Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (Pulitzer Prize Winner)

**Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography**

Included in President Obama’s 2016 Summer Reading List

“Without a doubt, the finest surf book I’ve ever read . . . ” —The New York Times Magazine

Barbarian Days is William Finnegan’s memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life. 
 
Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan started surfing as a child. He has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa. A bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a distinguished writer and war reporter. Barbarian Days takes us deep into unfamiliar worlds, some of them right under our noses—off the coasts of New York and San Francisco. It immerses the reader in the edgy camaraderie of close male friendships forged in challenging waves.
 
Finnegan shares stories of life in a whites-only gang in a tough school in Honolulu. He shows us a world turned upside down for kids and adults alike by the social upheavals of the 1960s. He details the intricacies of famous waves and his own apprenticeships to them. Youthful folly—he drops LSD while riding huge Honolua Bay, on Maui—is served up with rueful humor. As Finnegan’s travels take him ever farther afield, he discovers the picturesque simplicity of a Samoan fishing village, dissects the sexual politics of Tongan interactions with Americans and Japanese, and navigates the Indonesian black market while nearly succumbing to malaria. Throughout, he surfs, carrying readers with him on rides of harrowing, unprecedented lucidity.
 
Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little-understood art.

WILLIAM FINNEGAN is the author of Cold New World, A Complicated War, Dateline Soweto, and Crossing the Line. He has twice been a National Magazine Award finalist and has won numerous journalism awards, including two Overseas Press Club awards since 2009. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography. A staff writer at The New Yorker since 1987, he lives in Manhattan.

by Jordan

A life recounted by waves, and the lessons that learning surf spots worldwide can impart. My favorite part of this book is how it unfolds. Finnegan tells his story through the surf spots he lived with, from Hawaii to the South Pacific, to Australia, South Africa, California, New York, and Portugal. He makes sense of his life through his understanding of the waves and the breaks. Fascinating, beautiful.

From How To Bring Your Favorite Mug On Your Next Trip

ISBN: 9780143109396

ISBN-10: 9780143109396

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date: 04/26/2016 - 12:00am

On Sale: 04/26/2016 - 12:00am

Pages: 464

Language: English

Categories

Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

Sports & Recreation / Water Sports / Surfing

Travel / Special Interest / Adventure