Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This man is enjoying "The Dangerous Book for Boys"

This is kind of a "book of the moment" and starting to show up on non-fiction best-seller lists, but I'm going to pimp it anyway. It was released in Britain in 2006 and was a huge best-seller there, and is now making a splash over here. It's "The Dangerous Book for Boys" by the brothers Conn & Hal Iggulden, and it's dryly-written primer with copious illustrations concerning techniques and information on subjects that are in danger of being forgotten in the video-game and facial moisturizer-drenched culture we have forged for ourselves. As the back cover says: "Recapture Sunday afternoons and long summer days. The perfect book for every boy from eight to eighty."

What I like about it is that it's not the typical "you're not a man unless you belch, fart and have grime on your hands" screed (see: the fiend known as Jim Belushi and his ilk). Rather, it simply shows someone how to make a bow & arrow out of things you find in your backyard, how to contruct a treehouse, make a simple go-cart, fold the world's best paper airplane, and so on. Also included are informative sections on dinosaurs, the moon, a brief history of artillery, morese code, navigation, girls, cloud formations, first aid, hunting & cooking a rabbit, great historical battles,the origin of words, and much, much more.

It's also nicely and simpy designed, with the right amount of old-timey flavor. This quote from one of the authors regarding their chapter on the planets should convince you of the book's honorable intentions:
"Pluto is a planet. I know there are scientists who say it isn't, but it's big enough to be round and it has a moon, for crying out loud."

And here's a handy excerpt from the chapter on that most mysterious of subjects: Girls:

7. If you see a girl in need of help -unable to lift something, for example- do not taunt her. Approach the object and greet her with a cheerful smile, while surreptitiously testing the weight of the object. if you find that you can lift it, go ahead. If you can't, try sitting on it and engaging her in conversation.

As soon as my kid can focus his eyes I'm going to start reading this book to him. It may end up being the only book I read to him until he reaches the age of five or so. Well, that and this book:

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