Paperback: The Best of Outside edited by Mark Bryant

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The Independent Culture

Perfect fodder for the armchair voyager, this selection from the first 20 years of the US adventure magazine Outside includes such treats as the 10-page article by Sebastian Junger that was the seed for The Perfect Storm. But the book isn't all ruffty-tuffty stuff like Thomas McGuane's account of hunting in Montana ("I wanted the Old Rugged and a pot to piss in"). There is also an endearing article about female rodeo riders ("Miss Rodeo Utah wore baby-blue boots, and Merle Norman's Boston Blue eye-shadow"). Ian Frazier's piece about untangling plastic bags from trees between Manhattan and Missouri is a poignant reflection on modern America.