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A History of Barbed Wire Paperback – May 30 2008

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Paperback, May 30 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Suspect Thoughts Pr (May 30 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977158233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977158232
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,908,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c2d8240) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c2d2870) out of 5 stars First-rate Gay Erotica March 9 2009
By Donovan Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Jeff Mann's A History of Barbed Wire can be read in two ways. Firstly, as a stunningly executed collection of short stories (and one novella) that take the reader on a compellingly erotic journey through a world of men who hunger for each other. The men in question are pinnacles of masculinity - muscled, bearded, dressing in flannel, boots and dirty jeans - they work hard and play even harder.

But as Alan Ball's American Beauty invited us to do back in 1999, if we look closer we might see a slightly different picture. All the iconography of masculinity is there, but it is celebrated and subverted at the same time, being both self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating: these guys are mountain men, the same kind of men they grew up lusting after, the same kind they grew up to become, the same kind they now want to take in their arms, to bind and gag and make beg for mercy.

Mann's native Appalachia is so arrestingly evoked in this book that it becomes a living breathing landscape, every bit as real to the reader as King's Maine or Tolkien's Middle-Earth. The author's love for his homeland is achingly clear in the sheer density of sharply-observed detail and lovingly-described seasonal changes. The men of Barbed Wire are not just men, they are of the earth, elemental in that way. The author conjures connections between the odor of a plant's sap with the aroma of a man's secretions, the forms and contours of a man's body with those of trees; even worshipping the very soil as our source and our eventual destination.

The second way you can read the book is by seeing the stories and novella as a single narrative, the central character consistent all the way through. Certain names are used often enough to suggest the author may have intended this all along.

Among my favorite stories are:

The title piece, "A History of Barbed Wire", a slice of poignant autobiography about getting a tattoo.

"Dionysus Redux" and "Captive," brilliant explorations into the glory of submission to men who know exactly how to dominate us.

"Balsam Poplar Buds" and "Raspberry Moonshine,"
tales of the right men -- meeting in the wrong place and the wrong time -- and their time together thusly being that much more precious.

And of course, the devastating "Fireflies", in which the vengeful spirit of a slain Confederate soldier, whose bravery and gallantry in the war was ignored in the face of his homosexuality, returns to our time to seek absolution...and revenge?

Jeff Mann's A History of Barbed Wire is first-rate gay erotica. Highly recommended.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cd9781c) out of 5 stars If you like beautiful descriptions and wonderful eroticism . . . June 23 2012
By T. Stephenson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First of all, A History of Barbed Wire may not be everyone's cup of tea. A collection of short stories by Jeff Man, Barbed Wire is powerful, brutal, masculine, and, unless you are absolutely turned off by anything not vanilla, violently beautiful. I found it erotic, haunting, and not easy to put down. The narrative takes us by the hand -- not so gently -- and opens our eyes to an incredible world that lies parallel to our own, but is much more exciting, dangerous, and satisfying. There's a lot of Hemingway's spare writing style here. But there's also that wonderful, descriptive, poetic prose that Mann can summon, seemingly, at will.

Of the collected stories in Barbed Wire, four really grabbed my attention (and everything else). Briefly, "Dionysus Redux" is the tale of Don, a muscular, hairy, "forbidden" student who's the subject of his professor's daydreams. The descriptions are beautiful and the narrative solidly written, yet strongly erotic.

"Balsam Poplar Buds" traces Allen and love-interest Travis as they end up, serendipitously, in Allen's bedroom one snowy night playing their guitars. You can take it from there, but the story is still one of my favorites. Again, Mann creates magic with his descriptions!

You've got to love the title, "Raspberry Moonshine," especially if you were brought up in the rural south as I was. Greg teams up with fellow student James to research and write an essay on, of all things, moonshine. Things get interesting when James takes Greg to check out a real, working moonshine still. They get caught and things become more interesting. Then the story ends, yet it doesn't.

Perhaps the most intriguing of the collection is "Fireflies." It seems there was a Confederate officer accused of sodomy. A century and a half later, a Civil-War buff spends a series of nights in the room where the officer died, now part of a bed and breakfast inn. Weird, sensuous dreams become increasingly real and the story ends in the only way that it could end. Jeff Mann's talents for story telling are at their peak in this tale.

I highly recommend A History of Barbed Wire. I read it (twice) and was completely caught up in it. Jeff Mann is an incredible talent. Read Barbed Wire and you'll agree with me.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c313738) out of 5 stars Disturbing yet could not sit it down! March 28 2013
By Brent E. Johnston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love the way Jeff Mann writes. It is very discriptive and flows like poetry. The book was nothing I was expecting. The last part of the book is a novelette and will must admitt that once I started reading I could not stop. The stories are not for the faint of heart when it comes to S&M plus some very detailed physical and mental feelings regarding bondage. I am a chef and enjoy "comfort food"... Mann's talent for discribing food, one's intimate surroundings, scents, sounds and nature are worthy of the read. I plan to re-read the book during the summer months in USA. I also loved his novel Purgatory about being gay during the Civil War. Simply be aware that the subject matter in the stories and novel may not be for average gay man. I enjoyed it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d45563c) out of 5 stars Bound To be Read May 14 2012
By Maurice66 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Wow! Can Jeff Mann write. This collection of short stories cover bear bondage culture but O so much more. The tales are lyrical, sensual and as sexy as all hell. Did I mention disturbing? In a good way - maybe. While the short stories are great the real winner here is the novella which he finishes the collection with. 'The Quality of Mercy' left me breathless, page turning until the early hours to see where it was heading and where the characters ended up. Predicable? No way. Love the suede feel cover, and worth buying for the photo on the back alone. Damn those pesky strategically placed placed bar codes!