Single-page biographies of 76 different men show modern boys a range of male-identified role models.
Some of the men profiled are wildly famous, such as computer nerd Bill Gates, former president Barack Obama, and Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe. More obscure ones include the 12th-century leper king of Jerusalem and a kid who became famous after being virally mocked on YouTube. Each brief entry attempts to distill large ideas into language accessible for young readers. The apparent goal of showing boys role models beyond famous aggressors is admirable, but with no introductory or conclusive note that ties together the author’s overall thoughts, the result is something of a patchwork feel. An overuse of aggressively passive voice and vaguely inspirational statements impede the quality of the text, and questionable or speculative historical information limits its value. The language is simplified to the point of dumbed-down, which contrasts wildly with some of the intense moments, such as the chemical castration of Alan Turing that led to his suicide or the murder of child slave Iqbal Masih; this may make it hard to find an appropriate audience. However, many of the less familiar entries provide an interesting introduction to their lives and efforts, which may lead some readers to search out more and better information. Unfortunately, there is no bibliography or list of further reading, so they’ll have to do that work on their own.
A timely and worthy attempt dragged down by poor execution. (Collective biography. 8-13)