Thursday, September 17, 2009

Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin-A Review

Over the years, possibly thousands of books have been written for and about men and manhood. I have read many of them. Some were helpful and others, sadly enough, I felt did more harm than good. Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin is in a category by itself. It is not a self-help book for men because it speaks against the idea of a man "helping himself." It is not a theological treatise even though it has scripture as it's foundation. The subtitle of the book describes it: Calling Men to Authentic Brotherhood. Authenticity and Honesty are the keys.


Samson and the Pirate Monks is divided into four parts.

Part 1: Confessions of a Preacher's Kid is the author's story told with brutal honesty of his struggles with addiction and sin.
Part 2: I, Samson contains a fascinating comparison between Samson and King David and the differences between how they lived their lives. Larkin discusses what he has learned about walking with other men.
Part 3: A New Way of Life addresses becoming a new man.
Part 4: The Pirate Monks tells the story of the formation and early days of The Samson Society, how The Society works, and the point behind each part of The Fact, The Path, and The Pact.

My Thoughts

I have to say first that the title is great. Pirate Monks, how cool is that! Adding Samson to the front of it make it even more intriguing. After reading the book, you will understand more of what it means. Larkin makes his points of the book primarily through a retelling of his life's journey which proves to be effective because most, if not every, man will find something he connects with that will make the overall point of the book deeply impactful. With a surface glance, the book could look like a promotion of The Samson Society, but since The Society collects no money or dues and doesn't own anything, what would the point of that be? The book is about brotherhood and men walking with other men in honesty and openness. Warning, this is not a book to pick up and use in your next men's bible study. It is also not a how-to guide to starting a men's group because, as The Samson Society website says, "Most of us have had it up to here with men's groups" It could help you in starting a group of The Samson Society, which I will guarantee will be different than most church men's groups you have attended and quit. Having attended a couple of meetings myself prior to reading the book, I assure you it is a different experience. If possible, attend meetings before starting one and never do it alone. Reading the book has helped me understand the purpose for the way things are done in the meetings.

I love this quote from page 139:

"In the Samson Society, it's our failures even more than our successes that bind our fellowship together. No longer are we spending our days alone in the darkness of our caves, hiding our failures for fear of rejection and ridicule. Instead we are walking together on a sunlit path that is taking us somewhere. We are carrying each other's burdens, and Christ is walking with us."

This book helped me to see my need for close bonds and connection with other men, something I have neglected most of my life. It has also revealed to me that brokenness, weakness, and pain don't keep me from being a man. It is these things that make me a man and opens the door for God to work in me to make me whole and work through me to do the same for other men.

I recommend this book for all men. Men, buy it and read it. Women, buy it for the men in your life. If it all sounds suspicious to you, visit

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