A raucously funny memoir of one scrawny American's quest to become a kung fu master at China's legendary Shaolin Temple.
A hilarious memoir by the first skinny white American to learn Kung Fu from the original Shaolin masters.
AMERICAN SHAOLIN is the brilliantly funny memoir from the first American - and a 90 pound weakling at that - to study kung fu with monks at the original Shaolin temple in China, in a two-year martial arts odyssey that includes gruelling days of training, a forbidden romance with a local woman, and ultimately a challenge match against a rival Kung Fu master with the Temple's honour at stake.
A sensibility more alien to my own than Matthew Polly's is hard to imagine. I consider foreign cultures to be really . . . foreign. I don't spiritually quest; I go to church. As for the martial arts, I own a gun. But I loved AMERICAN SHAOLIN. Reading it was like being abducted by an alien -- a brilliant, funny, and hospitable alien who took me to another universe of sensibility. There I enjoyed myself immensely - P.J. O'Rourke
Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li and David Carradine all played Shaolin Monks, but Matthew Polly actually lived it. In American Shaolin, he enters China's most famous temple, the birthplace of zen and martial arts, and uncovers unique insights on religion, - Gene Ching, KUNG FU TAI CHI MAGAZINE
Smoothly written . . . Polly has a good eye for characters and introduces the reader to a Finnish messiah, a practitioner of "iron crotch" kung fu, and his nagging girlfriend. We get the inside dope on Chinese dating, Chinese drinking games and a medical system apparently modelled on the Spanish Inquisition - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (US)
A lively, humorous, and thought-provoking memoir - DISCOVER GREAT NEW WRITERS, Barnes & Noble spring 2007 selection