I think the fact that columnist Joel Stein questioned his manliness enough to write this book in the first place is pretty damn manly (the fact that I had many of the same self doubts about my own non-sports watching, can’t take a punch, indoorsy self could make me a tad bit biased though).
The non-fiction Man Made begins with Time magazine columnist Stein realizing he is about to have a son, an event that triggers a lifetime of self doubt about whether or not he stands up to society’s view of what a dude should and should not be. The inner reflection pushes Stein to an admittedly contrived, but wildly entertaining, collection of stunts that he puts himself through. He starts off small: camping with a group of Boy Scouts (quite possibly the funniest chapter in the book) before moving on to working a shift with firefighters, going hunting with an old flame’s husband, undergoing an abbreviated boot camp with the Marines and Army before finally working his way up to going a round in the octagon with the UFC’s Randy Couture.
Like his columns, Stein fills the Man Made with plenty of snark and self-deprecation, but there are also peeks of vulnerability in detailing his own childhood. All and all, a pretty manly affair from cover to cover.