There is nothing nautical about this book. It is about riding motorcycles. In particular, long distance touring and endurance riding, popularized by the Iron Butt Association. There are two main characters: John Ryan, quintessential endurance rider, and the author, Melissa Pierson. This is a love story; doubtless, true in every detail. And exquisitely proportioned in what it describes and what it leaves to the imagination.
Allegorically speaking, The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing is as nautical as Moby Dick. The human spirit against the elements. Courage. Determination. Pushing the envelope. Man and the machine that propells him through time and space. Oh yes, there must be a damsel nearby or the whole thing unravels.
So what do you get when you choose to spend time with this book? For one, you get an inside look at the IBA. This is different from the AMA (American Motorcyclist Asso.) These are doers, not just believers. A tightly knit group, in a very loose knit sort of way. If you are a rider, you are likely to understand the concept. Second, you get to enjoy the writing of Melissa Holbrook Pierson. It is academic and “ivy league”…..but so very eloquent. It is a total joy to read. Don’t let out the clutch too fast; this is several grade levels above the newspaper.
It would be a gift to the nautical community if Melissa were to do the Great Loop. What a fine read that woud be.