A friend of mine recommended a book to me as something to read on the beach. It is called The Last American Man, and is written by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of “Eat, Pray, Love”).
This book chronicles the life of Eustace Conway, a true naturalist hero, who lives in the wild in the mountains of North Carolina.
Now, I am from this part of the world, and there are plenty of “mountain men” in those parts. I assure you though, none compare with Eustace Conway.
Gilbert’s book does a fantastic job of delving into the American male psyche, particularly in the beginning of the book.
She describes how American men used to be truly untamed frontiersmen, explorers at heart – the necessary mindset for building a nation (while also merciless, in their assault on Native American culture).
As I read this book, it occurred to me, while in South America, that I shared in this expansive, exploratory mindset by wanting to really feel and experience directly other cultures.
She explains this phenomenon so clearly, and helps me see some differences between those of US origin, and those of non-US origin. This is one of the highlights.
Eustace Conway is someone who has made it his life mission to be able to live off the land, and then teach others how to do this.
He left his home at an early age to live in a teepee, and survive on what he killed, captured and gathered.
He traveled across the US on horseback, across Alaska in a kayak, and again across the US in a horse-drawn carriage.
His passion is admirable, and his focus on a mission is truly heroic. However, he cannot keep a relationship…hmmm…
It reminds me that passion and brilliance are wondrous, but can also be a prison for the individual. It is a greater reminder though in how difficult it is to see ones SELF.
Here is a brilliant man, who longs for love…and yet, sabotages it every single time he gets it. The women often are not able to keep up with him, or he expects too much of them only to watch them leave him from his incessant demands.
His life is filled with marvels, as he masters the outside world – but yet, his inner life is still a massive turmoil, as he repeats the sins of his father by lashing out at those he most loves.
It is a very evocative and interesting story both on being a man, and on relationships. Ultimately, his tale proves again that relationships involve first a sometimes brutal assessment of who one really is…until that gaze has been secured, a lasting, loving, healthy relationship is likely not possible.
So, what is standing in your way then? Can you really ask yourself this? Or are you still happy and content with the status quo.
Definitely read this book…and let it inspire you to look closer and see more clearly who you REALLY are…
If you are interested in other great books for men, check out my 10 best list which is updated yearly. It has everything from Neville Goddard to Neil Strauss…definitely check it out if you love a great and inspiring read!