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Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 Reprint edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060831359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060831356
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

To a growing list of books about the myths and mysteries of American boys and young males, Kimmel, a sociologist and author of Manhood In America, adds this deft exploration grounded in research. Based on more than 400 interviews, over a four-year span, with young men ages 16–26, Kimmel's study shows that the guys who live in Guyland are mostly white, middle-class, totally confused and cannot commit to their relationships, work or lives. Although they seem baffled by the riddles of manhood and responsibility, they submit to the Guy Code, where locker-room behaviors, sexual conquests, bullying, violence and assuming a cocky jock pose can rule over the sacrifice and conformity of marriage and family. Obsessed with never wanting to grow up, this demographic, which is 22 million strong, craves video games, sports and depersonalized sexual relationships. In the end, Kimmel offers a highly practical guide to male youth. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“[A] deft exploration grounded in research....Kimmel offers a highly practical guide to male youth.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Engaging...provocative....The book raises important questions....A useful, highly readable overview of an important social phenomenon.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Michael Kimmel’s Guyland could save the humanity of many young men-and the sanity of their friends and parents-by explaining the forces behind a newly extended adolesence. With accuracy and empathy, he names the problem and offers compassionate bridges to adulthood.” (Gloria Steinem)

“Just as Reviving Ophelia introduced readers to the culture of teenage girls, Guyland takes us to the land of young men.” (Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia)

“An absolute bombshell of a book. A disturbing, but mandatory wake-up call for all of us who are boys, love boys or raise boys.” (Madeline Levine, Ph.D., author of The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids)

Kimmel calls on us all to see the boy in the pseudo-man, to break the silence with which we surround them, and do what it takes to help them grow into real men.” (Arlie Hochschild, author of The Second Shift, The Time Bind, and The Commercialization of Intimate Life)

“For anyone who has ever longed to know what’s really going on in a young man’s life, rejoice: Guyland is a compassionate, unflinching dispatch from deep in the heart of young masculinity. Required reading for people who raise, teach, and love guys.” (Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in GirlsRachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls)

“Every parent who is about to write a check for college tuition should read this book first and discuss it with his or her son...and daughter.” (Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys)

“Guyland takes up where Real Boys left off...a must-read for parents, teachers, coaches, young women who are so confused by the guys in their midst-and for guys themselves who yearn to break free of unwritten rules that leave them half a man, rather than a whole person.” (William Pollack, author of Real Boys)

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Customer Reviews

The book uses poor and cloudy reasoning to advance the author's moralistic sentiments.
Griggah
If he wanted to find fault with these things, that's ok, but the faults should come through an unfettered mind instead of his predisposed ideas.
bywayofpdx
Little did I know that Kimmel instead uses this book to assert that virtually all young white men are violent, misogynistic sexual predators.
Joshua B Fyman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

168 of 194 people found the following review helpful By Robert on September 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It doesn't surprise me that some are going to rip this book to shreds. I don't read to agree with everything the author has to say. I read books like this to push myself to learn, react and discuss with others. I judge books on their ability to make me think about a topic. I also recognize that when an author tries to take on a topic like this there is NO way they are going to cover everything... the book would be 1000's of pages long if they did.

A few of my observations are listed below:

1. As a social-science researcher I, too, wish that Kimmel would have been more specific in detailing his methodology. Those criticizing his research design, lack of comments about about Human Subjects committees, etc, could make the same claim for MANY other research-based books that don't want to bore the average reader this information. It is quite common for those conducting sociological research in more unexplored areas to use qualitative designs - those that just provide observations on a particular group of people. This doesn't make them unscientific, however we should be careful not to generalize these findings to all groups of young men. Kimmel does state early on that most of his observations were about young white middle-class men. Some readers and social-science researchers might like to know a little more about what he actually did. The book in many ways is a phenomenological study that has some limitations, but also much to consider. The "mapping" he has produced is a good starting point for further research.

