74 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2014
"Defensiveness of the white male is so narcissistic that any criticism of masculinity and male entitlement is seen as attacking and destroying an entire biological sex". This is a quote from Michael Kimmels book, and I think it resonates a lot with many of the 1 star reviews of his book. Angry white men that read this book, feel like "masculinity" is being attacked, and so they say things like "the pussification of America!!!" and leave a poorly written 1 star critique.
It's a great book. It is well written, thoroughly researched, incredibly informative, and I came across it just in the nick of time. I was getting frustrated with the countless droves of men that seem to have made it their mission in life to spend their days on the internet, typing furiously at their keyboards about the "evils of feminism" and about how "oppressed" the male sex is now "because of the feminists!" . Men going to forums and spreading their misogyny around, swapping false and misinterpreted statistics, trying to make claims about how women are "the primary perpetrators of domestic violence!" and that "40% of all cases of rape reported by females are lies!" and that "women rape men the same amount, if not more than men rape women!". It seems like any time I enter a space on the internet where a female centered discussion is occurring, either about rape, domestic abuse, sexual harassment etc....there are men that immediately show up, and they try try to tell me about this apparent "epidemic" of female rapists and women that mercilessly beat their husbands. Instead of these men actually listening, they have made it their mission to accuse women of being liars about sexual assault or rape, and paint men as the victims of tyrannical females.
SO. I decided to try and find a book that discussed these men, particularly the "men's right's movement" or "MRM". This book gave me exactly what I was hoping to find. I wanted answers, and I think this book gave me many. It talks a lot about masculinity, privilege, our culture of violence, and the economic/ social changes that are rapidly occurring in our society today. The book discusses school shooters, the fathers rights movement, the MRM, domestic violence statistics, the working man, etc.
If you're interested in topics about violence, gender issues, oppression/privilege, masculinity, feminism, etc....I suggest you read this book. Sure, if you're a male, and white, and angry.....you probably won't like this book, but, maybe you won't like it because it is actually holding up a mirror, and you don't like what you see?
28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
On January 12, 2014, Brit Hume said on Fox News " I would have to say that in this sort of feminized atmosphere in which we exist today, guys who are masculine and muscular like that in their private conduct, kind of old-fashioned tough guys, run some risks" As a white male, I didn't get what he said. I couldn't relate to it and I had no idea where he was coming from. After reading this book, I now get it. There are angry white men who feel their masculinity and their social dominance is under attack by people that are economically, socially and politically below them.
This book is a fascinating look at a segment of white male American culture. I think the author hit a cord with a social segment of our population that is not discussed. A hard look at white America, the ruling class that feels entitled to the American dream and to power, and angry because it is under attack and feel powerless in a changing society. This white anger from aggrieved entitlement, contributes to racism and violence far beyond any other social/ethnic or racial group in this country. His analysis and conclusions are well thought out and presents an interesting perspective. His observation that gun violence, especially mass shootings is a white male phenomenon was very interesting.
But I give it three stars because I wasn't sure what was fact and what was opinion. As an academic, he did not explain how he came to his conclusions. What studies or research did he personally conduct? What peer review paper did he publish? I would have liked to know who are these angry white men? What is their demographic? What percent of the population? There were very little facts to support grand observations and conclusions. Also the book is under footnoted, he would say things like "A survey in the Washington post said" or "Some surveys say" or quote numbers and no footnote.
Although on one hand I think he hit a truism, I have reluctance in discussing this book with others without more facts. This book seems driven by observation, opinion, selected facts and and a overall social science approach of observation rather than scientific research. Yet I feel like he had something really important to say.
39 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2014
As a (not-particularly-angry) white woman from southeast Michigan, I have come across my fair share of angry white men without ever really understanding them. Reading this book gave me some perspective that I don't think I'd considered before. It was an entertaining and engaging read, though perhaps a little preachy at times.
