A Royal Life

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Most people wouldn’t need seven volumes to tell their life story — but then again, most people aren’t Royal Robbins. In My Life: To Be Brave ($19.95, royalrobbinsthebook.com), the first in this autobiographical series, Robbins lays bare the driving forces — external and internal — that have shaped him. Chapter one dives straight into his landmark solo of the Leaning Tower: the insecure belays, the pumped arms, and the stubbornness it took to overcome the ominous wall. This insightful, 221-page book chronicles Robbins’ life from birth, to his first glimpse of climbing — on a Boy Scout trip to the Valley, when his 14-year-old mind scoffed at the idea of climbing El Cap. In-between are myriad childhood adventures, from jumping trains, to Sierras escapades with the Scouts.

—Amanda Fox