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Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man Paperback – September 19, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (September 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380720450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380720453
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I am a social scientist by profession, and this is definitely not social science.
"rrr338"
Although several men rated this book positively, it's interesting to note how many men are not only defensive against but hostile toward Susan Faludi's study.
"jimwaigand"
Yes, times are tough and yes it takes a lot of effort to make something of yourself these days, but it's isn't imposable.
Reviewer82

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 69 people found the following review helpful By W. F. Gray on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
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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61 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Allen Smalling TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
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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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Faludi creates a work that is in dire need of editing. In the more than six-hundred pages of generalizations and patronizing prose Ms. Faludi leaves no question answered. She poses roundabout theories with serious flaws in their premises and moves on to more convoluted thesis.
Recently I attended a lecture by Ms. Faludi. In the hour and a half that she lectured and answered questions, she did not tighten her loose grasp of what she tries to discuss and ultimately prove. Unimpressed with her performance I had anticipated a clearer explaination of her analysis and conclusions in her book. Utterly disappointed.
Authors who recieve $1 million by their publisher before printing make me suspicious as to the truth of the hype and media attention.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
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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