Amateur : A True Story About What Makes a Man

4.22 (1,802 ratings by Goodreads)
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Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction

In this groundbreaking new book, Thomas Page McBee, a trans man, trains to fight in a charity match at Madison Square Garden while struggling to untangle the vexed relationship between masculinity and violence.

Through his experience of boxing - learning to get hit, and to hit back; wrestling with the camaraderie of the gym; confronting the betrayals and strength of his own body - McBee examines the weight of male violence, the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes and the limitations of conventional masculinity. A wide-ranging exploration of gender in our society, Amateur is ultimately a story of hope, as McBee traces a way forward: a new masculinity, inside the ring and out of it.

A graceful and uncompromising exploration of living, fighting and healing, in Amateur we gain insight into the stereotypes and shifting realities of masculinity today through the eyes of a new man.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 144 x 220 x 24mm | 359g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1786890976
  • 9781786890979
  • 391,611

Review Text

A visceral, sparky read . . . Beautifully written [and] deep and affecting . . . Absolutely fascinating BBC Radio 4 A Good Read
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Review quote

A visceral, sparky read . . . Beautifully written [and] deep and affecting . . . Absolutely fascinating -- BBC Radio 4 A Good Read A blazingly wise and beautiful book -- A.L. KENNEDY McBee's writing bristles with an elegant swagger . . . Amateur is as much a reconciliation as an emancipation . . . Punchy, thought-provoking stuff * * Sunday Times * * In an age when identity feels so splintered and fractional, McBee's empathy with men feels refreshing, but it's his determination to be accountable that is radical. He resolves his own masculinity crisis by doing the things men often think they're doing, but so often are not: listening, asking questions, seeking help, being vulnerable * * Observer * * Amateur is a heck of a tale, and McBee is a gifted memoirist * * Financial Times * * Amateur provocatively describes the ways in which an increasingly fragile patriarchal culture needs to keep men in their place. A quest for self-liberation, this loving and deeply intelligent exploration of contemporary masculinities is essential reading -- DEBORAH LEVY One of my favourite books of 2018 . . . A memoir about boxing, masculinity and transitioning. It is exceptional -- NIKESH SHUKLA Amidst a generational shift bringing to question what exactly defines gender, this book plays like x-ray glasses, examining every oddity one may pretend isn't apparent -- JORDAN STEPHENS A story told honestly and joyously . . . all in an engaging voice shot through with self-awareness . . . unwaveringly honest * * Literary Review * * McBee uses the book as a lens to explore the dark side of masculinity . . . This account is interspersed with insights from a wide range of commentators and experts. It all adds up to a gripping and fascinating journey * * Press Association * *
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About Thomas Page Mcbee

Thomas Page McBee was 'masculinity expert' for Vice and the first trans man ever to box at Madison Square Garden. His essays and reportage have appeared in the New York Times, Playboy, Glamour and Salon.
@ThomasPageMcBee |
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Rating details

1,802 ratings
4.22 out of 5 stars
5 43% (778)
4 40% (720)
3 14% (254)
2 2% (40)
1 1% (10)
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