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

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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 ...

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594202964
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/21/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Matthews is the author of the 2007 memoir Ace of Spades, which was selected as an Editor's Choice pick by The New York Times. Matthews's 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.
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