Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 19th, 2006
When I first saw the notice of Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life coming back into print, I had emotions that ranged from joy and sadness, to caution and upset. I was happy to know that a whole new generation of cryptozoologists would be able to read Ivan T. Sanderson’s book. Sorrow nevertheless hit me. I was hoping to see the book reprinted in a high-quality hardback edition, as a celebration of the early days of Sanderson’s discovery of the diversity of unknown hairy hominoids. Afterall this is Ivan T. Sanderson we are talking about, the person who actually coined the word “cryptozoology” (not Heuvelmans). I carefully looked into how this new reprint was being handled, and grew concerned the more I learned.
Finally the Adventures Unlimited Press (AUP) reprint arrived, not with the cover, as above, that first appeared on Amazon, but with the one below. Ivan T. Sanderson’s classic Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life had been re-published. That’s good, at one level, mainly due to the book’s contents being easily accessible again.
But what has AUP done in the packaging around it?
One of the first things visible directly inside the paperback (not a hardback, as I had hoped) is that the publisher has inserted a photograph. The caption reads: "One of the few photos of a Yeti ever claimed, this one taken in the Himalayas in 1986 as seen in World Explorers Magazine."
But what a mistake. As seen here, this pix is the well-known Anthony Wooldridge photograph taken in March of 1986, of what turned out to be, when Wooldridge went back to get a closer look, only a rock. It’s not a hoax, per se, but it certainly is not "one of the few photos of a Yeti" and most of us call it the "Yeti Rock" picture. By the way, of course, World Explorers Magazine is AUP’s in-house publication to advertise its own books.
Sanderson’s Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life is worth the text, but the AUP version is surrounded by more mistakes and apparently questionable material. This reprint’s back cover has art from Sanderson’s 1968 Pyramid paperback (still in copyright?) and a photograph of the Minnesota Iceman taken in 1969, used without permission. Right inside the first page of the reprint, AUP has placed two drawings of the Minnesota Iceman, one credited to Sanderson and the other uncredited. I know it is from Bernard Heuvelmans, and, of course, it appears to be used without the permission of his estate, just as this entire book was printed without contact or consideration of Sanderson’s widow.
How sloppy was this reprint? I’m not certain yet because I have not examined it totally, but there are severe problems. What I did discover, as noted above, is disturbing. But there is more. If you look closely after page 78, you will see that Sanderson’s original plates 1 through 5, including a photo of the trail of Yeti tracks taken by Eric Shipton in 1951, three views of the Pangboche hand taken by two separate expeditions, and one of the Makalu forearm, have all been completely left out of the reprint.
Chris Murphy remarked recently that this book "has now been reprinted and is available from Hancock House." He should clarify that Hancock House did not undertake the publication of this book. Some distance needs to be created between Hancock and this reprint, for the standards shown in republishing this book are unlike any used with the good reprints coming out from Hancock House.
Ivan T. Sanderson’s Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life has returned, and that’s good, at least for the text. Maybe someone will do a better reprint, in hardback, give some of the proceedings to the Sanderson estate, and introduce the book with a new foreword, including all the original photo plates and credited new ones too. In the meantime, I guess this reprint will have to do, or a search be made for the original hardbound edition from 1961 (below).