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40 Books Every Man Needs To Battle The Masculinity Crisis

The heroes, heroines and anti-heroes who embody everything it means to be a man.

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1. Eastern Approaches - Fitzroy MacLean

Best novel for a moustached hero. His outrageously dangerous missions from behind WW2 enemy lines are alright too.

Best novel for a moustached hero. His outrageously dangerous missions from behind WW2 enemy lines are alright too.

2. The 39 Steps - John Buchan

All the excitement of a proper Victorian school boy adventure (what ho!), Hannay outwits some German spies, wins the day and saves the country - jolly good show.

All the excitement of a proper Victorian school boy adventure (what ho!), Hannay outwits some German spies, wins the day and saves the country - jolly good show.

3. A Time of Gifts - Patrick Leigh Fermor

18-year-old Patrick sets out on an extraordinary journey from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople, detailing every sight in 3 volumes that take him into manhood.

18-year-old Patrick sets out on an extraordinary journey from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople, detailing every sight in 3 volumes that take him into manhood.

4. Letters to a Young Contrarian - Christopher Hitchens

Whatever your views on Hitchens, with his thoughts on thinking you'll never look at the world the same way again.

Whatever your views on Hitchens, with his thoughts on thinking you'll never look at the world the same way again.

5. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

Because we all want to ride on the back of an armoured bear...

Because we all want to ride on the back of an armoured bear...

6. The Honourable Schoolboy - John Le Carré

More old school Secret Service fare as Westerbury, agent come journalist, goes on the run. By the end you'll totally feel you could have been an old school spy.

More old school Secret Service fare as Westerbury, agent come journalist, goes on the run. By the end you'll totally feel you could have been an old school spy.

7. The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

Even if this book bored you to a slow classroom-induced death at GCSE, this story of heroism and fight against adversity is actually pretty great when you choose to read it. Best for: epic description of a 3-day arm wrestle.

Even if this book bored you to a slow classroom-induced death at GCSE, this story of heroism and fight against adversity is actually pretty great when you choose to read it. Best for: epic description of a 3-day arm wrestle.

8. Goodbye To All That - Robert Graves

The flip side to Downton Abbey - yeah so, actually England wasn't all that great in the 20s...

The flip side to Downton Abbey - yeah so, actually England wasn't all that great in the 20s...

9. Money - Martin Amis

A gritty description of how a 1980s lifestyle of porn, pills and pina coladas can go very wrong.

A gritty description of how a 1980s lifestyle of porn, pills and pina coladas can go very wrong.

10. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

A beautiful love story about growing up, coming of age and eventually coming to terms with moving on.

A beautiful love story about growing up, coming of age and eventually coming to terms with moving on.

11. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

A beautiful and tragic story of 2 boys' struggles to become men - falling in love with your best friend's sister comes as standard.

A beautiful and tragic story of 2 boys' struggles to become men - falling in love with your best friend's sister comes as standard.

12. Annapurna - Maurice Herzog

You might feel you've climbed the mountain yourself by the time you finish this, but no man is complete without reading one of the most courageous journeys in history

You might feel you've climbed the mountain yourself by the time you finish this, but no man is complete without reading one of the most courageous journeys in history

13. The Road - Cormac McCarthy

McCarthy takes 'the son' on a journey which sees him lose his father 'the man'. This is one book that shows how long that road can be.

McCarthy takes 'the son' on a journey which sees him lose his father 'the man'. This is one book that shows how long that road can be.

14. The Rum Diary - Hunter S. Thompson

This story os a 22-year-old is entwined with enough gonzo to make you believe you're living the twisted life of a hedonist in the Caribbean, with all the fear and uncertainty of making your way in the world.

This story os a 22-year-old is entwined with enough gonzo to make you believe you're living the twisted life of a hedonist in the Caribbean, with all the fear and uncertainty of making your way in the world.

15.

A coming-of-age story in the face of broken promises of prosperity… Nothing like the 2010s in any way at all.

A coming-of-age story in the face of broken promises of prosperity… Nothing like the 2010s in any way at all.

16. The Art of War - Sun Tzu

How to win wars without going into battle - life advice straight out of the 2nd century BC...

How to win wars without going into battle - life advice straight out of the 2nd century BC...

17. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

A trashy masterpiece, Ignatius J. Reilly's quips will leave you giggling at his shameless social critique. In every sense one of the biggest male characters in 20th century lit.

A trashy masterpiece, Ignatius J. Reilly's quips will leave you giggling at his shameless social critique. In every sense one of the biggest male characters in 20th century lit.

18. Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry

A tragic story of a once great man undone. Geoffrey Firmin, ex-consul, ex-husband and newfound alcoholic, lives out the last day of his life in the shadow of the Mexican fiesta 'Day of the Dead' in a tragic and prophetic classic.

A tragic story of a once great man undone. Geoffrey Firmin, ex-consul, ex-husband and newfound alcoholic, lives out the last day of his life in the shadow of the Mexican fiesta 'Day of the Dead' in a tragic and prophetic classic.

