A Man’s World is a collection of twenty profiles of fascinating men by author and magazine writer Steve Oney. Oney realized early in his career that he was interested in how men face challenges and cope with success and failure, seeing in their struggles something of his own. Written over a forty-year period for publications including Esquire, Premiere, GQ, TIME, Los Angeles, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Magazine, the stories, many prizewinning, bring to life the famous (Harrison Ford), the brilliant (Robert Penn Warren), the tortured (Gregg Allman), and the unknown (Chris Leon, a twenty-year-old Marine Corps corporal killed in the Iraq war).
As a longtime reader of Steve Oney's magazine pieces, I admire his storytelling abilities and applaud his journalistic ambition. His work never fails to impress me.
—Gay Talese, author of The Kingdom and the Power
Taken separately, these are superb and acute accounts by a truly perceptive journalist. Taken together, they're a piece of social history that might be read a hundred years from now. For better or worse, this is what we were, guys.
—Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series
The profile is a particular genre of magazine journalism. The talent most required is empathy—the ability to feel the soul of another person, despite the evasions and the performance—to actually get inside the skin of another being and understand the human creature within. Steve Oney has that singular talent, and he brings these figures alive with love and honesty. This is journalism at its peak.
—Lawrence Wright, author of Going Clear
Veteran journalist Oney pulls together twenty magazine features from three decades of his career. In an insightful introduction, the author explains why all of the pieces, published from 1977 to 2011, focus on 'fascinating' men rather than other topics. Oney decided it would be useful for readers to explain how men become strong, resilient, and compassionate in contemporary American society. After all, he writes, 'no one taught me how to be a man,' so maybe male readers would end up better informed and able 'to create' and 'to explore their inner darkness.' . . . Throughout, the author displays his strong reporting skills and engaging prose. Although every piece focuses on men, the variation of subjects and the different writing styles combine in a journalism anthology more satisfying than most.
Oney excels at portraying his subjects' personalities and the environments in which they live. He is especially strong at capturing their way of talking and conveying identifying gestures. Each piece is written in a limited third person technique, with the writer hidden, but the reader senses his constantly observing presence. One of the strongest pieces is one of Oney's earliest, a profile of novelist and poet Robert Penn Warren and his wife, Eleanor Clark, also a noted writer. The piece, published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Magazine
in 1979, captures Warren's exuberance for life. A Man's World
gives us Oney's world, and that is a very illuminating place.
—Louis Mayeux, Southern Bookman: A Literary Blog for All Seasons
An entertaining new anthology of magazine writing by the most-talented Steve Oney, who writes about athletes, writers, actors, architects, soldiers, and other men of distinction with great skill and care.
—Alex Belth, Deadspin
This book is a perfect way to celebrate XY-ness on Father’s Day—a paean to manhood by a veteran author via twenty magazine profiles of notable palookas. Spanning three decades of work by Oney, this collection divvies up its subjects according to their vocations and character: among the “Fighters” are Herschel Walker and Hubie Brown; “Creators” features Robert Penn Warren, and the “Desperadoes” section portrays the late Gregg Allman as well as alt-right pioneer Andrew Breitbart. Wit and empathy season the author’s deft prose throughout, resulting in an eminently readable foray into the male psyche.
Authentic profiles are among the most rewarding, challenging and essential of journalistic art forms, requiring an alchemy of relationship, grit and elegance. The most successful often involve a bit of self-reflection, as a writer peers into the life of another to see glimpses of himself. That’s what award-winning author and magazine writer Steve Oney did over a 40-year career to bring forth immersive profiles of 20 men — from the famous to the forgotten — as a way to explore the particular ways that modern men face the challenges of success and failure.
—Kari Howard, Nieman Storyboard