A Man's Life: Dispatches from Dangerous Places

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9781594867071: A Man's Life: Dispatches from Dangerous Places

"Brought to life by a poetic and muscular style, Jenkins’s writing is a brew of history, philosophy, and raw emotion. His journeys are as intellectual and spiritual as they are physical, and we are by his side, in his head." So wrote Robin Russin for the LA Times about Mark Jenkins’s last book, The Hard Way.

In A Man’s Life, Jenkins walks across northern Afghanistan, retracing the ancient route of Marco Polo; clandestinely enters northern Burma, slipping along the forgotten Burma Road; climbs a new route in Uganda’s Mountains of the Moon; bicycles across Lithuania with a long-lost friend; canoes through Surinam with the Maroons, descendants of escaped slaves. Described by critic Bill Berkeley as having a "Whitmanesque openness to experience," Jenkins’s desire to explore and understand the world has pushed him to extremes most of us cannot imagine—being arrested in a dozen different countries from Tibet to Tajikistan, breaking a dozen bones, climbing inside glaciers in Iceland, narrowly escaping falling glaciers on Mont Blanc. Through his willingness to put himself out there, Jenkins captures profound glimpses of our chaotic, contradictory, ever-morphing world.

A Man’s Life shares how these experiences change Jenkins from a reckless young globetrotter to a mature, contemplative family man who seeks adventure because he viscerally must, and yet is constantly aware of the dangers of the world and its cool-faced indifference to one man’s life. Each departure from home could be permanent and each homecoming is layered with pathos—his latest journey might have cost him his daughter’s first steps or his wife’s birthday. The tales in A Man’s Life explore the razor’s edge between life and death, as well as the nature of love and friendship, failure and redemption. Together, they unite Jenkins’s stunning travels with his lucid contemplations on the meaning of it all.

Praised by Richard Bernstein in The New York Times for being able to "[transform] a common sight into a moment of pure magic" and by Amanda Heller in the Boston Globe as "blessed with a rare combination of physical and intellectual grace ... he makes us understand what pushes the man who pushes the envelope," Jenkins is one of the rare writers who channels action-packed adventure into lyrical, evocative storytelling.

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About the Author:

MARK JENKINS is a critically acclaimed author and monthly columnist for Outside magazine. He has written three award-winning, critically acclaimed books: The Hard Way, To Timbuktu, and Off the Map. Before working for Outside, he was the adventure/investigative editor for Men's Health, Rocky
Mountain editor for Backpacker, and a freelance journalist working in Africa for Time, Reuters, and other media. When he's not off adventuring, Jenkins lives in Laramie, Wyoming.

From Publishers Weekly:

Jenkins, widely-published travel writer and author (The Hard Way: Stories of Danger, Survival, and the Soul of Adventure), is always up for a challenge, wherever it may be. He's been almost everywhere, frequently at his peril, and these captivating essays take readers up the most forbidding mountains, through ice caves in Greenland, along India's "road of blood," and into Afghani war zones, proving Jenkin's courage, conviction and humanity along the way. The haunting "No Exit" details a mission to find a lost pair of world-class women climbers, "both of whom understood that for alpinists, death is just a mistake away." High above the Sahara, he introduces "the bard of the nascent art of aviation," Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and biking through Norway he finds hellish tunnels "long, and black as blindness." Jenkins' evocative prose will cause readers to shiver vicariously during impossible ascents and flinch at the inevitable injuries along the way: "The world is one giant garden of cliffs, canyons, and cacti, where you'll discover that flesh is softer than stone, weaker than water, and highly vulnerable to velocity." Fortunately for readers, however, the spirit thrives; Jenkins' musings on home, family and lost colleagues add warmth to his riveting tales of derring-do.
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