Monday, June 04, 2007

The Dangerous Book for Boys

The Dangerous Book for Boys, Hal Iggulden
(Harper Collins, 2007), hb, 270 pp.

A couple of weeks ago a good friend of mine, Joey Jenkins, sent me the Amazon linkfor this book suggesting it sounded like something my boys and I would enjoy. I was really intrigued- and the video at Amazon is fun. That same night we went to Sam’s to prepare for our trip and as the boys and I went to the book section (our typical hangout in Sam’s!) we found copies of this book! We spent a good bit of the time looking through the book and purchased it. I liked the book so much I wanted to write something about it before leaving town but did not have time. In the meantime I was scooped by Dr. Mohler and others! J

We took this book with us on our trip and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I am particularly taken with the overall vision of boyhood implied in the book. The call to active, outdoor play, activity and building is great and has been talked about in some of the other reviews. This is of course the heart of the book, but I was fascinated to see how this was integrated into a whole view of boyhood. Amongst instructions for fishing, making paper airplanes, tripwires, skipping stones, fireproofing cloth, etc. are also the stories of famous battles, identifying leaves, insects and stars, Latin phrases every boy should know, poems every boy should know, a sampling of Shakespeare, a list of recommended books for reading and several installments of grammar lessons, and the Ten Commandments. This is obvious the result of an intentional view of developing boys into men who can work with their hands and take risks while being articulate and thoughtful.

This comment from the introduction communicates the vision well:
“The stories of courage can be read as simple adventures- or perhaps as inspiration, examples of extraordinary acts by ordinary people. … They’re not just cracking stories, they’re part of a culture, a part we really don’t want to see vanish.”

We have enjoyed looking through various portions of the book (like the list of all the baseball MVP’s to the present), and have found the book to be useful in various pursuits of ours. While working on our treeehouse this past weekend, we used this book to see how to tie the required knots in our rope. Earlier the section on identifying insects was really helpful. My oldest son amused himself during part of our traveling by making his own secret code.

We highly recommend this book. In my next post I will plan to mention a few books similar to this one (at least in parts) that have not received as much attention but we have enjoyed.

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At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this review! I read Dr. Mohler's review couple weeks ago and was intrigued. I'll definitely purchase this one for my boys.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger max said...

Hi Ray,

Since you posted about The Dangerous Book for Boys, I thought you'd be interested in the following.

More Dangerous Books for Boys

A lot has been written in recent days about The Dangerous Book for Boys. I'm fascinated by all the excitement, and encouraged at the same time.

Some of the aspects being promoted about the book include how to tie various knots, to make paper airplanes, or even to build a sort of go-kart. The book promotes adventure in the lives of boys. This sense of adventure has been a goal of mine as I’ve written action-adventures and mysteries especially for boys 8 13. Why do I write books for boys? Because there simply aren’t enough of them. I’m just now working on manuscript # 35. To date, 7 of my books for boys are published.

They are:

NEWSPAPER CAPER, TERROR AT WOLF LAKE, NORTH WOODS POACHERS, MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY, BIG RIG RUSTLERS, SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE & LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF, are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London.


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