June 2, 2016
If knowledge is power, then Wayne James has eloquently and elegantly succeeded in empowering 21st-century young men through his Manly Manners trilogy: The treatise is a veritable encyclopedia on modern men’s lifestyle. Seamlessly and with an uncanny facility, the author waltzes from conventional to cutting-edge, and from taboo to traditional. No stone worth turning is left unturned. Attention is paid to detail, but not pedantically so; instead, the treatise is delightfully didactic. The vast amount of information is presented so as to encourage readers to savor every word, every page. Manly Manners is a tour de force.
But what makes the work singularly invaluable within its genre is its ability to liberate and validate all men! We, in all our shapes and sizes, nationalities and cultures, and religious and political persuasions, are all embraced in the author’s words. Now eclipsed are the manners books of yesteryear that engendered elitism, exclusivity, and privilege. Manly Manners celebrates tolerance, inclusiveness, and diversity. Finally, we have a treatise on men’s etiquette and lifestyle that argues that gentlemanliness is the birthright of all men. And, finally, we have a literary work on men’s manners that acknowledges the various expressions of masculinity. With the power of the pen, Wayne James has uplifted all men.
The author and I grew up together: We would swim together as boys in the frigid Baltic Sea, and indulge in the Swedish tradition of crayfish and Schnapps each August; my bride wore a Wayne James wedding gown that my maternal grandmother declared the most beautiful she had ever seen; Wayne, in his capacity of godfather, held my infant daughter in his arms as she was baptized; we rang in the millennium together at a masquerade ball in Gamla stan, Stockholm; and he and I stood shoulder-to-shoulder as my dear grandfather was delivered to eternal repose on a winter’s day. Our family relations touch three centuries. So I know Wayne James. And Manly Manners is Wayne James. It is, in effect, his wholehearted attempt to share with young men all over the world, from all walks of life, the special knowledge he was fortunate to have received as a result of a life truly lived. But not only does Wayne pour his razor-keen intellect into this great work, he also pours his gentle heart and soul: Manly Manners is written with love. And to read it is to feel that love—in every word, every sentence, every fact, every unexpected humorous twist or play on words. It is written such that a young man who begins reading it, despite its formidable size, will want to finish it, even if at times under the bedsheets, aided by flashlight.
Wayne and I first met as little boys on St. Croix over a half-century ago when my parents were visiting his parents and grandparents in our mutual Caribbean homeland. As such, I have seen him, with his innate, incomparable elegance, graciously navigate his triumphs and his failures, his lows and his highs. And without doubt, the Manly Manners trilogy ranks amongst this man’s greatest achievements. It is, therefore, my sincerest honor to contribute this Foreword to what I am convinced will go down in history as the most comprehensive and important treatise on men’s manners of the 21st century.
Baron Peter von Troil
Finland and Sweden