Curmudgeonalia
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June 29, 2007

The Dangerous Book for Boys

Conn & Hal Iggulden - ISBN - 9780061234585

“In this age of video games and cell phones there must still be a place for knots, tree houses and stories of incredible courage. One thing that we always say about childhood is that we seemed to have more time back then. This book will help recapture those Sunday afternoons and long summers—because they’re still long if you know [what to do with] them.” So begins the foreword to this truly incredible book. One we wouldn’t have considered needing, if it hadn’t been written.

But I’d like to begin my review with the cover! This is one of the most attractive, well made books I have seen since I was a child. Hardbacks nowadays are cheap, flimsy and unapologetically trashy, yet priced at $26-30. This book is superbly done, and still sells for only $25. No cover-up to mask the s*** jackets are designed to hide. A colorful, masculine, hard-bound, canvas covered, heavily embossed book which is designed to be used over and over for a generation or two; a solid credit to those who published it. A dust jacket would spoil it!

Now, for what is between the covers. Myriad and varietal subjects are covered including the following few I’ve selected:
• useful knots
• paper airplane folding
• tree house construction
• skipping stones
• secret inks
• pen and paper games
• growing of flowers
• spiders and other critters
• fishing
• discovery and uses of longitude, latitude and navigation
• the seven wonders of both the ancient and the modern worlds
• the solar system
• valuable grammar lessons along with the origins and significance of words
• an introductory smattering of some of important authors of the past along with a selection of the finest world literature—selected for boys, of course.
• exciting and important stories of adventure and heroism

And that’s only a smattering of the nearly 100 indexed subject materials.

It is impossible not to recommend this book to grandfathers, fathers, sons, nephews and neighbors; as well to anyone who buys them gifts. Get up and away from the damned computer. Learn something. Get a little exercise. Do something to help you grow or learn something it’s interesting to know.

I grew up before computers--even television--but I still wish I’d had a book like this back then. Now someone has written it! Put it on your gift list for anyone and everyone of a male persuasion. It definitely ain’t for girls—at least not most of them.

Not altogether unlike Where Did You Go: Out, What Did You Do: Nothing, it brings back memories of times past when boys actually did things, and it suggests memories you might build along with a friend, or a father! But unlike that dear book, it tells you how to do things . . . including stuff you might never have thought about on your own. It makes history, literature, heroism and discovery important again; just what the world needs in the era of "fluffy," underexercised, disinterested kids. Fun, too.

Buy it for your “favorite son,” be he here or there, across town or half-way around the planet. You will not be disappointed, nor will he.

And it doesn’t matter if he is 8 or 80.

Posted by respeto at June 29, 2007 3:29 PM