Synopses & Reviews
"Brought to life by a poetic and muscular style, Jenkinss 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 Jenkinss last book, The Hard Way
In A Mans 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 Ugandas 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," Jenkinss 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 Mans 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 mans life. Each departure from home could be permanent and each homecoming is layered with pathos—his latest journey might have cost him his daughters first steps or his wifes birthday. The tales in A Mans Life explore the razors edge between life and death, as well as the nature of love and friendship, failure and redemption. Together, they unite Jenkinss 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.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Jenkins' superb memory and solid writing chops break him out from the pack of true-life adventure scribes." - Kirkus Reviews
In this new compilation of his enthralling travel tales,
Outside magazine columnist, intrepid adventurer, and critically acclaimed author Mark Jenkins deftly transports readers to the remotest corners of the earth
For the past six years, Mark Jenkins’s Outside magazine column, “The Hard Way,” has explored the meaning and joy of the physical outdoor life. From clandestine journeys across Tibet to mountaineering in Bolivia, sea kayaking around Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula to canyoneering in Australia, Jenkins covers the globe in search of adventure, history, and human understanding.
Describing himself as “mortally infected with wanderlust” since boyhood, Jenkins captures the essence of the modern adventure/travel expedition in his evocative, beautifully crafted tales. With his three previous books, The Hard Way, To Timbuktu, and Off the Map, Jenkins has enchanted readers and won the admiration of critics.
Bill Berkley, writing in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, has praised Jenkins’s “lust for rigorous adventure” and “Whitman-esque openness to experience.” Albert Chen in Sports Illustrated has said that Jenkins’s “rich, well-rendered stories succeed because as Jenkins’s paddles against the current or rappels through a storm, his writer’s eye is working all the while.” Amanda Heller in the Boston Globe lauded the “muscular beauty and emotional honesty” of Jenkins’s narrative and said: “He makes us understand what pushes the man who pushes the envelope.”
In this new compilation of his enthralling travel tales, "Outside" magazine columnist, intrepid adventurer, and critically acclaimed author Jenkins deftly transports readers to the most remote corners of the Earth.
About the Author
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
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.