I find the negative reviews to be rather interesting, as many of them seem to agree that they are angry white men, and even agree with the author on some of the reasons for it, but I guess they don't like having it put out in the light of day by a liberal, Jewish, feminist male, New York sociology professor. In many places throughout the book, he states that these men have every right to be angry-- it's just that they're often taking out their anger on the wrong targets. It's unlikely that this book will change the mindset of any of those men (or the women who support them), but it offers a glimpse to the rest of us as to why these men are so angry, where they're coming from, and even some of the consequences of ignoring and/or not identifying them.
I feel that I've been given a greater understanding of angry white men in general, though of course individuals will vary, and I think that can only be helpful in finding a way to communicate and compromise.
21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Fascinating book. What drives male behavior and, in particular, what makes many of us males act out the way we often do? The opening line I used references a study of Chimps that was cited in the book where researchers picked the third chimp in a troop of five (hence the Borg designator) who, after getting an artificial boost to his testosterone, did not challenge either of the top two chimps but beat on the bottom two more than he had before. Perhaps this experiment tells us more than we want to know because we tend to accept that the people in power deserve it (yeah, evolutionary biology at work) while taking out our frustration on those beneath us in the social hierarchy. Of course there were lots-and-lots of other revelations, but this one seemed pivotal to the whole book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
"Angry White Men" authored by Michael Kimmel PhD is a well researched, solid, yet sometimes shocking look at the new minority of white men. These angry men feel entitled, a loss of power and male privilege, are quick to blame minorities, feminists, corporatists for their grievances. This book is recommended for anyone interested in understanding these men, and the root cause of their rage, which can spill out into personal and community life. Kimmel has authored many notable books, publications, and articles specializing in men's studies. He is a distinguished professor of sociology at Stony Brook University, N.Y.
Kimmel interviewed middle-class men whom he called "Joe Lunchbox"/"Joe the Plumber": ordinary, average, men who he met mainly at gun shows and men's rights meetings. This seemed a bit of a challenge. Some men were suspicious and mistrustful of his motives, though Kimmel portrayed them fairly. Many of these men listened to Rush Limbaugh "rage radio" labeling some women as "Femi-Nazi's". The book: "Naked at the Gender Gap" Asa Baber (1992), declared that feminism was out of control, and an attack on masculinity. White supremacists, heavily tattooed, not officially organized, some listen to "Hate Rock", their rage on occasion, targeted on individuals and community with deadly results.
Fathers 4 Justice on August 20, 2007: two British father's met at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. costumed as Captain America and Batman to advocate for increased paternal custodial/visitation rights. Only 50% of father's visit and remain involved in their children's lives following divorce. 70% of all juveniles in state care are from fatherless homes. David Blankenhorn Jr. author of "Fatherless America" (1995) declared fatherlessness our most urgent social problem. More must be done beginning in our families extending into our communities and judicial system to preserve and strengthen the paternal bond, especially after family break-up/divorce.
Kimmel's additional observations are equally chilling: the US has the highest spousal homicide rates in the world, 85% victims of domestic assault are women: largely by male perpetrators. Another key highlight of the book is that he majority of the overall focused rage of these men is often misguided, off target, and not directed at the forces actually responsible. The suggestions for positive insight and change remain a possibility; raising awareness of the direction of adversity, attitudes, family and cultural issues confronting many men today.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2014
Kimmel's 'AWM' doesn't offer solutions but it very adequately explains the 'why's' of angry white men and this brings a kind of relief - at with understanding assisted by Kimmel, least there might be a beginning to a solution and resolution. Personally, from reading between the lines written by the author, there seems to be a 'forgotten' segment of American society, i.e., white men and specifically working class and under white men. I say 'forgotten' because while virtually everyone else (minorities and women or all races) was being 'freed' and brought into equality, white men were identified as the reference points against which new freedoms were and still are) measured. But we forgot to 'release'(reprogram with understanding and support) white men from the social programming that painted them into their privileged corner to begin with. Instead, our media messages continue to reinforce the idea of privileged, all-powerful, king-of-the-hill, American white males as the only white male worthy of respect - this is almost a criminal misleading of younger white males who must grow up and function in a different world. This continuing media image leads to dysfunctional self-expectations and acting out. We can hope that books like 'AWM' will lead to educating younger generations of white males how to exist (happily) in a new America.
