Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book review: "Testosterone Planet: True Stories from a Man's World"

"Testosterone Planet" is a mixed bag of 25 stories of adventure, danger and risk. As you might expect with a compilation, it contains both hits and misses. Some of the stories are excerpted from elsewhere, so you may have read them before.

I found these stories the strongest:

"Crevasse" An engaging story of survival on Mt. McKinley by Jim Wickwire.

"Devil's Thumb" Jon Krakauer's story of facing his personal demons on a solo climb.

"Trail Mix" A funny hiking story from Bill Bryson (but I'd read it in "A Walk in the Woods").

"Turn the Tables" Richard Sterling tells about the fun he had thwarting pickpockets in Vietnam.

"Abyss" A solid account of a groundbreaking caving expedition, by Craig Vetter.

"Kharkov and the Lubyanka" A grim, but interesting, story of a political prisoner's treatment under Stalin. Excerpted from "The Long Walk" by Slavomir Rawicz.

Some of the other stories are quite short and can be fine for a quick diversion since they don't require a huge commitment.

Some stories are too long, or just plain uninteresting. These fall into the flat-waste-of-time category: Paul William Roberts' "No Like A-feesh?," Tim Ward's "Fire Beneath the Skin," Eddy L. Harris' "On the Road" and Sebastian Junger's "The Lure of Danger."

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