US Guys

US Guys is a book by journalist Charlie LeDuff; a series of vignettes that are marketed as an examination of manhood and masculinity in American culture. It starts off well enough, the writing is crisp and the observations are fresh and interesting, but by the end Charlie seems to have run out of observations about masculinity and simply recounts his experiences, it ceases to be journalism and becomes more of a memoir. I was expecting something a bit meatier, and less filled with self-​aggrandization. Part of LeDuff’s modus operandi is this sort of self-​revelatory no-​holds-​barred truthfulness, but at times the book becomes more about him than the folks he’s there to learn from.

In some ways this is good, as LeDuff becomes a prominent example of the very thing he sets out to chart, but the perspective is a bit lacking. It is ethnography without conclusions, and therefore, ultimately just so much popcorn. Unfortunate. It is a good read, but not much more.