2. Although this book might describe the majority of white young men, there was little noted about the exceptions to the problems. There are young men out there who live differently...
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81 of 93 people found the following review helpful By J. Cordes on November 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a 39 year old guy who quite consciously side-stepped "guyland" throughout my life I appreciated the thorough outline of what a lot of white middle-class guys go through in high school, college and beyond. I always walked by certain bars with the young binge drinkers Kimmel talks of and wondered what they hell they were up to.

What I don't appreciate is the shaming tone of the writing and the antiquated definition of a grown man. Marriage and children are not the only barometers for maturity. And as much as the bullies need to be held responsible for the violence they cause, "guys" including said bullies also need more real-life, healthy role-models and real compassion. The violence that erupts in boys most likely has very long roots. Think about it. Most boys are steered clear out of their feeling at about age 5 with the classic statement, "big boys don't cry!" and goes on from there. Factor in that boys receive less quality attention in general than their girl counterparts and the messages in popular culture and it's no surprise they're acting out.

I was also very disappointed that a little less than one-fifth of the book towards the end was dedicated to solutions. I've also got to believe that there are more stories of kids, like myself, who have led great alternative lives to "guyland" and who've never set foot on a sports team or a fraternity. I tried a number of times to enter these social groups in high school and college and simply found that their company was just not very entertaining.

My one small solution for helping guys in guyland and mankind in general is attending Men's Groups in the style of Robert Bly. I discovered my Men's Group in college in 1991 and have been attending them ever since.
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39 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Larry Billman on September 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I purchased "Guyland" because of a wonderful review of it in the NY Times.
Despite its difficult and loaded content, the NY Time reviewer noted that it was a "good read."
And it is - like a can opener digging deeply into your brain and memory to elict your responses to "What is a man?" Being older, I am way out of touch with today's male world, but Kimmel unlocked several secrets of how men live today: single 35-year-olds living together and the lack of commitment in all of the Appatow comedy films and TV comedies; young boys who endlessly watch a video screen, no matter what it shows; young guy's many hours of "hanging out" and listening to the angry talk radio shows or playing video games, rather than connecting with humanity or facing the responsibility of what they should "be" when they grow up. I was not expecting so many topics - which end up all being pieces of today's "Guyland."
I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had since reading this book with my wife, my children, my male friends. There are those who have criticised the book but I am not certain what they were looking for. A definitive description of a "Man?" A dry and scholarly treatise on "How a man is different from a woman?" Those are "grey" areas already and are shifting and changing as I write this.
I had a wonderful time with the book and thank Mr. Kimmel from getting me away from my electronic addictions. And connecting with other people.
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121 of 177 people found the following review helpful By Peter Allemano Jr on December 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Michael Kimmel's GUYLAND is a masterpiece -- of manipulation and deceit.

Ostensibly a concerned but kindly portrait of young American males, the book is actually a scathing, unforgiving indictment. Indeed, an in-depth analysis of how adroitly Kimmel has crafted his monumental insult of young American males and impugned their dignity -- while patting himself on the back for being simultaneously insightful and avuncular -- is the stuff of a doctor's thesis with potential to run for more pages than the book itself. This review constitutes but a brief glance at a few of the salient points that such a thesis would highlight.

It is through a combination of neatly interwoven tacks that Kimmel navigates the tricky process of passing off a brutal -- and very shallow -- portrait of young males as a thoughtful assessment.

The overall structure of the book, in and of itself, constitutes Kimmel's primary tack. Focusing, in sequence, upon various unseemly aspects of Guyland -- the term Kimmel has coined to demark the social and psychological world of males approximately 16 to 26 years in age -- he carefully cushions his words with polite disclaimers.

The basic gist of what Kimmel initially tell us is this: The wonderful young man you care about probably is not like what you'll be reading here. But you should know about the "disturbing undercurrent" (p. 9) of the realm in which he spends much of his time.

Then, as the book progresses, Kimmel's disclaimers become less cautious. Eventually they are mere passing mentions and finally they all but completely disappear. In this manner, slowly over dozens of pages, Kimmel stealthily escalates his unwary readers' ire as he heats up his criticism.
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