HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William…
Loading...

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (original 2015; edition 2016)

by William Finnegan (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7953823,818 (3.99)51
Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else entirely: 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 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 annealed in challenging waves. Finnegan shares stories of life in a whites-only gang in a tough school in Honolulu even while his closest friend was a native Hawaiian surfer. 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. He and a buddy, their knapsacks crammed with reef charts, bushwhack through Polynesia. They discover, while camping on an uninhabited island in Fiji, one of the world's greatest waves. As Finnegan's travels take him ever farther afield, he becomes an improbable anthropologist: unpicking the picturesque simplicity of a Samoan fishing village, dissecting the sexual politics of Tongan interactions with Americans and Japanese, navigating the Indonesian black market while nearly succumbing to malaria. Throughout, he surfs.… (more)
Member:mortalfool
Title:Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
Authors:William Finnegan (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2016), Edition: Illustrated, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work Information

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (2015)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 51 mentions

English (33)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
“Everything out there was disturbingly interlaced with everything else. Waves were the playing field. They were the goal. They were the object of your deepest desire and adoration. At the same time, they were your adversary, your nemesis, even your mortal enemy. The surf was your refuge, your happy hiding place, but it was also a hostile wilderness—a dynamic, indifferent world.”

The author has been obsessed with surfing since he was an adolescent in the 1960s. This book is a memoir of his surfing adventures and their impact on his life. He travels to many parts of the world, including Indonesia, Oceania, Australia, South Africa, and Portugal. He surfs where he lives in the US – Hawaii, California, and New York. This book is well-written and provides lots of local color for countries around the world. The author features several of his fellow surfers and eccentric characters.

There is a vast amount of information contained in this book of the many factors that impact the decision to go out into the elements, such as currents, wind direction, wave types, and reefs. It gets extremely detailed in places. He explains surfing techniques, boards to use in differing conditions, and the surfing culture.

His obsession seems to be partly based on the endless search for the perfect wave and partly on the exhilaration of living life at the edge of danger. It is a book of journeys around the world and journeys in life. It is a story of “man against the sea” and knowing how far to push one’s own capabilities. His descriptions of surfing fiascos are riveting. He almost drowned several times. In these sections, I found myself holding my breath to find out if he would make it, even though he obviously survived to write this book.

This is not a book about surfing competitions. Nor is it about finding the largest waves. It is about how an obsession with surfing that accompanied the author in each of six decades of his life. Pick this one up if you enjoy stories about extreme sports or adventuring.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Surfing, to William Finnegan, is “a secret garden, not easily entered.” It has also been a lifelong obsession, one that he has followed around the world. Finnegan grew up surfing in California and Hawaii, becoming a “sunburnt pagan,” after it took the place of Catholicism in his teens.

After college and a job working on a railroad he traveled in search of surf. The South Pacific, Asia, Africa. He worked on a novel and wrote the occasional story for publication. A stint as a teacher in South Africa elevated his social conscience and led him to journalism covering war and injustice.

After he returns to the U.S. and begins a writing career in earnest, Finnegan still surfs. New York, Madeira, more California and Hawaii – anywhere he can actually. He describes his study of the waves, weather and water in various spots. The book is a travelogue of sorts as Finnegan documents life and people of the places he has lived and surfed. Some of the best descriptions are of the surfers he’s come to know throughout the world. The section of Madeira, a place he returned to frequently, is particularly evocative. Finnegan’s passion has resulted in an extremely satisfying book. ( )
  Hagelstein | Jun 29, 2022 |
I don't know if I've ever read a book that was better summarized by its subtitle than [b:Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life|18693910|Barbarian Days A Surfing Life|William Finnegan|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1418768620l/18693910._SX50_.jpg|26542461]. The author spends the book tracing his efforts to catch waves on every continent from his early teens to his early 60s. At times while reading I got vibes of [b:Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance|629|Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1)|Robert M. Pirsig|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1410136019l/629._SY75_.jpg|175720], but the book is - at its core - a memoir about a surfer who surfs - YMMV. Me? I've never touched a board in my life and I found the story to be engaging and the prose to be excellent. ( )
  eshaundo | Sep 13, 2021 |
Very nicely written book but got bored and abandoned it after ~100 pages - I'm not THAT interested in surfing, and also mystified why it won a Pulitzer. ( )
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
My brother surfs and I wanted to get to know his passion a little bit better, so when he finished reading this book and passed it onto me, I dove in. I enjoyed the beginning, but found that it quickly became repetitive. Also, it was less about surfing and more about the self-centred, privileged life and exploits of the author. I bailed on page 168. ( )
  BookNeurd | Jun 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else entirely: 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 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 annealed in challenging waves. Finnegan shares stories of life in a whites-only gang in a tough school in Honolulu even while his closest friend was a native Hawaiian surfer. 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. He and a buddy, their knapsacks crammed with reef charts, bushwhack through Polynesia. They discover, while camping on an uninhabited island in Fiji, one of the world's greatest waves. As Finnegan's travels take him ever farther afield, he becomes an improbable anthropologist: unpicking the picturesque simplicity of a Samoan fishing village, dissecting the sexual politics of Tongan interactions with Americans and Japanese, navigating the Indonesian black market while nearly succumbing to malaria. Throughout, he surfs.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.99)
0.5
1 2
1.5
2 5
2.5 2
3 20
3.5 12
4 67
4.5 9
5 39

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 179,854,112 books! | Top bar: Always visible