53 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2013
I was initially surprised to see half the reviews here gave this book only one star. Then I read the low-rating reviewers' comments and I realized they were... angry white guys! Exactly the guys Kimmel is trying to help readers understand. As a woman who has been following the MRM for a few months with a mixture of dismay, fear, and contempt, it was helpful to read a cogent analysis that is compassionate and even empathetic to the plight of working class white men who feel the rug has been pulled out from under them. Kimmel has some interesting insights I haven't read elsewhere, including the concept of "aggrieved entitlement," and the point that men hit women because they have already lost control of them. He also helps me understand how misogyny and racism are intertwined. I haven't read a lot about this increasingly disenfranchised portion of our society, and would definitely recommend this as a place to start.
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I took a gender studies class in college in 1989, and like many of it's kind, it was unfortunately Male Bashing 101. I was talking to a lady who was a gender studies major, I shared my experience, and she thought I may enjoy reading a book by Mr. Kimmel. She mentioned the story of a white woman looking in a mirror and feeling solidarity with a black woman beside her, as both shared the challenges of women in society. But the black woman feels differently, she feels that being black and a woman creates a considerably different experience. And when Michael Kimmel sees himself in the mirror, he sees the generic person.
Like most things in life, being generic has it's pros and cons. The pros are that you experience almost no discrimination. (Kimmel acknowledges disadvantages for white men, but not discrimination. I think it is semantics, but I'll utilize his term.) And other races and genders strive for that, the goal of simply being looked at like the generic person. The cons are... you are generic. And as awesome as that may sound, sometimes you feel a bit invisible. Because you have privilege, which I fully acknowledge I have, nobody ever really roots for you. And when nobody roots for you, you almost feel guilty for being a white male. And white males had no more to do in the selection of their gender and race than anybody else has. I was hopeful that the book would in some ways, cover that aspect of being the white male. I was fine with balanced writing, but alas, this book is just another flavor of male bashing only focusing on the pros of being generic. I was kind of hoping with a male author, there would be a bit more equilibrium, but that is not what I found in reading this book. As one reviewer said... that is too bad.
It wouldn't be fair to rate Mr. Kimmel's book based on a mis-sold bill of goods, that he had no part in, so my review is not based on that. The books title is "Angry White Men," and since I am a happy fellow, I shouldn't expect to relate fully with the men he writes about, and thankfully I don't. I also support women and minorities and their push for equality. I have two daughters myself, and I look forward to seeing the awesome professional women they will become. He is writing here about the extremes in this book. I found many of the stories fascinating and he makes some good hypotheses. Where he lost me, many times in the book, are in the support of his hypotheses.
He uses the term entitlement in his book frequently as the source of men's anger. I'm just not sure that is the right word or the right perspective. He is talking about folks who have lost something, in this case a job at a certain wage, and they felt entitled to it. He uses lots of song lyrics, so I'll use one by Billy Joel, "Every child had a pretty good shot, to get at least as far as their old man got." I think it is normal for most people to expect to maintain the same sort of lifestyle they had growing up. I don't think this is confined exclusively to white males, based on my observations, most people seek to establish that. The people he covers clearly mis-direct their anger at women, minorities, gays, etc. and he gets this part right.
He also waxes political A LOT. A book purporting to be a social "science" is undermined by a plethora of social "opinion." It is one thing to mention the seeming disconnect of the people on the far right, aligning with Republicans, when their economic class would be more benefited by a Democratic allegiance. But he doesn't stop there. He blames Reagan for some of their economic woes, while bringing up Bill Clinton signing NAFTA and leaving him unscathed. He speaks of Republicans running through the Clinton surplus. Anybody has done their homework, knows that the "surplus" was the beginning of Democrats and Republicans raiding the Social Security cookie jar. For the record, I'm a moderate who voted for Clinton. I also wonder if he realizes that most of these Union oriented workers were likely raised in a diehard Democratic household. My dad worked for UAW and the Democratic party was heavily endorsed by the union. This book would have been so much better without his LIberal manifesto portions. I wouldn't want to read a Conservative manifesto either. I'm a fiscal conservative with a liberal view on social issues, I just didn't plan on reading a book with a not so subtle political agenda. Republicans and Democrats are both to blame for where this country is, and to single out one party over the other is to put blinders on and be incredibly naive.
