The fearless host of Man vs. Wild illustrates a highly spirited life.
Born in Britain in 1974, Edward Michael Grylls (his sister nicknamed him “Bear,” and it stuck) became heavily influenced by the strength and resilience of his great-grandfather, a British officer during World War I. His childhood memories include nervously anticipating school grades and thriving amid the tireless support (but limited attention) of two hardworking parents who urged him to “follow your dreams and to look after your friends and family along the way.” With unflagging confidence, Grylls (To My Sons: Lessons for the Wild Adventure Called Life, 2012, etc.) satisfied his adventurous side as a youth with frequent harrowing adventures with his father, a Royal Marine, and developed physical stamina in karate class, which tempered bouts of mischief. Grylls’ narrative is bolstered by its heavily anecdotal form. The author’s finely detailed account of a grueling, physically challenging stint in the Special Air Services becomes surprisingly overshadowed by the book’s centerpiece: the author’s arduous, three-month group expedition at 23 to the crest of Mount Everest. Utilizing skills polished in the British Army, he became one of the youngest mountaineers to reach that summit, which begat lectures, a deodorant commercial, appointment as the youngest ever Chief Scout to the Scouting Association and eventual celebrity status as an influential personality on the Discovery Channel (Man vs. Wild receives only a few cursory, concluding chapters). Grylls’ breezy account flows with the verve and uncomplicated language of an engaging novel and forms a satisfying life story brimming with excitement and adventuresome risk-taking.
An inside look at the makings of an intrepid, insatiable explorer.