While this collection contains portraits that are varied in scene and tone, their depictions of obsession, delusion, perseverance, creativity, and good-heartedness—the list could go on and on—remain a constant. Each of these stories conveys a sense of the strangeness, wonder, and oddity of life—a theme that provides a gravitational center to this multifarious selection drawn from 20 years of an award-winning nonfiction storyteller’s body of work.

Katz’s opening story and the title piece of the book offers a hilarious yet appropriately reverential look at 72-year-old Reg Mellor, unparalleled “ferret legging” champion of Yorkshire and the world. Other characters who populate this book include fitness guru Jack LaLanne, legendary entrepreneur Paul Hawken, and master political cartoonist and inspired troublemaker Bill Mauldin.

The King of the Ferret Leggers and Other True Stories collects journalist Donald Katz’s most fascinating profiles of people whose lives tell us something about business, adventure, sports, politics, culture, and in a brilliant, ancillary way, ourselves.
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