Kicking Ass and Saving Souls: A True Story of a Life Over the Line

Kicking Ass and Saving Souls: A True Story of a Life Over the Line

by David Matthews
     
 

The story of a boy from Baltimore who evolves from a safecracking, jewel-heisting, deep-sea diving, ultimate-fighting, international playboy into a globetrotting humanitarian.

Stefan Templeton was born a child of extremes. The son of Ebba, an aristocratic Norwegian love child, and Roye, a militant African American philosopher, Stefan spent his early

Overview

The story of a boy from Baltimore who evolves from a safecracking, jewel-heisting, deep-sea diving, ultimate-fighting, international playboy into a globetrotting humanitarian.

Stefan Templeton was born a child of extremes. The son of Ebba, an aristocratic Norwegian love child, and Roye, a militant African American philosopher, Stefan spent his early years shuffling between the discipline of his father's house and dojo in decaying west Baltimore and the eccentricities of his mother's life as a healer and artist in the wealthiest enclaves of Europe. The confusion formed a singular man who had nothing but his own abilities. By age eighteen Stefan was a skilled fighter, philosopher, lover, horseman, and swimmer who exuded confidence and competence.

His highs came from adventure, always. He hunted in Macon, France; brawled in Oxford, England; lived as a kept man off the Champs-Élysées; served as a medicine man in Colombia; escaped death on the Amazon; and trained to serve on Cousteau's Calypso in Marseilles. Love of the mother of his first child temporarily settled Stefan in Norway, but poverty and adrenaline addiction soon kicked in.

Eventually, Stefan found himself in a labyrinthine criminal world-where he pulled off one of the biggest jewel heists in Scandinavia's history as a player in a smuggling consortium. He eluded capture, but the downward spiral continued until he hit bottom one night in Tokyo.

Alone and in need of redemption, Stefan lost himself in the south Asian jungle, but fate brought him an opportunity to help the wretched Karen people of Burma. By serving the forgotten, Stefan could begin his restitution. This Renaissance man at last utilized his uncommon skill set to embrace the call of humanitarian relief. Disasters like the Indonesian tsunami and the Sudanese civil war and drought required all of him.

The adventure of Stefan Templeton tests the bounds of human possibility, and even the most hardened of skeptics will be gripped by this account of David Matthews, Stefan's childhood friend and sometimes harshest critic.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stefan Templeton has led the kind of life that's too wild, too lucky, and simply too unbelievable to be true, but it is…But while his adventures are the heart of the book, it's the end that keeps you reading, as Stefan struggles to find peace and finally constancy in his life. Matthews…recounts all of this with panache and superb pacing to deliver a story so fantastic, it may as well be a novel." - The Daily Beast

"The most compelling quality of Kicking Ass and Saving Souls isn't just that Templeton has been in extreme situations all over the world-it's that when he puts his mind to it, virtually nothing is impossible." - USA Character Approved Blog

"Matthews creatively portrays Templeton's wanderlust personality…the ebb and flow of Templeton's life on the go in Kicking Ass and Saving Souls makes for a compelling, page-turning experience." - TheRoot.com

"Matthews' narrative reads like ‘the stuff of fiction, the stock-in-trade of thrillers and James Bond movies'; it's also an exhilarating narrative about redemption and the power of personal choice. Eat your heart out, James Bond." - Kirkus

"David Matthews's vision of the incredible life of his childhood friend is piercingly unadorned. Filled with humor, vivaciousness, calamity, and ever-present compassion, it's an unbelievable story-equal parts Bruce Lee, Wilt Chamberlain, Pancho Villa, Robin Hood, and Jason Bourne. Matthews's wonderful new book is a rarity. There's a beating heart inside this page-turner." - Alex Lemon, author of Happy: A Memoir

"Kicking Ass and Saving Souls is an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat adventure. What gives the book soul is that beneath the fierce tiger is a man who wants to make a positive impact and redeem himself. After a hair-raising international roller coaster ride that's a ton of fun, Stefan finally grasps his true calling, channeling his innate thirst for danger and its rush of adrenaline into saving lives." - Norman Ollestad, author of Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival

Kirkus Reviews

A rapid-fire biography about the improbable life of humanitarian Stefan Templeton, a "bad guy gone good because he'd never really been that good at being bad."

Matthews (Ace of Spades: A Memoir, 2008) met Templeton in 1977, when both were the only two mixed-race children at their Baltimore school. But where the author was a skinny, fearful outsider, his friend was already revealing himself as the relentless force of nature he would become. Born to a Norwegian mother with "blood ties going back to the 900s and Olaf the Holy" and a black Vietnam vet turned philosophy professor, Templeton was a walking singularity from the start. He spent his childhood and adolescence in Europe and the United States, shuttling between the sophisticated chaos of his mother's bohemian circles and the stable but square world of his father's middle-class home. Though a soft "mama's boy" at first, he learned Taekwondo from his black-belt father and became a first-class fighter, both in the dojo and on the streets. His exposure to European culture and education and the intellectual discipline of his father shaped him into a profoundly thoughtful young man—and a magnet for girls and women on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite his self-confidence, Templeton lacked real direction. He attended a prestigious university-preparatory school for international students in England where he became the lover of a rich Parisian girl. From there, he went trekking through jungles in Colombia, then trained in Marseille to join the Cousteau diving team. He then drifted into the Scandinavian criminal underworld and fled to Japan, where he almost killed a man in barroom brawl. In Thailand, he experienced the unexpected spiritual awakening that transformed him from warrior criminal to warrior hero dedicated to helping those in need. Matthews' narrative reads like "the stuff of fiction, the stock-in-trade of thrillers and James Bond movies"; it's also an exhilarating narrative about redemption and the power of personal choice.

Eat your heart out, James Bond.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594202964
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/21/2011
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Norman Ollestad
“Kicking Ass and Saving Souls is an action packed, edge-of-your seat adventure. What gives the book soul is that beneath the fierce tiger is a man who wants to make a positive impact and redeem himself. After a hair-raising, international roller coaster ride that’s a ton of fun, Stefan finally grasps his true calling, channeling his innate thirst for danger and its rush of adrenaline into saving lives.” --(Norman Ollestad, author of CRAZY FOR THE STORM: A Memoir of Survival)
Alex Lemon
“David Matthews’ vision of the incredible life of his childhood friend is piercingly unadorned. Filled with humor, viciousness, calamity and ever-present compassion, it’s an unbelievable story—parts Bruce Lee, Wilt Chamberlin, Pancho Villa, Robin Hood and Jason Bourne. Matthews’ wonderful new book is a rarity. There’s a beating heart inside this page-turner.” --(Alex Lemon, author of HAPPY: A Memoir)

Meet the Author

David Matthews is the author of 2007 New York Times Editor's pick Ace of Spades. His work has also appeared in Salon, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and The Autobiographer's Handbook: the 826 National Guide to Writing your Memoir. He lives in Manhattan, but can't wait to move back to Brooklyn.

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