Barbarian Days is a deeply rendered self-portrait of a lifelong surfer by the acclaimed New Yorker writer William Finnegan. Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia and Africa. A bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a distinguished writer and war reporter. In Barbarian Days, Finnegan gives us an old-school adventure story, an intellectural autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little understood art.
"Extraordinary...cause for throwing your wet-suit hoods in the air...breathtaking, original...combines the deep knowledge of a widely traveled hard-core surfer, the observations of a born ethnographer and the wry aplomb of a New Yorker staff writer." —The New York Times Book Review
"A dream of a book by a masterful writer long immersed in surfing culture. Finnegan recaptures the waves lost and found, the euphoria, the danger, the allure." —BBC.com
"Panoramic and fascinating...The core of the book is a surfing chronicle, and Finnegan possesses impeccable short-board bona fides...A revealing and magisterial account of a beautiful addiction." —Publishers Weekly
WILLIAM FINNEGAN is the author of several previous books, has twice been a National Magazine Award finalist and has won numerous journalism awards, including two Overseas Press Club awards since 2009. A staff writer at The New Yorker since 1987, he lives in Manhattan.