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Stiffed: The Betrayal Of The American Man [Kindle Edition]

Susan Faludi
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

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Book Description

One of the most talked-about books of last year, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Backlash now explores the collapse of traditional masculinity that has left men feeling betrayed. With Backlash in 1991, Susan Faludi broke new ground when she put her finger directly on the problem bedeviling women, and the light of recognition dawned on millions of her readers: what's making women miserable isn't something they're doing to themselves in the name of independence. It's something our society is doing to women. The book was nothing less than a landmark. Now in Stiffed, the author turns her attention to the masculinity crisis plaguing our culture at the end of the '90s, an era of massive layoffs, "Angry White Male" politics, and Million Man marches. As much as the culture wants to proclaim that men are made miserable--or brutal or violent or irresponsible--by their inner nature and their hormones, Faludi finds that even in the world they supposedly own and run, men are at the mercy of cultural forces that disfigure their lives and destroy their chance at happiness. As traditional masculinity continues to collapse, the once-valued male attributes of craft, loyalty, and social utility are no longer honored, much less rewarded. Faludi's journey through the modern masculine landscape takes her into the lives of individual men whose accounts reveal the heart of the male dilemma. Stiffed brings us into the world of industrial workers, sports fans, combat veterans, evangelical husbands, militiamen, astronauts, and troubled "bad" boys--whose sense that they've lost their skills, jobs, civic roles, wives, teams, and a secure future is only one symptom of a larger and historic betrayal.

Editorial Reviews Review

Susan Faludi, author of the feminist bestseller Backlash, has done it again with an exhaustive report on the betrayals felt by working men throughout the United States. American men are angry and discontented, she argues in Stiffed, because their sense of what it is to be a man has been destroyed by everything from corporate downsizing and the shrinking military of the post cold war era to the increase in local sports teams leaving town. Whether she's interviewing the teenage male members of Southern California's infamous Spur Posse (who collected "points" for every female they had sex with), Cleveland football fans shaken by the departure of the Browns football team, militia movement activists, or Sylvester Stallone, Faludi seems stuck on the idea that American men today are man-boys, unable to completely grow up because they never received the nurturing they needed, and now constantly disappointed by life. Yet while many of the men Faludi interviews have real problems--bad luck and sad, troubled lives--somehow Stiffed still seems a bit whiny. Faludi's "travels through a postwar male realm" are a fascinating slice of male American life "under siege" at the end of the 20th century, even if she does finally leave us like the men she talked to--still wondering just what went wrong. --Linda Killian