If you are a liberal who wants to read propaganda, I think you'll love this book. If you are a conservative, you will most likely hate it. And if you are a moderate like me, I fear you will become frustrated with a book with great potential, that comes up short.
I had a friend of mine the other day, who is a white male, and he wasn't allowed to take his daughter with him to a public restroom. He had to hand his daughter over to a woman, whom he did not know, because he was a male taking a child into the bathroom. And while I know why those rules exist, because of the bad men that are out there, how is that not profiling or discrimination for the 98% of men who are not abusers? Hopefully one day a man will write a gender studies book about that, instead of what we have to choose from now. The overdramatic MRA folks on one side and the self-deprecating stuff we get from folks like Kimmel... not much of a choice.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The book is well written and the author does an excellent job of explaining and discussing the root causes of many white males' feelings of anger and frustration at their current economic situation. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
39 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
Angry White Men (AWM) is a phrase that labels a concept manufactured by the political left to describe a segment of society, which was alluded to by the junior senator from Illinois as,"clinging to their Bibles and guns". It is an incendiary expression that is often lobbed by leftist academics, politicians and their followers in the media during debates, discussions or interviews. Yet, these same self-appointed guardians of political correctness never flinch when using this blatantly racist epithet.
At first blush, the title of the book gives the impression that it is another socialist polemic against white society and its imaginary anger at its loss of cultural and political dominance. But this book is no such thing; it starts off an even-keeled, thoroughly researched and well written treatise about the rupture of the socioeconomic and cultural fabric of the working middle-class caused by unpredicted and unplanned-for seismic shifts in the economy. Kimmel's theory is about a group of men who cling to a permanent delusion of "aggrieved entitlement" and refuse to progress to the inevitable future.
Professor Kimmel succinctly describes how the American Dream became unattainable for the American Everyman, "a victim of impersonal forces that wreak havoc with the lives and the futures of America's middle and working classes--the labyrinthine impersonal governmental bureaucracies and the impenetrable corporations whose CEOs and shareholders were lavishly compensated."
The quintessential American worker, "Joe Lunchbucket" has a "deep and unabiding faith in America, in its institutions and ideals" but felt betrayed by corporations, the government and the unions. The very same institutions that were supposed to protect him, wreaked havoc with his life. The ideology of the self-made American man; hard work and living right, would culminate in the American Dream; but instead he was laid off, in financial jeopardy, unemployed and unemployable (lacking skills for the new technology). In the meantime, "that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM [General Motors] executives, for scores of years) and when it's time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?"
"The social contract that enabled self-made men to feel that they could make it, even if they somehow failed to realize their dreams, has, indeed, been shredded, abandoned for lavish profiteering by the rich, enabled by a government composed of foxes who have long ago abandoned their posts at the henhouse. That safety net, always thin, has been undone by decades of neglect since the establishment of the Great Society in 1960s."
The self-serving corruption in many unions has triggered mass exodus of working-class men who became virulently anti union, and many have abandoned the Democratic Party.
The downsizing during the 1980s and the crash of 2008 has significantly widened the gap between rich and the middle class. America now has 449 Billionaires, almost twice the number of a decade ago while true unemployment remains around 14-16% and "the Promised Land" Bruce Springsteen sings about, "gradually eroded into a postindustrial nightmare, a world of corroding Rust Belt infrastructure and faceless cubicles that dull the senses and numb the soul." Kimmel describes the traumatic effect on the psyche of the unemployed (or whose job was downgraded) and the assault on his masculinity, his sense of victimhood and his anger. He gives various examples of rage, supposedly triggered by these conditions; men such as Stack, Sherill, Wesbecker and Ferri who went on murderous rampages in their work places.
It's not just white guys, either. On August 2, 2010, Omar Thornton, a thirty-four-year-old black truck driver for a major Connecticut beer distributor, walked into the main office in Hartford and opened fire, killing eight people before turning the gun on himself.
