely outrage at people holding her back for being a woman were admirable and inspiring. Her life as a total mooch made her annoying. I realize that people do not need to be likable; and, women more often than men are not allowed to be unlikable. So, I'm glad this bio ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Normally I enjoy biographies and was excited that this one had the added bonus of being about a kick-ass woman...However, it ended up being just so-so and got to be very repetitive. I also did not like the author's writing style; I understand that she was trying to make it more digestible and that it was based on her research, but I found it annoying that she wrote it as if she were there ("It was snowing on a January morning in 1867 as Annie awoke, and would continue to snow throughout the day. ...more
Jill Poulsen
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I definitely enjoyed reading this book. I probably should have given it another star. But I felt it lacked some academic punch. I wanted a little more information on the historiography on Peck. At the end I wanted to be able to say I learned something besides just the facts surrounding her life. How did her life influence our country, the women's movement, exploration, international relations? I just needed the author to take us a few more steps, make a few more connections, and unpack the infor ...more
Amy Banks
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The story about Annie Peck is an interesting one but the biographer included too many details that led me to skim over parts of the book. I’m not sure if the author was trying to prove how much she knew about Annie or wanted to reflect all of the hours of research she did but it unfortunately left this reader confused and bored more than not. Overall, Annie was an amazing woman and I’m glad I learned about her.
Benjamin Bookman
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love learning about women who broke barriers and DID something. Annie is a fascinating woman and this biography is nicely done. Yes, some sections got a little slow (as do all biographies in my opinion) and I am always curious how accurate any biography can really be. But I enjoyed the read and the knowledge, and am intrigued enough to learn more.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book tells the unknown story of a powerful feminist and mountain climber Annie S. Peck. It is a biographical sketch of her life and what she accomplishes as well as the struggles she faces. It is a very intriguing story that needs to be told more. However, it is a little wordy and includes too much detail sometimes which makes it a little slow moving.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This book reminded me that even though women may not have the physical strength that men have, they have a different sort of strength, single mindedness, perseverance, and courage that is sometimes lacking in men. I had never heard of Annie Smith Peck before, it makes me wonder how many other astounding women are lost in the annals of American history.
Laurie Gillman
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Annie S Peck was a really interesting woman with a really interesting story, but I found so much minutae in the details that it was actually hard to follow along, just lists and lists of minor people that muddied the story. I also would have loved more historical context as well, as opposed to a straight recitation of facts
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Annie Peck was a professor, lecturer, writer, mountain climber, suffragist and expert on Latin America around the turn of the 20th century. This is a fascinating biography about an underdog who single-mindedly pursued the life she wanted at a time when very few opportunities existed for women outside of domestic circles.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I heard an interview with the author on NPR, so i requested the book from my local library.

An interesting read. Although I love history, I don't read too many biographies. I found this one a bit tedious. Are they all like this?

But what an amazing woman and what an amzing insight into the time period.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up in the biography section of my local library. I enjoyed reading it and enjoyed the way the author told the story. Annie Peck sounds like she had an adventurous spirit and was way ahead of her time. This is an amazing story and well worth reading.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
excellent book. well researched.
Mike Wigal
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
A rather remarkable biography of a woman largely forgotten. Hard to imagine climbing mountains in South America in the early 20th century, especially as a woman in that male dominated society.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting story, I guess. Not a very appealing protagonist; certainly had very limited people skills. The author's writing skills are not great.
Kathryn Jacoby
I’ve reached page 100 and am putting this one down.

The writing has little artistry or flair, and the mechanics were often off. Wrong prepositions, misplaced adverbs, redundancy, and forced and awkward vocabulary abound. The most jarring thing was the verb tenses, often glaringly incorrect as the time perspective of the narration shifted. There is little control of the writing.

There were also many typos. Just a few examples:
-“One more reason she did not want to return Providence was that the face
Amy Kerr
rated it it was amazing
Jul 03, 2018
rated it liked it
Jun 15, 2018
rated it it was ok
Mar 26, 2018
rated it liked it
May 05, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jul 07, 2018
rated it liked it
Mar 30, 2018
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World
  • Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek Kurtyka
  • A First Rate Tragedy: Robert Falcon Scott and the Race to the South Pole
  • Nefertiti: Unlocking the Mystery Surrounding Egypt's Most Famous and Beautiful Queen
  • Goering
  • The Last Days of Richard III
  • Mountain Madness: Scott Fischer, Mount Everest & a Life Lived on High
  • Our Auntie Rosa: Remembering the Life and Lessons of the Real Rosa Parks
  • Polar Dream: The First Solo Expedition by a Woman and Her Dog to the Magnetic North Pole
  • Last Day in Vietnam
  • Free to Be Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Story of Women and Law
  • Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure
  • The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art
  • Chasing Portraits: A Great-Granddaughter's Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy
  • Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life
  • Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell
  • Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis
  • Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor
Hannah Kimberley is an academic who has made Annie Smith Peck the focus of her scholarship, resulting in her book A Woman's Place Is at the Top. She is considered the authority on Peck and her work is referenced for numerous publications such as American National Biography and National Geographic, anthologies on women explorers and works of history such as A World of Her Own: 24 Amazing Women Expl ...more