19. Matterhorn - Karl Marlantes

A 21-year-old is plunged into the deep end of a desperate Vietnam War, chasing an unknown number of Viet Cong. Second Lieutenant Waino Mellas grows up pretty fast.

A 21-year-old is plunged into the deep end of a desperate Vietnam War, chasing an unknown number of Viet Cong. Second Lieutenant Waino Mellas grows up pretty fast.

20. Travels with Myself and Another - Martha Gellhorn

One of the most underrated writers of adventure, Martha Gellhorn was one of the first female foreign correspondents. Here she selects the best of her travel horror stories as she floats through war zones from China and the Soviet Union to the Caribbean.

One of the most underrated writers of adventure, Martha Gellhorn was one of the first female foreign correspondents. Here she selects the best of her travel horror stories as she floats through war zones from China and the Soviet Union to the Caribbean.

21. Dispatches - Michael Herr

The ultimate in wartime reporting - the blood, the fear, and most of all, the men reduced to their lowest point in the futility of war

The ultimate in wartime reporting - the blood, the fear, and most of all, the men reduced to their lowest point in the futility of war

22. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

More Hunter S. American counter-culture in a plot so drugged up it doesn't really exist at all...

More Hunter S. American counter-culture in a plot so drugged up it doesn't really exist at all...

23. Brave New World

Tells the story of a savage who'd rather sacrifice himself than give up his principles. And it's an even more satisfying dystopia than 1984...

Tells the story of a savage who'd rather sacrifice himself than give up his principles. And it's an even more satisfying dystopia than 1984...

24. Two People - AA Milne

Marriage for cynics... by the creator of everyone's favourite bear of little brain.

Marriage for cynics... by the creator of everyone's favourite bear of little brain.

25. A March to the Dance of Time: Part 1 - Richard Powell

Don't be put off by this edition's cover (or that it's part 1 of 12 novels), this is a beautiful portrayal of a friendship group growing up over decades - part 1 kicks off in the 1920s

Don't be put off by this edition's cover (or that it's part 1 of 12 novels), this is a beautiful portrayal of a friendship group growing up over decades - part 1 kicks off in the 1920s

26. The Cairo Trilogy - Naguib Mahfouz

A fascinating epic on Muslim family life in colonial Egypt if at this end of the list you're bored of British action men. Set shortly before the revolution, it gives loads of cultural and social detail at a time of turbulence for a country so long under the dominance of a colonial power.

A fascinating epic on Muslim family life in colonial Egypt if at this end of the list you're bored of British action men. Set shortly before the revolution, it gives loads of cultural and social detail at a time of turbulence for a country so long under the dominance of a colonial power.

27.

If you're young, think you know everything and are certain you're way over-qualified for whatever your doing then this book's probably for you.

If you're young, think you know everything and are certain you're way over-qualified for whatever your doing then this book's probably for you.

28. On the Road - Jack Kerouac

Yet more American counter-culture and pretty definitive of the genre.

Yet more American counter-culture and pretty definitive of the genre.

29. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love - Raymond Carver

Nothing and everything happens in this collection of short stories. That's real life (man).

Nothing and everything happens in this collection of short stories. That's real life (man).

30. Collected Stories - John Cheever

As if you didn't already know, there's some crazy stuff that goes on behind a trimmed hedge and a well-manicured lawn.

As if you didn't already know, there's some crazy stuff that goes on behind a trimmed hedge and a well-manicured lawn.

31. A Call of the Wild - Jack London

Is it a book about dogs, or a book about men? The mind boggles...

Is it a book about dogs, or a book about men? The mind boggles...

32.

So much more than a crime novel - a story of a man's love, loyalty, betrayal and ultimate loss.

So much more than a crime novel - a story of a man's love, loyalty, betrayal and ultimate loss.

33. For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway

A journey to blow up a bridge turns out the ultimate lesson in perseverance, loyalty and courage.

A journey to blow up a bridge turns out the ultimate lesson in perseverance, loyalty and courage.

34.

A story of messianic leadership through a story of deception, betrayal and a whole load of whisky

A story of messianic leadership through a story of deception, betrayal and a whole load of whisky

35. Master and Commander - Patrick O'Brian

The pure awesomeness in this book actually (kind of) happened. Historians say so, so it must be true.

The pure awesomeness in this book actually (kind of) happened. Historians say so, so it must be true.

36. Women - Charles Bukowski

If you can overlook the often more than mild sexism, you can enjoy the fact that getting old doesn't mean getting boring...

If you can overlook the often more than mild sexism, you can enjoy the fact that getting old doesn't mean getting boring...

37. Labyrinths - Jorge Luis Borges

Packs more into this short collection of essays than most write in a lifetime.

Packs more into this short collection of essays than most write in a lifetime.

38. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

Because once you've read this, what else is there?

Because once you've read this, what else is there?

39. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

So grim. So beautiful. Scarily good.

So grim. So beautiful. Scarily good.

40. Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela

Inspiration beyond compare from one of the greatest men of our time.Happy reading!

Inspiration beyond compare from one of the greatest men of our time.

Happy reading!

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