More than 80 percent of all the jobs lost between November 2008 and December 2010 had been jobs that had been held by men. Most of those have been in manufacturing and especially construction, as the housing boom went south, and midsized local businesses suffered.
Kimmel reminds us that "the overwhelming number of new jobs created since 2011 have been jobs that have gone to men, while public-sector jobs, like administrators and teachers and public-sector employees, mostly women, have been laid off by the thousands."
The book veers to the left when Kimmel tries to tie the disatisfaction of the disenfranchised unemployed men to the ramblings and rantings of Limbaugh, Beck et al. But he does not stop there - he tries to link the AWM to the White Supremacist (W.S.) movement by "several noticeable patterns"; By their geography in the South, Heartland, Rust Belt and rural small towns...by their religious affiliations, mostly Protestant....by their European ancestry....and scrapes the bottom of the barrel with...by their affinity to the Ku Klux Klan, Posse Comitatus and the like.
The author quotes Osha Gray Davison, "the social and economic unraveling of rural communities--especially in the midwest--has provided far-right groups with new audiences for their messages of hate. Some of these groups have enjoyed considerable success in their rural campaign."adding that, "The far right didn't create bigotry in the Midwest; it didn't need to," Davidson concludes. "It merely had to tap into the existing undercurrent of prejudice once this had been inflamed by widespread economic failure and social discontent." The veterans are not spared either; the banner of armed experienced disaffected veterans, led by right wing commanders, is a beacon for AWM where they can"reclaim their manhood."
The book then carries the invective further into the racism of AWM by their association with WS groups. In the United States, class is often a proxy for race. When politicians speak of the "urban poor or welfare queens", we know it's a code for black people. To inflame the rhetoric further, the author gratuitously cites Pat Buchanan's "A Brief for Whitey" for a conversation about race in America.
Kimmel writes, "Perhaps what binds them all together, though, is class. Rural or small town, urban or suburban, the extreme Right is populated by downwardly mobile, lower-middle-class white men.These angry young men are the foot soldiers of the armies of rage." They see feminism, minority rights, and environmentalism as encroachment on their patrimony. They live in what they call a "Walmart economy" and are governed by a "nanny state" that doles out their birthright to ungrateful and undeserving immigrants.
Kimmel goes on,"It is hardly surprising, then, that American men--lacking confidence in the government and the economy, troubled by the changing relations between the sexes, uncertain of their identity or their future--began to dream, to fantasize about the powers and features of another kind of man who could retake and reorder the world. And the hero of all these dreams was the paramilitary warrior."
AWM, as defined by Kimmel and contrary to his conclusion, are a small minority of laid-off workers and disenfranchised farmers, tradesmen, shopkeepers, veterans and lay-abouts.
White supremacist websites abound with complaints about the "whimpering collapse of the blond male," the "legions of sissies and weaklings, of flabby, limp-wristed, non-aggressive, non-physical, indecisive, slack-jawed, fearful males who, while still heterosexual in theory and practice, have not even a vestige of the old macho spirit."
The less than 100,000 White Supremacists (they prefer Nationalists) hardly represent the working-class American male.
The majority of the aggrieved white working-class population, America's Everymen, places the blame for its distress correctly on confused and contradictory legislation, ineffective inefficient and sometimes corrupt government, arbitrary and confiscatory taxation, rapacious Wall Street denizens, greedy corporations, globalization and multinational acquisitive institutions.
Kimmel's research is suspect, to wit ..... Jim Sasser, senator from Tennessee was not "a moderate republican targeted by (tea party) members of his own party." But he was a so-called "progressive" democrat who was voted out of office and soundly defeated by cardiac surgeon, Dr. Frist, a conservative Republican.
The book would have benefitted from anthropological research and accepted modern theories of male psychology and behavior, to better understand their disillusionment, anxieties, fears and anger.
Attributing the dysfunctional behavior of a few psychotic enraged men and a minority of poorly-educated blowhards (WS) to a general population of white working-class men, in order to fit a leftist socialist agenda, diminishes the value and impact of this otherwise scholarly treatise.