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Manhood in America: A Cultural History (Pbk) 1st Pbk. Ed Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0684837123
ISBN-10: 0684837129
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a startling, original study, Kimmel, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York, makes a persuasive case that manhood has been a constantly changing social construct in American culture. Once rooted in genteel land-ownership or in the pride of independent artisans, shopkeepers and farmers, manhood was transformed by the industrial revolution, which made American males, by the mid-19th century, insecure, mobile, competitive, chronically restive and seeking a sense of themselves as men through their economic success. Men attempted to prove their manliness through sports, business, bodybuilding, clothes, fraternal organizations, participation in two world wars and the Depression ("emasculating both at work and at home"). In 1936, Lewis Terman, inventor of the IQ test, introduced a sexist "M-F scale" that supposedly measured children's masculinity and femininity and their likelihood of "successfully" acquiring gender identity. Men today, observes Kimmel, spout angry antifeminist rhetoric in men's rights groups, or beat a defensive retreat via the men's movement's embrace of cosmic archetypes. Drawing on a wealth of material?advice manuals, union struggles, the symbolism of presidential campaigns, Tocqueville, Thoreau, contemporary films, novels and men's magazines?Kimmel's humane, pathbreaking study points the way toward a redefinition of manhood that combines strength with nurturing, personal accountability, compassion and egalitarianism. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Kimmel, a noted men's studies authority, coeditor of Against the Tide (LJ 2/1/92), and editor of The Politics of Manhood, reviewed below, presents in his own words the first cultural history of men in America. He examines how the manhood experience has not only defined American males but has also shaped the culture and livelihood of its members. Kimmel states the key driving force in men throughout history has been to prove their masculinity. He examines how this phenomenon has changed over time along with the masculine ideal and other transfigurations that must coexist with it. Holding up the model of the "self-made man" of American myth and legend for analysis, Kimmel describes the legend's birth prior to the Civil War and its lasting impact until the close of the 19th century. As the new millennium approaches, the author contemplates the contemporary crisis of masculinity. A core title for men's studies and gender studies collections alike.?Michael A. Lutes, Univ. of Notre Dame Lib., Ind.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (August 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684837129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684837123
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,712,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kimmel argues well that struggling to fulfill archetypes for American manhood, especially going forward from the early 19th c., has caused much anxiety in American men, the focus being on white, mostly middle-class, traditionally dominant men. Kimmel takes us through the rise of those men's worries, especially over being dominated by others, whether other men, women, immigrants or minorities, and ways they responded through reasserting control or by escaping.
This fascinating cultural history uses everything from fraternal organizations and political tracts, to John Wayne films and Eminem's lyrics to make its argument. It's jargon-free and very accessible for a scholarly work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered the First Edition of this book several years ago, and have referred to sections of it many, many times as I observe what is going on within myself, as well as the profound struggles of men around me. Manhood in America at times deeply resonates with my own pain and disappointment, and helps to explain why we (men) do some of the crazy things we do, in an effort to compensate for what we have now (since we entered the industrial/technical age about 150 years ago): a world that is dismally unsatisfying to men, and has cast us adrift in many ways. I am very much in favor of Michael Kimmel's call to a more "democratic" definition of manhood - any other option leaves us open to being even more lost than we are now. By the way, this is one of the best researched books I've ever read (the bibliography of Kimmel's sources is approximately the last 100 pages of the book!)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic academic survey of the Hx of Manhood in America. The first 2/3 are tough but worth it as he later shows how theories and schools of thought are rerun during later periods of hx. Crucial to understanding the water we all swim in.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the most interesting book I have ever read about masculinity. It explains in detail the history of manhood (as the title offers) in a very easy way to read, amusing and with the most amazing details, statistics and anecdotes about famous people, philosophers, writers, sociologists, and just normal men. Is a must if you are interested in gender studies
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Shipping and other seller experiences were great. The book itself, however, is a slow read and I've had a hard time getting into it (and I love the topic as a Women's & Gender Studies major).
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This is a great book it was assigned for a history class in my university and I have to say it was a pleasure to read. It gives amazing detail about a topic that I was not very familiar with, totally recommend it. It's worth reading!
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By A Customer on November 8, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I found Michael Kimmel's book to be a fabulous portrayal of the roots of American sex roles. He uses 3 categories of manhood to describe American men: The Heroic Artisan, Genteel Patriarch and the Self-Made Man. What is very interesting is that he explains, with excessive evidence, how business interests have effectively devalued the latter 2 models, leaving the Self-Made Man as the only thing for American men to strive for. Even more interesting, is the way he documents what this ideal does to the marginalized; minorities, women, immigrants, and working class men. Fortunately, he disagrees with Robert Bly about the need for men to run off into the woods and bond-men have been doing that for years. Instead, he calls on men to embrace feminist philosophy as they (feminists) are not man-haters, but those who really love men, because they "love us enough to believe that we can change." All in all, this is a great book for all men and women who are uncomfortable with gender roles in today's society and who want to learn where they came from. This book truly provides real hope for men.
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Format: Paperback
A textbook which translates into an anti-science polemic against one gender
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