Men. You've encountered them before - the most foolhardy, annoying, courageous and dangerous creatures on the planet. Share the madness and laughs as you follow their bizarre testosterone driven adventures.
A disparate collection of articles that circle around the nebulous but recognizable notion of manly episodes, where the best material is so fine it casts a radiant shine over the entire lot. Sports, adventure, raw experience, and a couple of profiles make up these 29 uneven pieces from the likes of Tim Cahill, Jon Krakauer, and Frank McCourt. The worst is typified by, surprisingly, Sebastian Junger, who contributes ill-considered and witless thoughts on risk. Everything is "jacked" or "cranked" to the point where readers will feel they are in a tire repair shop, and he ends preposterously with "that is the reason to take risks, because otherwise, you don't truly understand what you have to lose." At the other end are essays like the one from Charles Bowden, when his newspaper beat entered the dark side: "For the next three years I lived in a world where the desires of people, almost always men, to touch and to have their way with others makes them criminals." Or Craig Vetter's account of radical caving, climbing a few thousand feet into the earth and then diving into a flooded snakehole: "I decided I'd sooner light my hair and try to roast hot dogs over the flame." Two articles absolutely glow, and both come from Richard Sterling: one on an existential, transhistorical punch to his own cheekbone from a boxing master, another on the fine and mad sport of luring pickpockets into a trap. Sterling's writing is like spitfire, foursquare and jazzy with crackle, and his behavior is just scary enough to make you glad you're not approaching a touchy border crossing in his company. A busy, unruly crossroads of war and playing baseball and men who get silicon breast implants on a bet and a mass gay sexfest in a Florentine hostel and leaving your friend to die in a crevasse. Another strange and compelling day for man on planet Earth. (Kirkus Reviews)