Top critical review
54 people found this helpful
on July 8, 2002
Altogether i'm rather disappointed. From the title i expected a more in-depth treatment on dominance and submission in a relationship, but Rinella's offering is more of a general introduction to the Leather/BDSM scene. The book is essentially a series of unconnected essays, most of which were published separately elsewhere, and now weakly tied together. It offers a melange of firsthand experiences, expositions on theory, and tidbits of practical advice, all mixed together.
The book is definately written from a gay male perspective. While his introduction acknowledges the lesbian, bi, and het participants in the scene, and there is the occasional reference in the text, for the most part he speaks in gay leathermen's terms. If you find "Screw the Roses" or "The Loving Dominant" too het for your liking, this book might be a more comfortable introduction to the scene (although i think those other two provide a more thorough grounding, and are better organised).
There's nothing wrong with that--for the most part the practical advice is the same regardless of gender and orientation. But there are exceptions. For instance, he recommends using lubricants with Nonoxynol-9 (a spermicide which has killed the AIDS virus in lab experiments). This may or may not be good advice for men, i don't know, but it is definately bad advice for women. Most women are allergic to N-9, and the resulting irritation and swelling can make them MORE likely to contract an STD.
In the end i can't bring myself to recommend this book. If you're looking for a good intro to the scene, there are better books out there. From my own experience, "Screw the Roses" wins hands down for both practical information and fun, and Warren's "The Loving Dominant" covers roughly the same ground as Rinella, in more depth and with better organisation. For those looking for an intro written specifically from a gay men's perspective i can't make a recommendation from my own experience, but the guys i know in the NLA often recommend Joseph Bean and Larry Townsend--and so does Rinella, for that matter. The bottom line is, Rinella's "The Master's Manual" just doesn't add anything new to the body of literature that already exists.