From Publishers Weekly

While it offers nothing like the eloquent argument she made in Backlash, Faludi's examination of what she dubs the "masculinity crisis" does present a series of thoughtful interviews and fly-on-the wall journalistic excursions into the company of men. Faludi finds that American men are looking for metaphorical Viagra to cure an impotence beyond the literal kind. And sometimes, she argues, they are looking in the wrong places, becoming the proverbial "angry white males." Laid-off aerospace and naval shipyard workers, magazine editors and football fans, patriots and Promise Keepers are struggling to define manhood. Faludi aims wide in targeting the sources of the masculine malaise, citing everything from "the remote-control methods of a military-industrial economy" to "the feminization of an onrushing celebrity culture." Boomers and postboomers, deprived of the heroic status of their WWII veteran dads and having had their sense of virtue eroded by the chastisements of feminism, are trying to find "a route to manhood through the looking glass." As Faludi exhaustively documents the struggles of incredible shrinking men with the "post-cold-war restructuring of the economy," she suggests that the core of the problem is that men have lost "a useful role in public life, a way of earning a decent and reliable living, appreciation in the home, respectful treatment in the culture." Faludi concludes by exhorting men to stop thinking of masculinity as a quality detached from their humanity: "their task is not, in the end, to figure out how to be masculineArather, their masculinity lies in figuring out how to be human." This admonitionAbe a mensch!Ais a sensible way to close a book that proceeds less by well-shaped argument than by the accumulation of anecdotes and Faludi's intelligent, interpretive forays into the lives of men. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1920 KB
  • Print Length: 674 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0380720450
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (April 19, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049B1VTK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,978 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong on narrative; weak on analysis December 9, 1999
Susan Faludi is an excellent reporter, and her book is very readable. The quality of the chapters varies. I found the chapter on laid-off workers in California to be very compassionate and forthright. Other chapters spend a great deal of time on men who are really at the fringes of American masculinity, and the tone can me one of mocking sometimes. Not that the mocking is not sometimes deserved, but you have to wonder how a woman could write a 600+ page book about the powerless of the American male and not include anything about divorced fathers or men employed in dangerous occupations. Where is the mainstream?
Most of the time, while the narrative is interesting, Ms. Faludi goes off track when she tries to fit her stories into a pattern. Occasional true insights are lost in a general pattern of blaming everything on "the fathers." It is essentially a boomer book, written from a perspective all too common in my generation--that we are victims of the failures of the previous generation. It is a pity that this comes along at a time when my generation is actually learning to give that generation some credit for bringing us through the Depression and World War II.
It is also interesting that someone writing about the powerlessness of American men should have lambasted other authors who have had similar points of view, such as Warren Farrell, in her earlier book BACKLASH, and apparently sees no change in perspective between the two. Most American men, like most American women, do not want to think of themselves, and do not want to be thought of by others, as victims.
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62 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feminism or Humanism? January 25, 2000
I read Faludi's "Stiffed" more out of duty than desire (I'm a bug for gender issues). I liked it more than I thought I would, but I could recommend it more wholeheartedly if it were about 200 pages shorter. I have to commend her on her research, though--she gets to known men as diverse as inner-city "gangstas," laid-off aviation executives, Spur Posse members, Promise Keepers and shipyard workers.
Faludi's thesis is that present-day American men have been sold a bill of goods--"stiffed"--denied the opportunity to fulfill their true masculinity. Clearly she's on to something, or else why would the yearning for father be so strong, as expressed by youth gangs, Iron John, Robert Bly, and the Promise Keepers? Faludi locates the great betrayal historically (but a tad mystically) in the dislocations of the cold war, which forced our fathers into regimented, frequently overblown or meaningless work--and, as distasteful as that might be, such makework started to disappear through layoffs and downsizing just when the Baby Boomers started to claim what they thought was their rightful inheritance. In essence she is saying that American men, regardless of socioeconomic standing, have become a throwaway generation.
Faludi's writing style is delightful and her sympathy is obvious. She does hymn the despair for too long, though, and she might have clued us in on how some men avoided getting stiffed (or is EVERY American man a tragedy? ). Faludi came to her analysis as a feminist, presumably from the political left--yet much of what she says was anticipated 20 years ago by neoconservative Christopher Lasch in "The Culture of Narcissism," when he opined that most modern Americans don't get the opportunity to do truly meaningful work.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Take it for what it is March 8, 2001
By A Customer
Take this book for it is: a series of journalistic essays chronicalling a substraint of human existance in the USA. It is not a "study" in the academic sense and I doubt Faludi meant it as such so reviewing it as if it were a deeply researched, objective archialogical dig is probably missing the point. This turns out to be a problem for me but not simply because it is much closer to Charles Kuralt (sp?) than Jared Diamond. I don't mind reading people's opinions and obsevations, especially if it's well written like "Stiffed."
Be clear: Faludi is a feminist and she says so many, many times in the book. She interviews her subjects as a female writer of a book on masculinity and she never claims anything else. She analyizes the problems of her subjects through the lens of feminism and she "admits" that as well.
Unfortunately even if you lower the bar and grant all these things to her up front she still over-reaches. She extrapolates far too much from far too little. You can't build a grand antidote from small anectodes. At one point in the book she quotes a cute line from a hollywood cynic that the film industry sees the USA as New York and Hollywood with everything inbetween as "in-flight movie" -- the irony is that she goes on to do exactly that in this book! With the notable exception of Vietnam veterans, almost every interview in the book is about Southern Californians and New Yorkers. Can she really be making that case that because something happens in South Central or Manhattan that it must be happening in Seattle and Montgomery the same way? Perhaps she does this hyper-inference to compensate for a problem I had with this book...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Climb a mountain to get a better perspective on the landscape -- But...
I read this book in my early twenties and it was a valuable addition to my perspective on the world. Read more
Published 2 months ago by T. Ellery Hodges
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this book. Her insight and research were dead on.
Published 8 months ago by Patsy Palmadessa
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as Had Expected
The author is a Feminist liberal whose understanding of men is a bit off. This book is way too long; she could have said everything she said in half as many pages. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for persons interested in Gender issues, Feminism, Popular...
Faludi provides an eloquent analysis of where we are (circa the turn to the 21st century) in terms of gender issues, with a particular focus on masculinity and its challenges. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Faludi is brilliant
Susan Falludi writes in a precise, clear style and offers profound insights. She is a well-renown feminist, and her take on the struggles men face is incisive and compassionate. Read more
Published 16 months ago by B. Kuhl
4.0 out of 5 stars The Other Half.
I found this book to reveal a modern day history of our male population that I had not been as aware of as I should have been. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Molly Bee
4.0 out of 5 stars Alternately brilliant and clueless
As I read Susan Faludi's ("Backlash") depressing opus about the "crisis" in American manhood, I kept changing my opinion of its author. Read more
Published on January 25, 2012 by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars A limp case!
I found this book in a 'give away' pile at a local used book store. The author (a staunch feminist) traveled across the United States and managed to interview some of the lowest... Read more
Published on July 20, 2011 by Reviewer82
1.0 out of 5 stars Excercise in Hubris
This book is nothing more than hubris disguised as empathy towards men. Faludi, in keeping with the vast literature trove of feminist misandry, doesn't really care about the male... Read more
Published on May 8, 2011 by Dennis
3.0 out of 5 stars not stiffed
Sauldi does an lot of generalizing about an interesting subject. Her thesis will be highly useful for a subset of male culture and therefore can be a good place to get insights for... Read more
Published on January 4, 2011 by inquiringmind
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