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on January 22, 1999
I am a hetero dom and, contrary to someone's earlier homophobic review, I found this book to be of great interest and extremely relevant. The need to understand dominance and submission trancends gender and orientation. The book is thoughtfully written and well edited. There are many complex philosophical issues within the leather experience that I have tangled with myself and the author addresses those issues with care, attention and the insight of one who has resolved his own internal conflicts. Jack, you done good. Thanks for your work and your willingness to share your experience. This is a book that should be in the library of anyone involved with or interested in power exchange relationships.
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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.
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on April 10, 2000
This book is a series of essays the author wrote about various D/s topics. While written from a gay male perspective, the information presented here transcends all sexual orientations and genders and can be applied to any D/s relationship.
I'm truly sorry the one individual who posted the negative review failed to understand this. Screw the Roses is an excellent book, but does not explore D/s dynamics as well as this book. I'm also a het male Dominant, but I learned a lot from reading this book!
Well worth reading for any Dominant who wishes to learn more about D/s.
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on June 24, 1997
I am a formally trained dominant and as such constantly seek to keep that "training" current. After over 20+ years I rarely get surprised and usually scoff at what I read as being published "just to get the bucks out of the giggling behind closed dors crowd."

This one is different. It should be required reading of anyone in/entering/curious about D/s. Since reading it I have been telling the curious submissives I encounter to read it. I also suggest that once they read it they should test the knowledge of any alleged "dom" as to their knowlede of this book and its contents.

Well worth the reading. No comment on style, etc. The content is there, READ IT! READ IT COMPLETELY! READ IT COMPLETELY NOW!

Dr. Jones
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on July 18, 2000
even for het guys (hmm, i know a cranky one-star boy who needs a lesson)..ahem. i'm a bi female switch, and this book was still useful to me. the chapters are short and concise, written in a conversational (although occasionally only mediocre) manner, and most of the chapters stick to one topic (i.e. you can pick up the book and start anywhere). covers safety from a variety of angles, including emotional responsibility. i recommend it for bottoms & switches as well, as it helps explain a top's headspace, and what a top should and should not be to you. one of the great things i learned: it's okay to ask for punishment even when you're not breaking the rules! another is that you have to be comfortable with having power in a general way before you can be comfortable as a top...but why am i telling you this? buy the book already!
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VINE VOICEon July 26, 2000
Jack Rinella may be an expert but as he says time and again in "The Master's Manual" he is still looking for that prefect slave. So why should you listen to a guy who doesn't have the "prefect" yet? Because it is unlikely any of us will and yet most of us will keep looking. The chapters are honest approaches writing to the dominant's eyes that remind us that it isn't just fantasy it is work! Working that can be rewarding in itself before we find that "prefect" whatever. Personally I found a few things I disagree with, but I didn't perceive this book to be about a "one true way" other than deal with reality. Fantasies are great, but reality is what we must face and Rinella's book is a great reassurence for all us tops that the pursue is worth the work and that we are not alone in our search.
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on April 17, 2000
Jack Rinella puts us into an okay space. His style of writing about bondage and kinky sex is matter of fact, down to earth, and "Hey, this isn't strange, this is us!" The Master's Manaual isn't so much a technical handbook as the gospel truth, a common sense reader designed to make us appreciate the simplicity behind what we often make so complicated. SM often get caught up in details and power trips but Jack puts that aside in favor of maternal wisdom, self-esteem and respect of one another. SM involves getting to know one another on a deeper than personal level and The Master's Manual lays some foundations for the process involved in doing that. You can't really claim to understand SM until you've read it.
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on March 22, 2007
Although this was his first book, Jack Rinella had been active in the gay leather scene for what seems a life time to the rest of us. This excellent book is a "how to" treatise for all readers...those experienced and novice, Masters and slaves, men AND women. Its also sets a standard for Masters to strive for, while making allowances for the things that make them human. In the end, all Jack asks of them is that they are honest with themselves, as well as with those who serve.

"The Master's Manual" will not school you on tying knots or wielding a flogger. Nor is it intended for those with a transitory interest in bedroom kink. Instead, Jacks' book is dedicated to those who are serious about Power Exchange relationships, and who wish to hone their interpersonal skills to make them work.

There is very little stuff of fantasy porn novels here...when Jack tells us that "A Master gets only what his slave is willing to give", he is being practical and realistic. This is a refreshing tack for people who choose to make dominance and submission a part of their daily life. He not only shares many of his personal experiences in the leather life with us, but he also helps us understand how concepts of power, control, and responsibility make the Master more than just a sadist.

And while written by a gay leatherman, I can assure you that there is plenty to learn from Jack Rinella whatever your sexual orientation. Those who prefer to be owned will also find much to learn from his 8 steps to being a "best boy", which are as true for men as they are for women.

The challenge of owning another human being, and finding mutual happiness in the process, is a remarkable one. Fortunately, there are men like Mr. Rinella who can inspire us with their words to make it happen.
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on July 30, 2010
This book is nothing more than a list of every OTHER book the author has ever read on the subject. I expected information and instead each chapter is a review of someone else's book. Unless u need a list of bdsm books save ur money and buy something else.

There are no gems of wisdom. Instead the author tells stories about what he learned from reading such and such book. It actually started to peak my interest as to whether or not the author was getting a cut of the royalties from the books he was recommending.

Save ur money n look elsewhere.
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on September 18, 2011
I didn't find this book very helpful. It contains neither practical scene advice nor insightful relationship advice. The writing style is erotic and engaging so its fun to read. However its not useful.
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