Inspired by the field manuals and do-it-yourself guides of the 1950s—and selling up a storm in the U.K.—Hal and Conn Iggulden’s “The Dangerous Book for Boys” is to be released stateside tomorrow. Presented as the missing manual for modern boyhood (and the book the Iggulden brothers would have “given away the cat to get”), the thick red tome covers everything from tying knots, making a tree house, and hunting for rabbits to quoting Shakespeare, communicating in codes and talking to girls. Scattered among the do-it-yourself gems are digressions on great historical battles, tales of bravery and courage, and valuable pieces of boy-knowledge such as a complete list of baseball MVPs from 1931-present and a brief overview of the history of artillery (Conn Iggulden is a well-respected writer of historical fiction known for the Emperor series, based on the life of Julius Caesar).
Having spent only a day with it so far, I must say I’m pretty addicted. Having come of age right along with computers and the Internet, it is pretty often that I daydream about what it would have meant to grow up without any of the things we have now. If you’re worried about keeping a boy in your life of any age well-rounded, or simply checking off a few “this is something everyone should know how to do” items from your list, this book is heartily recommended. —John Mahoney
Update: After being out for a day, it’s already the #13 book on Amazon’s top sellers list.