The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert Bloomsbury HK$128 To some he is a New Age Daniel Boone. To author Elizabeth Gilbert he is The Last American Man. Eustace Conway, the subject of her second book, is the archetypal manifestation of American manliness that is cowboy, pioneer and money-maker. Born in South Carolina in 1961, he led a fairly normal life until, at 17, he ditched modernity and headed for the mountains. Self-sufficient and self-assured, he made fire by rubbing sticks together, bathed in streams, dressed in the skins of animals he hunted and lived in a teepee he designed. Despite his back-to-basics lifestyle in 400 hectares of wilderness he owned, he was a magnet for women, few of whom, however, lasted long. One, Donna, left after she botched a squirrel soup and wasted the meat, which so infuriated him he made her dig up the carcass and cook it for supper. Readers will sense Gilbert too fell under the spell of this he-man, although her portrait of him is not always flattering. In a chatty, sometimes hokey style, the author explains that land was his only major expense. 'Everything else he needed he could make, build, grow, or kill.' Workers stuck in offices should enjoy this book.